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Giving Up UK Citizenship or Nationality

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 15 Apr 2019 | comments*Discuss
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An individual may wish to give up their UK citizenship or nationality in order to become a citizen of another country. In most cases it is possible to retain British citizenship when acquiring the nationality of a second country. However, some countries do not allow their citizens to hold dual nationality.

The article below examines the circumstances in which an individual may be able to give up their British citizenship or nationality.

The Test for Giving up Citizenship or Nationality

In order to give up British citizenship or nationality an individual must:
  • Already have the citizenship or nationality of another country or be due to acquire it upon giving up his or her British status;
  • Be at least 18 years old or be married;
  • Be of sound mind – generally this means that an individual has the mental capacity to make their own decisions. For the purposes of an application to renounce nationality it means that the applicant understands the implications of giving up their nationality.
Applications may be made by someone else on behalf of someone who is not “of sound mind”. An application made on this basis could still succeed if it is considered to be in the individual’s best interest to renounce their British nationality. The person completing the form on their behalf will have to explain why it would be in the applicant’s best interest to give up their British nationality.

If an application to give up British citizenship or nationality is successful the applicant will receive a declaration of renunciation confirming their new status.

Applying to Give up UK Citizenship or Nationality

An application to give up citizenship or nationality is made using form RN. In some cases an individual may hold more than one type of British nationality at the same time. If this is the case, each type of nationality will have to be given up. More than one type of nationality may be included on the form at the same time.

The Application Form

The form comes in two parts – most of the information contained on the form is repeated in both parts. If the application is successful the second part of the form will be signed, stamped and returned to the applicant, becoming the formal declaration of renunciation. The first part of the form must be countersigned either by:
  • someone who is over the age of 18 and can confirm that the applicant is of sound mind; or, if the applicant is not of sound mind,
  • someone with responsibility for the applicant, who must also explain why it is in the applicant’s best interest for them to renounce their nationality.
Together with the form, applicants must also send in documents which prove both that they currently have some form of British nationality to give up and that they have, or will have, another citizenship or nationality if they give up their British nationality. Applicants who are under the age of 18 but who qualify to renounce their nationality due to marriage should also send in proof that they are married.

Applications to give up most forms of British citizenship are made to the British Home Office and forms completed by applicants in the UK should be returned to the UK Border Agency. In order to give up most types of British nationality a fee must be paid. The fee to give up British citizenship and / or most other types of British nationality was £395 as at September 2009. Applications to give up more than one type of nationality at the same time are only charged one fee. There is no fee for an application to give up the status of British National (Overseas).

Giving Up British Nationality Before Becoming the Citizen of Another Country

The declaration of renunciation will show the date on which the applicant ceased to be a British national. If the applicant has not yet become the citizen or national of another country when they make their application the declaration of renunciation will, in effect, be conditional upon them acquiring another nationality. If this has not happened within 6 months of the declaration being registered, the declaration will be void and the applicant will remain a British citizen or national.

