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Giving Up UK Citizenship or Nationality

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 3 Aug 2018 | 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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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
Hi, my fiancé has applied for renunciation of his British Citizenship.It has been 3 months and no one has gotten back to us.I’ve emailed numerous times and phoned but to no avail.They’ve sent the confirmation of receipt and took the money of our account.I’m getting so frustrated what should I do?
Tallies - 8-Jan-18 @ 11:13 AM
@Vee777 only adult British citizens can renounce their British citizenship.
TJ. - 3-Dec-17 @ 5:08 PM
Hi I want to renounce my daughter's British citizenship as we both have another citizenship. My daughter is 7. Is this possible? We are currentlyliving in the UK now but want to move to the our country.
Vee777 - 3-Dec-17 @ 5:20 AM
@Puddy it is possible to renounce your British citizenship using the guidance on the govuk website. However you do not have to renounce your citizenship to use one passport. You can simply stop using your British passport.
TJ. - 8-Nov-17 @ 4:57 PM
Hi, I like to renounce my British Citizenship, I live overseas and becoming a citizen of that country, and only want to be able to use only one passport and hand in my English one can this be done,
Puddy - 8-Nov-17 @ 6:56 AM
@Sally if the childs father was born in the UK or naturalized as a British citizen before the child was born then the child is a British citizen and is entitled to a British passport. You are not entitled to British citizenship/British passport because you have not resided with your husband in the UK for the minimum required period.
TJ. - 7-Nov-17 @ 5:19 AM
I am wanting to find out if either my daughter (2.5YO) or myself (we were both born in Australia, both live in Australia & have Australian Passports) are able to become UK passport holders (dual citizens?) as my daughters father & my husband is a British citizen, resided in the UK for 49 years prior to moving to Australia and is now an Australian resident, having resided in Australia for 11 years. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Sally - 7-Nov-17 @ 1:08 AM
@Limpehahbeng the process of renunciation takes about 6 months. You will have to submit all documents showing you as a British citizen including British passport. For your application to be approved you must show evidence of another citizenship.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:30 PM
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