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Dual Nationality

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 16 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Dual Nationality

Under UK law a foreign national who acquires British citizenship does not have to renounce their original nationality and may, therefore, hold dual nationality. However, some countries do not recognise dual nationality and may require their citizens to give up their nationality if they acquire British citizenship or may simply fail to recognise that British nationality has been acquired.

Anyone who is considering having dual nationality should check what the rules are in their own country before taking steps to acquire British nationality. Amongst the countries which currently do not allow citizens to hold dual nationality are India, and many Middle Eastern and African states.

British Citizens and British Subjects Acquiring a Second Nationality

British citizens who acquire the nationality of another country are not required to give up their British citizenship when they acquire the nationality of a second country. However, some countries may require that person to give up their British nationality before they can become citizens of another country.

The situation is different for British subjects and British protected persons. They will lose their status if they become nationals of another country. However, British subjects who have that status due to a connection with the Republic of Ireland will not necessarily lose their status if they acquire another nationality.

Dual Nationals Abroad and British Consular Services

Generally speaking British citizens are entitled to receive British consular assistance if they have difficulties while they are abroad. Consular assistance may be needed for a number of reasons. British citizens could need help settling into a new country of residence, become sick, have an accident, be the victim of a crime or they may commit or be accused of a crime themselves. In these circumstances the British Embassy or Consulate may take the appropriate action to ensure the wellbeing of the British citizen.

Under international law a person with dual nationality will not be entitled to British consulate assistance when abroad if they are in the country of their original nationality.

People travelling to the country of their original nationality who lost that nationality when they became a British citizen are technically entitled to British consular assistance in that country. They may apply to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a letter confirming that they will be given consular assistance in the country of their original nationality. In order to obtain such a letter they will have to send to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office formal written confirmation that they lost their nationality, the documents under which they acquired British citizenship and their British passport.

Renouncing British Citizenship

British citizens, British subjects, British Nationals (Overseas) or British protected persons who wish to renounce their British nationality or status may do so. In order to renounce British nationality citizens must be able to show that they either have a second nationality or that they will get a second nationality upon renouncing their British citizenship. In addition they must be either 18 years or age, or under 18 but married, and of “sound mind”. Citizens who are not “of sound mind” or lack the mental capacity to make important decisions about their welfare may still be able to renounce their British citizenship if it can be shown that it is in their best interests to do so.

To renounce British nationality a declaration of renunciation must be completed using form RN1 for British citizens. British nationality will be deemed renounced on the date on which the declaration of renunciation is registered. If the person renouncing their British citizenship does not in fact acquire a new nationality within six months of the declaration the renunciation has no effect and they will retain their British nationality.

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Hi, I hope you would provide a free advice for my below questions. My wife and I was originally Sri Lankan citizens and naturalised as British citizens about 12 years ago and our 2 children born after we became British citizens. Now we are thinking to get Sri Lankan dual citizenship for all of us (if possible). my questions are..... 1. If we take dual citizenship of Sri Lanka, are we in any risk of losing British citizenship? 2. Do we need to inform British authorities that we are going to apply for dual citizenship of Sri Lanka? 3. Once we received dual citizenship from Sri Lanka, how to inform to British authorities that now we are dual citizens? I will really appreciate your kind help answering my above questions.
Gary - 16-Apr-17 @ 12:00 PM
Sara - Your Question:
HelloI'm 42 yrs old, I was born in Spain to a Spanish father, English mother. I have lived in the UK since I was 2 yrs old. I am now married to a British man with 3 children. My father dealt with my passport renewal as I do not speak Spanish. I kept my nationality for my father. He has since past away, am I eligible for a British passport please ?Thank you.

