Dual citizenship is also commonly referred to as Dual nationality. It means you legally hold the citizenship of two or more countries.
Dual citizenship is lawfully allowed in the UK. While holding your home country’s citizenship, you can also seek to apply for British citizenship as a second nationality.
Every country has its own nationality laws, and not all countries allow dual citizenship.
This blog covers some aspects of Dual citizenship, eligibility criteria and the application process.
Check your status: Do you qualify for Dual citizenship?
There are different ways to obtain British citizenship. Some people automatically acquire citizenship at birth, others are entitled to register for citizenship. Those who are not automatically British and who are not entitled to register for citizenship may be able to apply for Citizenship through the process of Naturalisation.
British citizenship gained through the process of Naturalisation enables you to enjoy the same benefits of health care, employment and social security as any other British citizen.
You must meet the mandatory eligibility requirements to apply for Naturalisation,
Requirements for British citizenship
- You have lived in the UK for the most recent five consecutive years, or three years if married to a UK citizen.
- You must be free from immigration restrictions and have held this status for a minimum of 12 months, either by having Indefinite Leave to Remain or EU settled status, unless you are married to a British Citizen, in which case you just need to be free from immigration restrictions at the date you apply.
- You were physically present in the UK exactly five years before you make an application for British citizenship (or 3 years, for someone married to a British Citizen), and you have evidence to prove your presence in the UK.
- You have abided by the 90 days rule, which means you have not stayed outside the UK for more than 90 days in the last 12 months.
- You have not been absent from the UK for more than 450 days in the last five year period of your residence, or more than 270 in the last 3 years, for someone married to a British citizen.
- If you are a commonwealth citizen, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship through the Windrush scheme.
Other prerequisites for British citizenship
- You are 18 years of age or above
- You meet the good character requirement
- You are of full capacity
- You have strong intentions to stay in the UK after you naturalise
- You have passed the Life in the UK test
- You have the English language proficiency of B1 level and have the correct evidence to prove your English level, for example a degree taught or researched in English
Key points to remember while applying for British citizenship
- You must check beforehand if your home country allows you to hold dual citizenship.
- You have checked the requirements for British citizenship.
- You use the correct application form.
- If this is a mandatory requirement, you must inform your home country that you are applying for British citizenship.
Dual citizenship status of EU nationals
Your citizenship will not be impacted if you are a European citizen applying for EU settled status. Settled Status is not equivalent to Citizenship.
A European citizen with EU settled status or indefinite leave to remain may not have any immediate wish to apply for British Citizenship. However, if they change their mind, they must be sure to fulfil all the requirements of the Naturalisation when they choose to apply.
Countries that let you hold Dual citizenship with the UK
Many countries, both EEA and non-EEA, allow their own nationals to Naturalise as British citizens.
However, many countries have constitutional rules that do not allow dual citizenship.
Even where dual citizenship is allowed, some countries require you, by law, to apply to retain your citizenship before you apply for dual citizenship of a foreign country. It may be necessary to receive permission from your national authority, to apply for dual citizenship of the UK.
If dual citizenship is not permitted by your home country, you must be prepared to lose the nationality of your home country when you naturalise as a British Citizen.
EEA countries and dual citizenship with the UK
Most EEA countries allow dual citizenship. There are some EEA countries that do not permit dual citizenship and/or prohibit dual citizenship but allow it by exception for to those who have acquired a second nationality by birth and not through Naturalisation.
Austria, Estonia and Lithuania Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia and Slovenia are few EEA countries that do not, in general, permit dual nationality.
EEA full list of countries are:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
The specific rules and exemptions on dual nationality must be checked on a country-to-country basis.
Some other countries that allow you to hold dual citizenship with the UK
- United States
Some countries that do not allow you to hold dual citizenship with the UK
- North Korea
- Solomon Islands
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The specific rules and any exceptions must be checked on a country-to-country basis.
Renouncing your British citizenship
If you are a British citizenship and wish to apply for citizenship in another country that does not allow you to hold dual citizenship with the UK, you may renounce your British citizenship.
Guidance and advice on renouncing British citizenship should be taken before making this decision.
The UK imposes no limit on the number of other citizenships a British citizen can hold.
British citizenship application process
To make a successful application for British citizenship, you must first identify whether you meet the eligibility criteria explained earlier in this blog.
Then, you must proceed with the online application, pay the application fee, upload your supporting documents online, and book and attend a Biometric appointment in person.
The Home Office fee for naturalisation is £1,330 (including the £80 citizenship ceremony fee). There is an additional biometric enrolment fee, which is £19.20.
Once your British citizenship application is approved, you will be issued a Citizenship invitation letter – you must arrange a Citizenship Ceremony as early as possible and within 14 days of receiving the letter. The ceremony should take place within three months of your naturalisation approval. You will not become a British Citizen until you have completed your citizenship ceremony.
You must attend your ceremony, where you will be given your certificate of Naturalisation and declared a British citizen.
After this, you can begin to apply for a British passport.
Conclusion: One must carefully consider the guidance covered in this blog before making a decision to apply for naturalisation and ensure eligibility requirements are met, before submitting an application. You must also check that your home country has no rules that prevent or restrict your ability to naturalise as a citizen of another country.
It is recommended that you take the help of immigration experts who can guide you through the process.