> The recent clampdown of the Spanish on Gibraltarians carrying BOTC
> identity cards brings up new questions:
> 1. Why does the British government maintain this class of citizenship
> which only applies to a very few people who live in the very few
> remaining territories who have not opted for for UK citizenship?
Mainly inertia. If the Nationality Act was being reformed today rather
than in 1981 then it is unlikely there would be a BOTC status.
As you say, since 2002 most people are both British citizens and BOTC
(even if they choose not to obtain a British citizen passport). The
only exceptions are:
- persons solely connected with the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus; and
- persons registered or naturalised as BOTC after 21 May 2002 who have
not subsequently registered as British citizens (registration would
usually be granted except in specific circumstances).
It would be possible to reform the British Nationality Act to abolish
the separate status of BOTC. The Crown Dependencies of Jersey,
Guernsey and the Isle of Man are not part of the BOTC regime and
maintain their local immigration controls within a British citizenship
Some of the Territories would resist abolition of the BOTC status. It
could risk diminishing - or being perceived to diminish - their control
over "local" naturalisation. And Bermuda might be concerned about
losing the special access rights to the United States that Bermudian
So all in all, excising BOTC status from the British Nationality Act
now would involve a lot of legislative work and potential difficulties
with some of the Territories, for no real practical benefit.
> 2. Why do some Gibraltarians opt for BOTC status when they could have
> full UK status?
No obvious reason. In any case, anyone who was a Gibraltarian BOTC on
21 May 2002 is *automatically* a British citizen as well as a BOTC -
even if they only have a BOTC travel document. Same goes for anyone
born in Gibraltar after that date with a dual British citizen/BOTC
The only people in Gibraltar who are solely BOTC are those registered
or naturalised as BOTC after 21 May 2002 who have not exercise their
(usual) facility to apply for registration as a British citizen,
normally under section 4A or 5 of the British Nationality Act 1981.
> 3. Why is the Spanish government encouraging Gibraltarians to opt for
> the UK status? Is this so that Gibraltarians will be UK citizens living
> on soil that is not part of the United Kingdom and hence undermine our
> right to our land?
A BOTC connected with Gibraltar still falls within the definition of
"United Kingdom national for European Community purposes".