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Dual Nationality

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 24 Jun 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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I need to know whether I can travel out of the UK (as a dual citizen) on only an Australian passport, I know I can return to England on one, but am not sure if I can leave the UK and enter Europe without my British passport.
Korra - 24-Jun-17 @ 3:03 PM
@Benny you are free to enter the UK with your Australian passport. However if one of the border officers realizes that you are a British citizen then expect to be questioned as to why you have not applied for a new British passport. Also if you enter on your Australian passport you need to ensure that you do not overstay in the UK.
TJ. - 21-Jun-17 @ 5:52 AM
Hi, I have an Australian and UK Passport and I reside in the UK. I have lost my UK passport but need to travel to Europe for work and wondered if I can travel on my Australian passport temporarily to Europe and back to the UK. I will then apply for a replacement UK passport when I return. Is it possible to temporarily travel on my Australian Passport? Thank you
Benny - 20-Jun-17 @ 4:20 PM
rachelle- Your Question:
I am in the Philippines at present and working as government employee. The civil service has a new circular that in order for me to continue working in the government, I need to renounce my British citizenship. I've tried to contact British embassy but it's only automated message. How will I renounce my British citizenship if I'm in the Philippines? I don't know where to go or how to make an appointment or do I have to fill up the RN1 form and send it to the given address with payment? I'm really worried because I don't want to loose my job because I am about to give birth in Aug. And really need this job to support my baby and family. Hoping for your advice and guidance on this matter. Thank you so much.

Our Response:
The gov.uk link here is the standard 'go to' site. Please also see link here.
AboutImmigration - 20-Jun-17 @ 2:29 PM
I am in the Philippines at present and working as government employee. The civil service has a new circular that in order for me to continue working in the government,I need to renounce my British citizenship. I've tried to contact British embassy but it's only automated message. How will I renounce my British citizenship if I'm in the Philippines? I don't know where to go or how to make an appointment or do I have to fill up the RN1 form and send it to the given address with payment? I'm really worried because I don't want to loose my job because I am about to give birth in Aug. And really need this job to support my baby and family. Hoping for your advice and guidance on this matter.Thank you so much. .
rachelle - 20-Jun-17 @ 2:47 AM
@Alina once you are a permanent resident in the UK you will first have to register your child as a British citizen before you can apply for a British passport.The UK allows dual nationality but you will have to check if Romania also allows dual nationality.
TJ. - 16-Jun-17 @ 6:35 AM
@Dave Aspy your daughter can apply for a British passport regardless of her age or where she was born since you are a British citizen born in the UK before 1983. This is assuming you never renounced your British citizenship before her birth.
TJ. - 16-Jun-17 @ 6:27 AM
Hi My children are born in the Uk but I can't make British passport for them because I have been here legally only for the last 3 years. If I make for them Romanian passport,after 2 years can I apply for British also? So that they can have Romanian and British?
Alina - 14-Jun-17 @ 1:55 PM
I am 55 years old and born in U.K. I gained Australian citizenship about 23 Years ago. My wife is Australian. Can my 18 year old daughter get a British Passport?
Dave Aspy - 13-Jun-17 @ 11:42 AM
@confusedAboutEveryth you are still a Pakistani citizen because Pakistan allows dual nationality with the UK. You will need to find out from the Pakistani consulate about the process of renouncing your citizenship. Even after renouncing your citizenship you will still have to mention all previous citizenships held in most immigration applications.
TJ. - 13-Jun-17 @ 7:36 AM
Hi, I'm in an odd situation whereby I am born and bred in the UK. I have always had a British Passport, however when I was 17/18 my father who is of Pakistani origin forcibly had a Pakistani passport created for me. I never travelled to Pakistan or used the passport and no longer have any of the details or the passport. It has now been 25 years since this happened. Does this mean I am a dual national? if so, how do I go about renouncing/revoking the Pakistani part without having the passport itself? It has only come to light (I had forgotten about it completely) when applying for an ESTA to the USA. I do not wish for this to be an issue ever. Britain is the only home I've ever had and I'm upset that this was done at a time in my life when I was given no choice.
confusedAboutEveryth - 12-Jun-17 @ 2:55 PM
@Suz he needs to indicate that he is a British citizen when checking in online. At the South Africa exit immigration he will however need to present his South African passport.
TJ. - 7-Jun-17 @ 5:03 PM
My friend is born south Africahe also have British passport we are travelling to Italy using British passport. ..will his nationality be British for online checking passport?
Suz - 7-Jun-17 @ 1:24 PM
MJ - Your Question:
Hi, I am requesting my first British passport and I was originally born here but always had a Spanish passport (my mother is spanish) and as a policy the spanish passport requests I put both my parents surnames (my parents are divorced) but my birth certificate only holds my fathers surname and so when it came to the application process, both passports had to match and match my birth certificate, now they are suggesting I change my name on my birth certificate??? Long process and I would appreciate some help, thank you x

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we do not have knowledge of the administrative workings of HMPO and therefore cannot advise. You would have to take further advice directly.
AboutImmigration - 24-May-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hi, I am requesting my first British passport and I was originally born here but always had a Spanish passport (my mother is spanish) and as a policy the spanish passport requests I put both my parents surnames (my parents are divorced) but my birth certificate only holds my fathers surname and so when it came to the application process, both passports had to match and match my birth certificate, now they are suggesting I change my name on my birth certificate??? Long process and I would appreciate some help, thank you x
MJ - 23-May-17 @ 10:59 AM
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
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