What is an Overseas Territory?
The Overseas Territories are constitutionally not part of the United Kingdom. They have separate constitutions, and most Overseas Territories have elected governments with varying degrees of responsibilities for domestic matters. The Governor, who is appointed by, and represents, HM the Queen, retains responsibility for external affairs, internal security, defence, and in most cases the public service.
Which are the UK Overseas Territories?
There are 14 UK Overseas Territories. Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory (BAT), British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena and its Dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus and The Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI)
Do the Overseas Territories have diplomatic representation in the UK?
No. The UK Government is responsible for Overseas Territories' external affairs. However, some territories do have Government representatives.
Who is responsible for the external affairs of the Overseas Territories?
According to the current constitutions of the Overseas Territories, the UK Government is responsible for Overseas Territories' external affairs, including the negotiation and conclusion of international agreements. The UK Government may grant entrustments to Overseas Territories in order for their governments to negotiate and/or conclude international agreements, including for example those by which an OT joins an international organisation. Please see our internal guidance on granting entrustments to Overseas Territories: Guidance on Entrustments (DOC, 35K)
Are the legal systems in the Overseas Territories different from that of the UK?
Yes. Although the law in force in the Overseas Territories is broadly based on English common law, each Territory has its own distinct body of legislation, which differs from UK legislation. However, some UK statutes also apply within the Overseas Territories or are extended to them following consultation.
Do I need a visa to visit an Overseas Territory?
British nationals do not need a visa to visit most Overseas Territories. However, there are certain entry requirements for some Overseas Territories. (For British Antarctic Territory please go to Guidance for Visitors to Antarctica. For Pitcairn Islands and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands please refer to the relevant Country Profile).
Non British nationals in the UK should contact the advice line of the UK Passport Office on 0870 521 0410 for visa enquiries. UK Passport Service
Outside the UK, British Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates can issue visas for the Overseas Territories.
Do I need a work permit or residence permit for the Overseas Territories?
Each Overseas Territory has its own policy on immigration. For further enquiries you should contact the Department of Immigration in the relevant territory.
I am a British Overseas Territories Citizen passport holder, or a British Citizen normally resident in the Overseas Territories. Where can I renew my passport in the UK, or overseas?
The UK Passport Agency in the UK can renew any type of British Passport. You can renew your passport overseas at many British Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates. In large countries where there are Consulates in addition to the Embassy or High Commission, passports tend to be issued at one place. For example, the British Embassy in Washington, DC is the only place that issues passports in the USA.
Are the Overseas Territories members of the European Union?
Gibraltar is for most purposes within the European Union, but the other Overseas Territories are not. However, British citizens from the Overseas Territories have the same rights within the other existing 24 European Union states as other British citizens. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
These include freedom to:
You are strongly advised to contact the relevant country's local mission for further information. The following link provides further links to foreign missions in the UK: Foreign Embassies in the UK
Where do I go for commercial advice for the Overseas Territories?
Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat:Caribbean and Central America Unit
UK Trade & Investment
66 - 74 Victoria Street
Contact: Daren Hartwell
Tel: 020 7215 4828
Fax: 020 7215 8313
UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) does not provide advice on Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Alternatively, please contact the relevant Government's London Representative Office - Representatives of the UK Overseas Territories (Please note that Bermuda does not currently have representation).
Any other questions?
Caribbean and Bermuda Overseas Territories: 020 7008 2696
British Antarctic Territory/ South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands: 020 7008 3986
British Indian Ocean Territory, Pitcairn Islands: 020 7008 2754
St Helena, Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, Falkland Islands: 020 7008 2749