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Giving Up UK Citizenship or Nationality

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 3 Dec 2017 | 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]
@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
@pommie your son born outside the UK is a British citizen "by descent" meaning he cannot automatically pass it to his children born outside the UK. However if he lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the children were born and either of his parents were born in the UK he can register the children as British citizens before they turn 18 years old.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:27 PM
Hi I am trying to find out it my son born in Australia in 1975 bought back to U.K. At 5months old has British and Aussie passports, lives in Australia but wants to bring his Australian children to the UK to live as he is now a widower, can they claim British citizenship. Thank you .
pommie - 10-Oct-17 @ 3:33 PM
Hi, I like to renounce my British Citizenship and is seeking the below queries: 1. How long will the process take before I can receive the authorization letter to confirm my renunciation? 2. Can I send up my neutralisation certificate instead of my passport as i need to travel for work in the meantime? I assumed my passport is still usable during the application process? 3. Do i need to pay extra fees for my children (aged under 12?) Thank you in advance
Limpehahbeng - 4-Oct-17 @ 9:59 AM
Hi, I'm here in Bangladesh. my father is British Citizen and he lives in Uk. I'm 25years old. Can my father apply for me or can I apply for British Citizenship?
RAAH - 17-Jul-17 @ 4:39 PM
Just posted about getting British Citizenship for my son and daughter and put my daughter's age down incorrectly. She is currently 17 and will turn 18 this September.
Jacqui - 22-May-17 @ 8:28 PM
I am a British citizen born in UK in 1966. In 1994 I got a green card and moved to the US and married an American who is now deceased.Can I apply for British citizenship for my daughter born in 1999 (she will turn 19 this September). I would also like to do this for my son but he turned 19 in May. If I can do this what forms do I need to submit? Both my children reside in the US but want the opportunity to maybe live and work in the UK in the distant future especially if I return.
Jacqui - 22-May-17 @ 8:26 PM
Hi, my Mexico husband has lived in Belfast for nearly 20 years and has studied here to HND level - does he have to do an English course before doing the test? Regards Lorna
LAA - 18-May-17 @ 12:29 PM
ahhh - Your Question:
I am 17 (born in 1999). My father is British by birth. My mother is a New Zealand citizen. They live together for 17 years but are not married. Can I apply for a passport?

Our Response:
You can check if you can apply via the link here.
AboutImmigration - 18-May-17 @ 9:44 AM
@ahhh since you were born before 2006 it will be difficult for you to apply for a British passport. However if your father is indicated on your birth certificate and the country you were born in recognizes you as your father's child (i.e. you are not considered illegitimate by law) then you may have a chance in succeeding with an application for a passport. Alternatively you could register as a British citizen using form MN1 if your passport application does not succeed.
TJ. - 17-May-17 @ 8:28 AM
I am 17 (born in 1999). My father is British by birth. My mother is a New Zealand citizen. They live together for 17 years but are not married. Can I apply for a passport?
ahhh - 17-May-17 @ 3:23 AM
i am a british passport holding citizen,im due too marry my hungarian bride this month she is widowed and has 2 kids (11,13) born in hungary. they all hold hungarian passports. their dad (her husband died 7 years ago). are they able too apply for british passports? or can there names be changed on there passports? this is too make any future holidays abroad hassle free. many thanks
gpb1977 - 14-May-17 @ 6:36 PM
fats - Your Question:
Hi I have a british passport but I have been living since my birth in pakistan. I got my passport through my parents. now I am married and have a daughter who is 12 years old and I want to apply her immigration so that she can settle in uk. kindly help me out what would be the process and how this can be done. do I have to apply her visit visa and then apply her immigration from there or else kindly help me out with this I will be grateful.