Our Response:
EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least six years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. The eligibility requirements can be found here .
AboutImmigration - 13-Apr-17 @ 2:42 PM
Hello I'm 42 yrs old, I was born in Spain to a Spanish father, English mother. I have lived in the UK since I was 2 yrs old. I am now married to a British man with 3 children. My father dealt with my passport renewal as I do not speak Spanish. I kept my nationality for my father. He has since past away, am I eligible for a British passport please ? Thank you.
Sara - 8-Apr-17 @ 9:42 AM
Hi. I was born and raised in England, my father is english and my mother is Irish. I hold an Irish passport. I want to apply for my Japanese working visa and the Japanese embassy in London have told me am i cannot apply for my visa in England as i fail to hold an english passport, i would have to fly to Ireland to get it. i could apply for my english passport but i don't want to lose my Irish one. Can i hold both Irish and British passport? Thanks in advance
Jonn123 - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:17 PM
Hello, I am dual national British and Romanian. Romanian passport is expired for 10 years. British one is also expired. British passport office refuses to renew it because the romanian one is still in my maiden name. They ask me to change it. I can only do that by going to Romania as I cannot give power of attorney to the consulate in London because I have no valid ID they would accept. I can't travel to Romania as no valid passport. Catch 22. What do I do?
Tatiana - 17-Feb-17 @ 3:54 PM
My daughter was born In Dublin in 2005, we came to the uk when she was only 3weeks old. She is 12 yrs now. Can she naturalise & apply for British passport, as her younger sister who is 10 yrs now & was born in d Uk has naturalised and obtained her British passport. Pls advise.
Mama - 14-Feb-17 @ 10:34 PM
I was born in Iraq to an Iraqi father and British mother in 1980.I have lived in the UK since 1985 and was included on my mothers passport until 1993.I entered the UK on my Iraq passport and have an ID card, I also have a British registration certificate from 1981.I have applied for a British passport and I have been asked to have my name changed to the British version on an Iraq passport.My names are slightly different on passport and British Registration document.I have not had or been included on any passport since 1993 and the Iraq passport expired in 1989. The passport office sent me a letter asking me to contact the Iraq authorities and if they could or would not change the name to the British version.I understand that in recent times there is a need to be more cautious about who takes a British passport.I just need to know if it is at all possible.I have contacted the Iraq Consular office and have had no response as yet
Bill - 14-Feb-17 @ 5:56 PM
I was born in Pakistan then went Canada for higher studies acquired Canadian citizenship then move to U.K. as skilled professional I had completed my 5 years residency and looking to apply UK naturalisation become as British National this year. Do I have to renounce any citizenship before apply British citizenship? Although Pakistan and Canada allow dual citizenship but will multiple citizenship is also allowed. Please advice. Thanks
Rajaali28 - 11-Feb-17 @ 4:17 PM
I was born in Australia to British parents. I now live in the U.K. I have a British passport and did have an Australian one too that has now expired. Do my children and husband have dual nationality too? Or a right to live in Australia with me if we were to move there?
Danners74 - 1-Feb-17 @ 12:01 AM
Hi. I'm Australian and I'd like to apply for dual citizenship but I'm a bit confused with the requirements. It says I need to have lived here for more than 3 years but i don't know how that's possible since I've only got the 2 year youth mobility visa. I have no family in the UK to go for an ancestral passport or what not.
Bronnie - 25-Jan-17 @ 9:45 AM
Maria - Your Question:
Hi , I was born in Romania and lived in England for 9 years. Since I've been here I've been studying and working full time ,never got into trouble with anybody. How can I apply for a British passport or would it be easier to apply for dual nationality ? I'm very confused , does anyone know which steps to follow and what do I need to do ? Please help ! Thank you

