British passport (Gibraltar)

Gibraltar passport
British passport (Gibraltar).jpg
The front cover of a contemporary Gibraltar biometric passport (pre March 2019).
Gibraltar ePassport information page prior to 2020
Issued byUnited KingdomGibraltar Governor of Gibraltar on behalf of
United Kingdom Charles III of the United Kingdom
(on the advice of the
United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), at the request of
Gibraltar HM Government of Gibraltar made to the
United KingdomGibraltar Deputy Governor of Gibraltar
EligibilityBritish citizenship and/or British Overseas Territories citizenship connected to Gibraltar

The Gibraltar variant British passport[1][2] is a British passport issued to British Citizens and British Overseas Territory Citizens who work or live in Gibraltar. Having Gibraltarian status alone, and not being resident in Gibraltar, is insufficient criteria to obtain a Gibraltar Passport. Gibraltar passports are issued by the Passport Office of the Gibraltar Civil Status and Registration Office. Since 2005, passports issued in Gibraltar have been biometric.

As a result of the British Nationality Act 1981, Gibraltarians were made British Overseas Territories citizens by default, but could apply for registration as a British citizen ("an entitlement that cannot be refused") under section 5 of the Act before 2002. Despite not being British citizens prior to 2002 and hence having no automatic right of abode in the United Kingdom, all BOTCs connected to Gibraltar have enjoyed the right to live and work in the EEA countries (including the United Kingdom itself) since 1973 through the territory’s accession to the European Community along with the United Kingdom, and their Gibraltar passports have borne observations to demonstrate such treaty rights.[3][4]

Under the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, all British Overseas Territories citizens have become British citizens on 21 May 2002. Therefore, a Gibraltarian may apply for either a passport describing them as a British citizen or a passport describing them as a BOTC. However, unlike other BOTCs, Gibraltarians cannot hold both passports simultaneously, and a BOTC passport would be cancelled if its holder decides to apply for a British citizen passport at any time.[5] Holders of BOTC passports also face different visa requirements than holders of British citizen passports.

Until 31 January 2020, Gibraltarians who opted for the BOTC passport were considered "UK nationals for EU purposes", making them full citizens of the European Union with all consequential rights and entitlements. Following the UK's withdrawal from the EU, Gibraltar is no longer part of the EU and Gibraltarian BOTCs ceased to be EU citizens, although they continued to enjoy the same rights in the EU during the transition period until 31 December 2020. On 31 December 2020, the governments of Spain and the UK announced that Gibraltar will become a part of the Schengen area.[6]

Similar to those of the UK, new Gibraltarian passports will be blue. However, the timescale for their introduction has not been confirmed.[7]

Gibraltarians travelling within the European Union, EEA[citation needed] and Switzerland[citation needed] are entitled to use a Gibraltar identity card instead of a Gibraltar passport as a travel document.


British passports issued in Gibraltar differ from UK issued ones only in some of the wording but otherwise have the same status. The word "Gibraltar" is added beneath "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and on the information page. The only other difference is that Gibraltar-issued passports replace the mention of Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State with The Governor of Gibraltar:

The Governor of Gibraltar requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.[8]

Changes to the passport's wording, replacing "Her Majesty" with "His Majesty," will be undertaken following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.[9]

Historical Passports

See also


  1. ^ "NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR ISSUING GIBRALTAR-VARIANT PASSPORTS" (PDF) (Press release). Gibraltar: HM Government of Gibraltar. 3 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Oct 24 - New Arrangements For Issuing Gibraltar Variant British Passpo". Your Gibraltar TV. Retrieved 2023-02-16.
  3. ^ REGULATION (EEC) No 1612/68 OF THE COUNCIL of 15 October 1968 on freedom of movement for workers within the Community
  4. ^ "Passport policy - Immigration and Right of Abode" (PDF). Her Majesty’s Passport Office. Retrieved 31 December 2020. A British Overseas Territories Citizen who has acquired the status by virtue of a connection with Gibraltar has the right of free movement within the European Union and the observation: "THE HOLDER IS DEFINED AS A UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL FOR EC PURPOSES" should be entered in the passport. Applicants who have lesser connections with Gibraltar are given right of abode but do not have free movement rights within the European Union. So they can be distinguished from those who enjoy this privilege the observation: "THE HOLDER HAS THE RIGHT OF ABODE IN GIBRALTAR" should be entered in the passport.
  5. ^ "British National (Overseas) and British Dependent Territories Citizens" (PDF). Her Majesty’s Passport Office. Retrieved 31 December 2020. Please note that BDTC or BOTC passport holders from Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands are not entitled to retain their BDTC or BOTC passport uncancelled, when issued with a British Citizen passport. This is because of the different nationality law background in respect of these territories compared to others. Falkland Islanders have had British Citizen status since the Falkland Islands Act 1983 and Gibraltarians have had the right to register as British Citizens since 1st January 1983 under section 5 of the 1981 Act. Any surrendered BDTC or BOTC passport from those connected with these territories should be cancelled. In all other cases, BDTC or BOTC passports should be returned uncancelled.
  6. ^ Kassam, Ashifa; Boffey, Daniel (31 December 2020). "Spain and UK reach draft deal on post-Brexit status of Gibraltar". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Existing passports do not need to be replaced with new Blue British passports, until they expire, the Govt has told GBC". Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  8. ^ Inside front cover of a regular UK passport
  9. ^ "UK Currency Is Set to Change After the Queen's Death. So Will the National Anthem, British Passports". News 18. 2022-09-09. Retrieved 2022-09-09.

External links

  • HM Government of Gibraltar: Passports and Nationality
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