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Dual Nationality

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 18 Jan 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Hi. I have dual citizenship for the uk and Ireland. I was born in the uk to Irish parents. My British passport has expired so I am using my Irish passport to apply for an Indian business visa. Am I classed as Irish nationality because I'm using my Irish passport? Do I have to say I'm British nationality but my passport has expired?
Shelly - 4-Jun-16 @ 11:01 AM
Am I going to lose my indef leave to remain in the Uk if I move to our holiday home in France upon husbands retirement? I hold USA passport with indef leave to remain in the UK. How does this work for a non EU citizen married to someone who is?
Marijea - 1-Apr-16 @ 3:21 PM
Hi my son is British he is married to an American they have a daughter born in the states can she have dual nationality and how would go about it .
Jaystee13 - 31-Mar-16 @ 3:44 PM
Hi, I'm Italian and I lived in London for 13 years.If I get British citizenship will I be able to keep my Italian citizenship or not? Many thanks
DC - 17-Mar-16 @ 6:28 PM
Hi, I recently moved to the UK on a 2.5 year spouse visa and have a residence permit for that period. Some of the available online material suggests that I would be eligible to apply for citizenship in 3 years and other state 5. Which is the right one? Thanks!
Rob - 15-Mar-16 @ 2:57 PM
Hi there, my Fiancé has a Dual Nationalities passport (French & British) which he has recently lost. How do we go about getting him a new one? Does he require to go down to London to the French Embassy or will he be OK to get his replacement through the post like a British one? Thank you
Ames - 23-Feb-16 @ 7:28 PM
I am an italian citizen but I have been living in uk for nearly 20 years. I have two daughters born in England one in 1998 and 2001. When I sent the application for the girls to have an English passport I only had one return with a British passport my older one. I did not get any explanation just all the paperworks returned. Any help how to get my daughter's a British passport?
Valeria - 20-Feb-16 @ 8:43 PM
HI I live in UK and was granted indefinite leave to remain in UK in 2010 after claiming asylum my family live in Australia can I apply for dual citizenship to settle in Australia and what are the conditions.
Chipoz - 16-Feb-16 @ 2:13 PM
AC - Your Question:
Hi,I'm Italian and have lived in the UK for 10 years. This is now very much my home and I'd like to become a British citizen. I am also engaged to a British man and I'm wondering if I will become a British citizen anyway when I marry him in the foreseeable future or should I apply for citizenship separately? Which way is speedier and less costly (wedding costs aside of course)?

Our Response:
You can apply for a registration certificate if you’re a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) country and want to prove your right to live or work in the UK. You can apply for a document certifying permanent residence if you’ve lived in the UK for five years as a qualified person. This will prove your right to live in the UK permanently. You can apply for a document certifying permanent residence if you’ve lived in the UK for five years as a qualified person. This will prove your right to live in the UK permanently. Please see the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 10-Feb-16 @ 2:40 PM
Hi, I'm Italian and have lived in the UK for 10 years. This is now very much my home and I'd like to become a British citizen. I am also engaged to a British man and I'm wondering if I will become a British citizen anyway when I marry him in the foreseeable future or should I apply for citizenship separately? Which way is speedier and less costly (wedding costs aside of course)?
AC - 10-Feb-16 @ 12:02 PM
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