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[Add a Comment]
@peter - If you give up your British citizenship, you lose your right to live and work in the UK. If you are not an EU citizen will have to apply for a visa if you wish to live and work in the UK.
TJ. - 15-Apr-19 @ 10:16 AM
Hello, I'm living and working in UK, but want to give up my Brittish cityzenship, I'm wondering what my visa status could be if my application is accepted, do I need to re-apply ILR ? Thanks a lot in advance.
peter - 14-Apr-19 @ 4:39 AM
Just an enquiry, if you give up your citizenship in Britain does it give up your children's? Can you still work in the U.K.?
Mamlea - 16-Mar-19 @ 12:37 PM
Further to my earlier post, I did eventually get through by phone to a real person who was actually helpful; they said I could apply to get my UK passport returned without stopping the renunciation application. So this is what I did and the passport duly arrived after 10 days, which is what they say one should expect. I am, however, still waiting to hear about the renunciation application itself; it has now been almost 3 months....
AyJayBee - 14-Nov-18 @ 10:25 AM
@Liz, I today received a letter from the Home Office to inform me that I am now registered as having renounced British citizenship. I can finally send this off to the IND. The whole process has taken 3 1/2 months. I was curious if you'd heard anything back yet? Regards.
Dutchman - 2-Oct-18 @ 9:16 AM
I sent off my renunciation form a few weeks ago together with my current UK passport (which is what I understood one should do) and then, to my horror, got an email message saying that it could take 6 months to process my application which, frankly, is totally ridiculous. Worse, however, is that I now have no passport at all and can't travel anywhere! I have tried to find a telephone number to be able to speak to someone, anyone about the application but without success so far. Does anyone have a number which I could call, either to ask them to hurry up or to request that they send my UK passport back in the meantime?
AyJayBee - 24-Sep-18 @ 4:44 PM
@KUDMON - Parents with ILR can only pass British citizenship to their children if they are born in the UK. Because you were born abroad, you have no claim to British citizenship unless you now live in the UK and at least one of your parents has become a British citizen.
TJ. - 5-Sep-18 @ 5:34 PM
I am a child aged 17 and I was born abroad but my had father indefinite leave to remain at my birth and he was married to my mother.Does this make me British and can I apply for a British passport or do I need to register / apply to become a citizen.
KUDMON - 5-Sep-18 @ 12:39 PM
Has anyone out there had their RN1 document legalised in the UK?
Liz - 3-Aug-18 @ 10:05 AM
@Jawa - An individual above the age of 18 cannot be legally adopted under UK law.
TJ. - 27-Jun-18 @ 1:58 PM
Hello, Please I have a question for you. A relative of mine is a British citizen and wants to pass the citizenship to me through adoption, but I am already 36 years old, please is that possible considering my age? Kindly send me the reply, or refer me to where my question can be answered. Thank you very much.
Jawa - 27-Jun-18 @ 12:30 PM
@Liz - Renunciation process takes up to six months so be patient.
TJ. - 14-Jun-18 @ 8:38 AM
Three weeks now - still no fees taken or an acknowledgment. The DutchIND wants proof of payment and an acknowledgement to be sent to them to show that the process of renunciation has begun within 3 months of becoming Dutch. I am finding this lack of response from UKV1 very stressful.
Liz - 13-Jun-18 @ 6:00 AM
@Cheza - Applications to renounce British citizenship take up to 6 months to be processed.
TJ. - 12-Jun-18 @ 2:28 PM
Hello. I applied to renounce a week and a half ago. Any idea on how long it will take to complete and when they take the money off?
Cheza - 11-Jun-18 @ 11:34 AM
@Jaggers - Your father will not be able to get back his renounced British citizenship unless the country where he holds another citizenship required him to renounce his British citizenship before they could grant him citizenship. Once your father has renounced his British citizenship his entry to the UK will depend on the passport he holds.
TJ. - 9-Jun-18 @ 1:43 PM
Hello, my father wishes to renounce his British citizenship. I would like to know what are the consequences of this. Will he in the future be able to get his British citizenship back if he wished to do so. Also the remainder of the family are choosing to keep their British citizenship so I would also like to know how easy travelling back to the UK would be for my father to visit the family that remain here. Thank you
Jaggers - 8-Jun-18 @ 6:21 PM
@Liz, thank you so much for your reply and for reminding me that an uitreksel BRP is available in English. I have sent all documentation to Liverpool today. I read on another forum somewhere that the authorities do take quite a while to confirm receipt of application. I've searched high and low for a phone number but can't find one. I hope you hear back from them soon. Once again, thanks for your help and good luck with your application and congratulations with yoir new nationality.
Dutchman - 6-Jun-18 @ 11:43 AM
I have not received any confirmation from Liverpool after 2 weeks nor has any fee been taken. I do not know how to contact Liverpool. The general phone number they give03001232253 say they cannot help. Any ideas??????
Liz - 5-Jun-18 @ 11:32 AM
I am in the process of renouncing uk citizenship after becoming Dutch. I have sent a certified copy of my Dutch passport plus a certified copy of the naturalization document and an international uitreksel from the BRP showing nationality an ORIGINAL
Liz - 1-Jun-18 @ 10:35 AM
@Dutchman - The copy of your Dutch passport will suffice
TJ. - 31-May-18 @ 7:06 PM
I recently became a Dutch citizen and I am now in possession of a Dutch passport. I am obliged to renounce my British citizenship and have filled out the necessary documentation. I must provide proof of my new nationality. Will they accept copies of my Dutch passport as proof? I will obviously send my British passport but am unwilling to send my new Dutch passport as I will then have no travel i.d. Thanks for your reply.
Dutchman - 31-May-18 @ 1:04 PM
CG - Your Question:
Hi,I renounced my British citizenship before my son was born,he was born in the Uk, as was I.Will he be able to apply for a british passport? Many thanks

Our Response:
Unless the other parent is a British citizen, then your child would not be considered a British citizen.
AboutImmigration - 17-Apr-18 @ 2:22 PM
Hi,I renounced my British citizenship before my son was born,he was born in the Uk, as was I. Will he be able to apply for a british passport? Many thanks
CG - 14-Apr-18 @ 10:41 PM
@Cas - If you or your ex were born in the UK then your son can apply for an adult British passport. The application will take a significantly shorter time if he applies in the UK.
TJ. - 31-Mar-18 @ 9:58 AM
I'm now divorced and living in New Zealand, my ex and I are both British. I wish to come home with my 16. years old son who was born here. How do I apply for his citizen by descent. Am I best to do it now or wait until I'm home. Can my son study or work?
Cas - 31-Mar-18 @ 6:49 AM
@Deep_Thought_62 - why not just keep both nationalities? Besides, a vote on Frexit is not too far in the horizon if you follow French politics.
TJ. - 25-Mar-18 @ 7:26 AM
My family served the Crown for 400 years in the Lords, Military & Public Service. I served my country as an Educator, a Health Professional and Counsellor for those abandoned by NHS. I have never subscribed to the inane notion that being born on a piece of rock chains you to that rock or that having a Passport requires I vow loyalty to a State that betrays me and the Values I hold. For that reason and the illegal decision to deprive me of my lawful status as an EU Citizen I shall renounce my UK citizenship and take French citizenship. At least I KNOW they won't throw me to the wolves.
Deep_Thought_62 - 24-Mar-18 @ 10:37 AM
@ tallies, Did you receive your British renunciation?I am waiting for the same. wanted to know the actual timeframes
vss - 23-Jan-18 @ 9:04 PM
@Tallies - The application takes up to six months to process.
TJ. - 8-Jan-18 @ 2:28 PM
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