Our Response:
If you are a British citizen by descent, you cannot apply for your child to become a British citizen. It is only awarded to one generation from the British citizen i.e you.
AboutImmigration - 2-May-17 @ 12:31 PM
hi i have a british passport but i have been living since my birth in pakistan. i got my passport through my parents. now i am married and have a daughter who is 12 years old and i want to apply her immigration so that she can settle in uk .. kindly help me out what would be the process and how this can be done. do i have to apply her visit visa and then apply her immigration from there or else kindly help me out with this i will be grateful.
fats - 1-May-17 @ 8:13 PM
I am British born and bred.But over the last 24 months, my (so-called democratically elected) government has tried to pass illegal laws to spy on its own citizens (under the guise that its for the war on terror...given my home town was attacked in 1993 by Irish catholic terrorists this argument holds no water with me as the government has never been able to protect us), released rapists (ched Evans), fines girls for waisting police time who then get murdered (Shana Grice incident), and continues to develop a toxic relationship between media moguls and members of parliament to the detriment of its citizens, and has apparently got 'sick of experts (well I got sick of people who weren't experts very f*cking quickly) I have come to the conclusion that I don't want to be part of this country anymore.I don't care if I don't have citizenship lined up somewhere else,I don't want to be part of this country
Dan - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:17 PM
I only retained my British by birth citizenship for the purpose of access to Europe and that is likely to change for the worse. Now that Britain is leaving the EU I have no use for being British and will institute my own Brexit when Britain finally leaves. I am a naturalised Australian citizen.
brexit - 19-Apr-17 @ 8:55 PM
aggie - Your Question:
I have permanent residency since 2005. My younger child born in 2006 has british citizenship but older was born outside uk in 2001. He is nearly 17 and permanent resident also. I can't find any clear information how he can obtain british citizenship?any advice appreciated. thank you

Our Response:
EU nationals who have lived continuously 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 via the link here.
AboutImmigration - 5-Apr-17 @ 12:44 PM
I have permanent residency since 2005. My younger child born in 2006 has british citizenship but older was born outside uk in 2001. He is nearly 17 and permanent resident also. I can't find any clear information how he can obtain british citizenship? any adviceappreciated. thank you
aggie - 4-Apr-17 @ 11:14 PM
I am in the process of adopting my wife's 2.5year old son in Thailand. We all currently reside in Thailand. I would like to get a British passport for my son. Is there any chance even though I am not his biological father?
Simon - 18-Mar-17 @ 8:34 AM
LadyLewis - Your Question:
Me and my husband moved from Italy to UK about 12 years ago and our two children were born in UK and always been living in UK. My daughter was born after 7 years we moved so she can apply to British passport. My son was born just after 3 years after we moved in UK and he is now 11 years old: can he apply for British passport? any advice hugely welcome.

Our Response:
A European national will automatically acquire permanent residence in the UK after they have resided in the UK exercising treaty rights for five continuous years.
AboutImmigration - 24-Feb-17 @ 2:58 PM
Me and my husband moved from Italy to UK about 12 years ago and our two children were born in UK and always been living in UK. My daughter was born after 7 years we moved so she can apply to British passport. My son was born just after 3 years after we moved in UK and he is now 11 years old: can he apply for British passport? any advice hugely welcome.
LadyLewis - 24-Feb-17 @ 9:58 AM
Hello. I'm hoping for some clarification on our daughter's eligibility for a British passport (British citizenship). She was born to a British father (who is British by decent) and a German mother in the Republic of Ireland 2 1/2 years ago. Thus far, she only carries an Irish passport. Based on the above scenario, is she eligible and if so, for which kind of British citizenship/nationality? Much obliged.
Kate - 9-Feb-17 @ 4:33 PM
Hi I am a british citizen applying for citizenship for a country that doesnt allow duel citizenship, can i some how get the certificate of renunication just to show to the other country that i gave up my citizenship status, than cancell my application and gain both ?
Lost citizen - 14-Jan-17 @ 2:51 AM
hi, my daughter is in china with her mother. she has both passports. we cannot get her a british visa in her chinese passport and we cannot give up her chinese passport yet. how can i give up her british passport so she can visit me here?
mike wooler - 30-Dec-16 @ 7:10 PM
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