Home > Citizenship > Dual Nationality

Dual Nationality

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 27 Dec 2019 | 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I was born in Southern Ireland. My family came to England in 1957 and am married to an English man. Can I get a British passport and how much does it cost. I already hold an Irish passport.
Kay - 27-Dec-19 @ 10:36 AM
@maos - many countries insist on parental consent for passport applications for minors and there is no way around this really. However if you are divorced, you could make a case that you have sole responsibility in caring for the children and get a waiver from the Mexican authorities.
TJ. - 11-Jul-18 @ 1:40 PM
My ex husband (British) isvery reluctant andis not cooperating in getting our children their Mexican passport. The children have dual nationality always had their Mexican passport. They have expired recently and I am asking him for his cooperation to get a New Mexican passport and he is reluctant to do so... is there anything I can do? we share parental responsibility and we neeed to go to the embassy together to get it... but he is very argumentative and not wanting to get their Mexican passports. He paid for the British passport for 1 of our sons and I paid for the other one. Now that the Mexican passports need to be renewed he is not cooperating. Anything I can do and he is being very argumentative with the fact that they don’t need another one. Any help please? Is there any law against this?
maos - 10-Jul-18 @ 11:33 PM
@Andrew - Most 1st and 2nd generation immigrants in any country will definitely have dual nationality unless their country of origin or their host country forbids it.
TJ. - 6-Jul-18 @ 11:00 AM
@BB Well I know. But how true is his statement? What % of non-whites have dual nationality?
Andrew - 5-Jul-18 @ 7:25 PM
@Andrew - not true. This has nothing to do with race. It's just people spouting sweeping generalisations over Facebook about stuff they know absolutely nothing about and that has no evidence base.
BB - 26-Jun-18 @ 3:37 PM
I'm in a facebook discussion about deportation of foreign criminals. Someone says about non-whites, "Even if they were born here they likely have dual nationality. You know, nationality of the country they run to as soon as they’ve been caught committing a crime to avoid actually being prosecuted." How true is this?
Andrew - 26-Jun-18 @ 12:00 PM
@Afroenergydance - If your children are British citizens they cannot be granted visas for the UK on their Nigerian passports. Without visas on their Nigerian passports they will not be allowed to board a flight to the UK.
TJ. - 17-Jun-18 @ 3:11 AM
Hi my children have Nigerian and British passports. Their British (1st )children’s passports need to be renewed but they must travel abroad imminently. Will there be any problems returning to the UK with their Nigerian passports, if I supply their birth certificates and expired British passports?
Afroenergydance - 16-Jun-18 @ 8:13 AM
Hi, I have both hong Kong passport and British National Overseas passport. I got two visas granted when I applied with the HK one in the past. Recently, I renewed my BNO and used to apply (& granted) for third visa.Would Home office not recgonise this as 10 year lawful residence as the visas are linked to two different passports?
Viv - 26-Apr-18 @ 7:35 AM
My son was born in Portugal in 1992 but has lived in the UK since 1996. He has both a British Passport and Portuguese passport. Does this mean this is automatic dual nationality or is there something else that needs to be done?
neil - 4-Apr-18 @ 5:14 PM
Hi I have got a Swedish passport. But I don’t have yet perminant residents, could you please give some advice. Also I don’t want to get rid of my Swedish passport so ist possible to have dual citizenship. Thanks
Mo - 21-Mar-18 @ 9:04 PM
@Xtine - You do not lose citizenship when your passport expires. However if you do not have a valid Filipino passport or any other Filipino identification then you can proceed to change your name in your British passport.
TJ. - 7-Mar-18 @ 7:09 AM
@TJ But my Philippine passport is expired and I am not a dual citizen. I didn’t reacquire my Philippine Citizenship and only been travelling using my British passport?
Xtine - 6-Mar-18 @ 9:21 PM
@Xtine - You must first change the name on your Filipino passport to your new name before you can change the name on your British passport.
TJ. - 6-Mar-18 @ 3:35 PM
@Anne - Once your visa expires, you will have to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) which currently costs £2,297. After you receive ILR you will be able to apply for British Citizenship at a cost of £1,282
TJ. - 6-Mar-18 @ 3:33 PM
I was a filipino citizen and have acquired my British citizenship in 2012 naturally and have changed my name recently. I am in the process of changing my British passport under my new name.am I still required to change my Philippine passport although I didn’t not reacquire my filipino citizenship at all? All my other UK documents are under my new name and this is just so frustrating as I get different information from passport office. Please help.TIA
Xtine - 6-Mar-18 @ 7:10 AM
Hi I am a Malaysian living in the UK with my husbandwho is a british national, I have got a Residence permit which is the second one (spouse/partner leave to remain) visa until 04/07/ 2019 and would like to have dual citizen ship, much will it cost, and the best route / form must I comply with Thanks .
Anne - 3-Mar-18 @ 12:51 PM
@Br2018 - You can apply for British citizenship if you meet the other requirements like you have been living in the UK, you are of good character, life in the UK test etc.
TJ. - 2-Feb-18 @ 10:19 PM
Hi Tj Thank you so much for your reply. I have permanent residency card . I can I apppy for citizenship? Just to confirm ??. Br2018
Br2018 - 2-Feb-18 @ 6:34 PM
@Br2018 - You can apply for British citizenship if you have ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) or Permanent Residency. I'm not sure of the visa you hold which expires in 2021.
TJ. - 2-Feb-18 @ 5:50 AM
Hi I'm a Brazilian citizen I was married with a Dutch citizen . I've got married in 2004 in Scotlandand got divorced in 2008 due his alcoholism . I have permanent live in the U.K. Visa until 2021. My visa was granted in 2011. Can I apply for citizenship ? Thank you
Br2018 - 23-Jan-18 @ 5:53 PM
@Ali Why would the Home Office mind if you obtained Dutch nationality? if you became a Dutch national you would be able to live and work freely in the UK without need for a visa.
TJ. - 10-Dec-17 @ 3:44 AM
I’m a UK resident holding an EEA family member permit on behalf of my Dutch wife. if I obtain Dutch nationality while living in UK, will UK Immigration would know about that of my new nationality? (Netherlands allows citizenship abroad)
Ali - 9-Dec-17 @ 11:25 PM
@Jo your sons partner must travel to the UK on her French passport or National ID card for her to be considered an EU national.
TJ. - 5-Dec-17 @ 2:48 PM
@Jo if your son's partner is a French (EU) citizen they can both feel free to come live and work in the UK any time they choose while the UK remains in the EU. Her dual nationality will not affect her status in any way.
TJ. - 5-Dec-17 @ 2:45 PM
@Jo - if your son doesn't have British citizenship he would have to apply for a work visa.
Elio - 5-Dec-17 @ 10:56 AM
My son who was born in the UK and is British currently lives in Australia with his partner who has dual Australian and French citizenship.They would like to come to the UK to live and work.What does my sons partner need to do to be able to live and work in the UK?
Jo - 4-Dec-17 @ 9:26 AM
@potchie if you can prove your residency in the UK for at least 5 years before the child was born as an EU citizen working/studying/self employed with health insurance then you can apply for a British passport for her using govuk website.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 3:04 PM
@Jo your child is not eligible for British nationality based on your refugee status.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:58 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments