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British Citizenship

Volume 688: debated on Wednesday 17 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 8 January (WA 13–14) concerning British overseas citizens of Nepalese origin, why the British consulate-general in Hong Kong requires each applicant to obtain an individual letter stating whether the person has ever held Nepalese nationality when (i) they are aware that the Nepalese consul-general in Hong Kong is unwilling or unable to issue such letters, and (ii) the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have already had discussions and correspondence with the Nepalese authorities in Kathmandu, the outcome of which would enable them to determine, to the standard of proof required for civil matters, whether or not a person was a citizen of Nepal. [HL1168]

Regardless of ethnicity, an individual applying for their first British overseas citizen passport, or to register as a British citizen under Section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981, must prove that they are otherwise stateless. At a recent informal meeting between British consular staff and their Nepalese counterparts in Hong Kong, the Nepalese took the view that those with Nepalese passports and holding Nepalese citizenship cards were Nepalese citizens. Letters stating otherwise could not, therefore, be issued. However, once the provisions of the British Nationality Act and their implications under Nepalese law in relation to dual nationality were explained further, the Nepalese undertook to revert to Kathmandu for further advice.

We are still awaiting confirmation from the Nepalese authorities that a note of the recent meeting in Kathmandu prepared by us accurately records the Nepalese position.