How to get Dual citizenship?

Aug 16, 2021
Last Updated on Mar 28, 2024

What is Dual Citizenship?

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 lawful 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 dual citizenship. Some people automatically acquire citizenship at birth, others are entitled to register for citizenship. Those who are not automatically British and who is 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

  1. You have lived in the UK for the most recent five consecutive years, or three years if married to a UK citizen. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. If you are a commonwealth citizen, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship through the Windrush scheme.

Other prerequisites for British citizenship

  1. You are 18 years of age or above
  2. You meet the good character requirement
  3. You are of full (mental) capacity 
  4. You have strong intentions to stay in the UK after you naturalise
  5. You have passed the Life in the UK test
  6. 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

  1. You must check beforehand if your home country allows you to hold dual citizenship.
  2. You have checked the requirements for British citizenship.
  3. You use the correct application form.
  4. If this is a mandatory requirement, you must inform your home country that you are applying for British citizenship.

EU nationals with Settled Status

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, Slovakia and Slovenia are few EEA countries that do not, in general, permit dual nationality.

EEA full list of countries are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

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

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. Israel
  4. Pakistan
  5. Philippines
  6. Switzerland
  7. United States

Some countries that do not allow you to hold dual citizenship with the UK

  1. Andorra
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Burma/Myanmar
  4. Bahrain
  5. Botswana
  6. China
  7. India
  8. Japan
  9. Indonesia
  10. Iran
  11. Brunei
  12. Japan
  13. Kazakhstan
  14. Kiribati
  15. Kuwait
  16. North Korea
  17. Singapore
  18. Malaysia
  19. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  20. Nepal

The specific rules and any exceptions must be checked on a country-to-country basis.

Renouncing your British citizenship

If you are British citizen 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.

Multiple Citizenships

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). 

Once your British citizenship application is approved, you will be issued an approval email containing instructions for your Citizenship Ceremony. You must arrange a Citizenship Ceremony as early as possible. 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.

What is UK Dual Citizenship?

UK dual citizenship, also known as dual nationality, refers to the status of being a citizen of more than one country simultaneously. Under the law of the United Kingdom, an individual can hold citizenship of the UK as well as citizenship of another country. This means that dual citizenship is allowed under British law. Still, it is essential to note that various countries have different rules regarding dual citizenship and that it is an individual’s responsibility to comply with both country’s laws and regulations. It is also essential to consider the possible consequences before applying for dual citizenship, for example your future tax obligations, as a dual citizen. Hence, it is advisable to get help from a legal professional (such as an immigration solicitor) before applying for second nationality. 

What are the Benefits of UK Dual Citizenship?

UK dual citizenship has several quintessential benefits. It allows one to travel and live in both countries without restrictions. As a dual British Citizen, you will acquire the same rights as any other British citizen. Here are the following benefits of UK dual citizenship.

  • Dual citizenship allows you to apply for a British passport 
  • Dual citizenship gives to a Right of Residence in the UK – you can live, work and study freely
  • UK dual citizenship allows you to access public funds, and you will be eligible to use the national health service
  • British dual citizenship gives you the right to vote.

What are the Disadvantages of Dual British Citizenship?

British citizenship may have some disadvantages, as mentioned below.

  • Dual British citizens are not exempt from “double taxation”, for example if taxes are due overseas, by virtue of their other nationality
  • Dual British citizens are not exempted from military conscription if it is required by the government of their other nationality
  • Some countries may not recognise dual citizenship of their own nationals and may not permit entry to those who applied for British citizenship
  • Being a Dual Citizen may restrict your eligibility for some government jobs that require a higher level of security clearance. 

Benefits of British Citizenship

If you hold British Dual citizenship, it can provide various benefits, including:

  • The right to live, work and travel to and from the United Kingdom. 
  • You are also permitted to live and work in the Republic of Ireland with British Citizenship. 
  • Holding a British Dual citizenship, you are eligible to access government services and public funds, such as healthcare, education and welfare benefits.   
  • British Citizenship provides you with the right to vote in elections. 
  • Any child you have after you have acquired British Dual Citizenship will automatically be a British Citizen. 
  • Dual British citizenship provides you with many visa-free travel, business and investment opportunities. 

Does the USA Allow Dual Citizenship?

Yes, the United States allows dual citizenship, meaning that an individual can simultaneously hold citizenship of the UK and the USA. However, one should note that holding Dual British Citizenship (and being resident in the UK) does not necessarily exempt the Dual national from US income tax requirements.

What is Dual US and British Citizenship?

Dual US and British citizenship refers to the situation where an individual holds citizenship of both the United States and the United Kingdom at the same time. This is possible because both countries allow dual citizenship. For British citizens living in the US or US citizens living in the UK, they can apply for naturalisation in the other country and gain citizenship in that country if they meet the requirements. Children who are born to a Dual US-UK national may automatically acquire dual citizenship at birth.

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