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk site here for more information regarding your options as a member of the EU.
AboutImmigration - 18-Jan-17 @ 1:35 PM
Hi , I was born in Romania and lived in England for 9 years . Since I've been here I've been studying and working full time ,never got into trouble with anybody . How can I apply for aBritish passport or would it be easier to apply for dual nationality ? I'm very confused , does anyone know which steps to follow and what do I need to do ? Please help ! Thank you
Maria - 18-Jan-17 @ 7:59 AM
I am a British citizen married to a Ugandan national (who also holds UK citizenship) for over 3 years. On a recent trip to Uganda immigration told me I can now apply for dual nationality on the basis of this marriage and I am now going to do this. As part of that process I have to supply a copy of the provisions of the laws that permit Dual nationality in the UK and wondered where I can access these so it is VERY clear to the immigration officials in Kampala that this is permissible under UK law. Thanks
Wendy - 9-Dec-16 @ 11:49 AM
Hi. I was born in Iraq when I was 6 months my mom moved to iran I was growing up in iran when I was com to U.K. I say I'm from iran but my mom Originally from Iraqand my originals from iran . I can get Iraqan passport because my mom now returns to Iraq I just want know if I have iraqan passport it will be problems for me if I Holiday. On my parmanet residence it's born iran ??? I need help please
Saman - 23-Nov-16 @ 1:47 AM
I have dual nationality brazilian and british. I live in the uk. If I am accused of a crime in Brazil can I have Legal support in the uk? I have left brazil 5 years ago and not planning to go back.
arabella - 29-Sep-16 @ 4:44 PM
ozkazz - Your Question:
Hi,I was born and adopted in Australia in 1967 and then moved to the UK in 1969 on my parents passport.Since then I have lived and worked in the UK and brought up my Children. I travelled to Canada in 1996 on my Australian passport For the last year I have been claiming benefits (ESA) while trying to get a job! but keep getting asked for evidence that I have the right to work. My (ESA) was stopped and Ive since claimed for (JSA) but Ive had a letter saying that Im not entitled becauseI do not meet the requirement's for the right to reside test! They say I need to apply for a BRP but I thought I thought I would have Dual Nationonality, as I was born in Australia but brought up from very young with my British Parents! Help PLEASE

Our Response:
I can't really help with this. If there is a loophole to stop you from claiming benefits, then the DWP will enforce this. Your only option would be to challenge the decision or apply for the BRP as recommended, which will prove your right to live and work in the UK.
AboutImmigration - 22-Sep-16 @ 2:08 PM
Hi,I was born and adopted in Australia in 1967 and then moved to the UKin 1969 on my parents passport.Since then I have lived and worked in the UK and brought up my Children. I travelled to Canada in 1996 on my Australian passport For the last year I have been claiming benefits (ESA) while trying to get a job! but keep getting asked for evidence that I have the right to work. My (ESA) was stopped and Ive since claimed for (JSA) but Ive had a letter saying that Im not entitled becauseI do not meet the requirement's for the right to reside test!They say I need to apply for a BRP but I thought I thought I would have Dual Nationonality, as I was born in Australia but brought up from very young with my British Parents!Help PLEASE
ozkazz - 21-Sep-16 @ 4:15 PM
Hi, My partner was born in Australia and moved back to England when he was 7 so he has dual nationality of Australian/British. We both want to move to New Zealand. Is he able to do this on his passport and am I able to apply for a partner visa? Thank you.
Tashy - 20-Sep-16 @ 11:57 AM
Hello I have dual Australian-British citizenship, however I only have an Australian passport. I live permanently in the UK and need to visit Australia later this year. Will I have any problems with UK officials if I travel on my Australian passport? Thank-you very much for any help!
snowgum - 13-Sep-16 @ 2:01 PM
Hi, I was born in Southern Ireland in 1981. My mum is Irish and my dad is British. I moved to the UK in 1986 and have lived here ever since. I have gone to school here, paid taxes and married my British husband. Can I apply for a British passport and is there anything special I need to do? I currently hold an Irish passport.
Dotty81 - 11-Sep-16 @ 1:27 AM
Naya- Your Question:
Hi me and my family is swdish nastionalty holder we have Ben Here for 10years in uk can we apply for dual nastionalty ? And how to apply and how much is fee for that ?

