Barbadian nationality law

Commonwealth citizen British nationality law Tongan nationality law

Barbadian Citizenship Act
Coat of arms of Barbados (2).svg
Parliament of Barbados
Enacted byGovernment of Barbados
Status: Current legislation

The Barbadian nationality law is governed by both the Barbados Citizenship Act[1][2] and the Barbados Constitution.[3]


Section 4 of the Constitution of Barbados defines citizens of Barbados as "Every person born in Barbados after the 29th November 1966."

The only exceptions are persons born on Barbadian soil whose parents possess diplomatic immunity and are not Barbadian citizens as well as children of enemy occupiers of Barbadian soil,[4] or if neither parent is a citizen of Barbados (except in certain situations of statelessness for the child if the mother is a Barbadian citizen, or a UK/Colonies citizen if the birth was prior to 30 November 1966, or if the mother cannot be determined), or persons born aboard foreign-registered vessels located in Barbados.[1]

The constitution also allows for acquisition of citizenship by descent, registration, naturalization, and acts of parliament.

Section 5 of the constitution states that children born outside of Barbados to most men who are citizens of Barbados are Barbadian citizens. It has additionally come to include children born to Barbadians serving as diplomats abroad,[1] and those born overseas as children of fathers who were or would have been citizens of Barbados but for their death.

Section 6 of the Constitution allows for the wife of a Barbadian man to be registered as a Barbadian citizen. According to the constitution, any requirements (such as residency or duration of marriage) are to be "prescribed,"[4] and the woman must take an oath of allegiance if she is not a citizen of Ireland or a Commonwealth nation. The Constitution as written did not foresee Barbadian women marrying non-citizen men.

Other current Commonwealth or Irish citizens who fulfill certain requirements such as having ordinary and lawful residence for seven years, which must have been completed before 30 November 1966, per the constitution's Chapter II, section 3.2.[4]), may also apply for registration and be registered as Barbadian citizens, as determined at the Government Minister's discretion.

Non-Commonwealth citizens may apply to the Minister for naturalization if they fulfill certain requirements, such as residing in Barbados for 5 of the 7 years prior to the application and all 12 .onths prior to the application (or any 12 continuous months within 6 months of the application, contingent upon the Minister's approval) and intends to reside in Barbados thereafter and swears allegiance to the Queen of Barbados.[1][5]

Section 9 of the constitution allows parliament to make "provision" for the acquisition of citizenship.


Citizens of Barbados enjoy the following rights:


Barbadians enjoy certain privileges as citizens of a member state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). As with many of the other countries of CARICOM, the Barbadian passport bears the emblem of CARICOM.

Barbados and British nationality

Prior to 1966, persons connected with Barbados held British nationality. Barbadians were mainly classified as Citizens of the UK and Colonies (CUKCs). When Barbados achieving independence from the United Kingdom, it became a member of the Commonwealth, with HM Queen Elizabeth II remaining the head of state, in her new capacity as Queen of Barbados. The constitution's savings clause also allowed all existing law of the United Kingdom to remain in force in Barbados until it was changed by the Barbados Parliament. As such, Barbados would have thereby inherited the Statute of Westminster as part of its local law from the United Kingdom.

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

Such persons would have become British citizens on 1 January 1983 if they had acquired a right of abode in the United Kingdom before that date. Otherwise, they would be British Overseas citizens.

Acts by the British Government, which previously governed nationality laws, in Barbados include the following:

Dual citizenship

Barbadian law allows their citizens to hold dual citizenship and encourages Barbadians living abroad to remain open to the benefits of holding such status.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Barbados Citizenship - CAP186 (1982 version), UNHCR
  2. ^ Government of Barbados (30 November 1966). "Barbados Citizenship - CAP186". Immigration Department. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  3. ^ Parliament of Barbados (30 November 1966). "Constitution of Barbados (1966)". World Intellectual Property Office. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b c The Constitution of Barbados
  5. ^ "Queen in Barbados". The Monarchy Today: Queen and State. The Barbadian Monarchy. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  6. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados: Dual citizenship