Barbados nationality law

Barbados achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 as a commonwealth with HM the Queen Elizabeth II remaining the head of state. However, the entire role and responsibility of the Queen is vested in the Governor-General of Barbados.

The Constitution of Barbados defined citizens of Barbados as those born on the island before 1966 who were Citizens of the UK and Colonies (CUKCs) at the time of independence, or those born overseas as children of fathers who were or would have been citizens of Barbados but for their death. The constitution also allows for acquisition of citizenship through registration for Commonwealth citizens after seven years ordinary and lawful residence. Citizenship can also be acquired through marriage. According to the constitution, there is no requirement of residency or duration of marriage, rather the woman must take an oath of allegiance. The Constitution did not foresee Barbadian women marrying non-citizen men.

Legally, citizens of Barbados are Commonwealth citizens and also enjoy certain privileges as citizens of a member state of CARICOM. Barbados will soon follow Suriname and other CARICOM nations in issuing passports that bear the emblem of the organisation.

Barbados and British nationality

Prior to independence, persons connected with Barbados held British nationality.

Persons connected with Barbados at independence may have retained citizenship of the UK and Colonies if:

  • they did not acquire Barbados citizenship; or
  • they had specified ties to the UK itself, or a place which remained a colony

Such persons would have become British citizens on 1 January 1983 if they had acquired a Right of Abode in the UK before that date. Otherwise they would be British Overseas citizens.

See also

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