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk link here which will help advise further.
AboutImmigration - 2-Aug-16 @ 10:15 AM
Hi me and my family is swdish nastionalty holder we have Ben Here for 10years in uk can we apply for dual nastionalty ? And how to apply and how much is fee for that ?
Naya - 1-Aug-16 @ 2:11 AM
Hello, I am a UK citizen living in Ontario Canada.I was married to a Canadian but have since separated. I would like my 2 children (1 born in 2007 and the other born in 2010) to have dual citizenship and have a UK passport. How can I do this?Thank you for your help.DB
DB - 26-Jul-16 @ 12:12 PM
I was born in Melbourne Australia in 1975 and moved to England with my family in 1979, I have previously held a junior Australian passport that expired when I was 14. I am classed as a Dual Nationalist and therefore would like to enquire about how I would obtain an adult Australian passport and the process of emigrating to Australia, thank you.
Scott - 20-Jul-16 @ 7:18 PM
I was born in the UK in 1955 and I emigrated with my parents to Australia in 1964 where I now reside. In 2009 I became an Australian citizen. I have never renounced my British citizenship and I understand that I have dual nationality. In June 2016 I entered the UK and the Immigration official issued me a visawith therestriction that I could stay in the UK for no more than six month provided I do not seek employment or access public benefits. I believe a mistake has been made by the Immigration official since I am a British citizen and therefore am eligible to enter and remain in the UK without restriction. I need to speak to someone in the UK Government to clarify this but I am having trouble working out who to contact and how to contact them. Can anyone suggest the best avenue to pursue? I believethe Immigration official referred to above may have made a mistake when issuing me with the visa containing the restriction because my Australian Passport notes my place of birth as the town in the UK in which I was born but not the fact that this town is located in the UK. Consequently she may have mistakenly concluded that I was an Australia citizen born in Australia.
seeking answers - 15-Jul-16 @ 11:23 AM
My mother, now disceased, was French, but I was born in England & have lived here all my life.Am I allowed to apply for dual nationality as I would like to live in France when I retire?
Kipkatz - 1-Jul-16 @ 6:48 AM
Hi, I'm trying to renew my daughter's British passport. She was born in England, original nationality. We live in Chile, her father is Chilean and she is automatically a Chilean citizen. Here they use her maternal surname (my last name) on all official documents. So UK says they can't renew her Beitish passport because her name is different on her Chilean passport, and is asking me to change her name on her Chilean passport (which will never happen) or provide an official letter from authorities here stating why this cannot happen. Where do I even start looking for a letter like that? Anyone else have this problem?
AF - 30-Jun-16 @ 11:36 PM
I am a born British citizen and hold a British passport. I am legible to apply for Irish citizenship and obtain an Irish passport. If successful does that mean I am no longer legible for British citizenship and my British passport becomes void? Or can I hold both an Irish and British passport.
danlewis84 - 29-Jun-16 @ 3:40 PM
Hy I'm a British citizen and I've lived in Kenya since birth but I want to have dual citizenship is it possible?
Mmm - 21-Jun-16 @ 6:11 PM
I am a British Citizen and my daughter was born in Romania with British/Romania parents. She was registered at birth with the British Embassy as a British Citizen and has held a British passport continuously ever since. I now live back in the UK and she resides with her mother in Romania. She is now 14 (up until the present I have always gone to collect and deliver her back when she comes to the UK) but I have been told told by British immigration that she is old enough to choose to use her British Passport to travel alone as she is a British Citizen. The only thing is Romania Law says that Romania Citizens can't travel alone until they're 18. Because she has dual nationality is she beholden to both countries laws or is she classed as a British Citizen whilst travelling with a British Passport and visa versa. I don't want to break any laws for her to have any complications leaving or arriving. Please advise. Thank you
gaz1 - 7-Jun-16 @ 12:05 PM
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