What is dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship, commonly referred to as dual nationality, is when an individual holds two citizenships concurrently. Dual citizenship is a complex part of nationality law as each country has their own laws regarding it.
Dual citizenship is permitted in the UK, when you become a British citizen you can retain your original citizenship and British citizens applying for foreign citizenship are not required to renounce their British citizenship.
However, to hold British dual citizenship both the UK and the other country must permit it as multiple citizenship is not legal in all foreign countries.
To become a British dual national you must apply to naturalise as a British citizen, there is not a separate application for dual citizenship. When applying for citizenship you can opt to retain your current citizenship status from your home country.
Who is eligible for dual citizenship?
You can be eligible for British dual citizenship providing that you meet the requirements for becoming a British citizen and that your original country permits you to retain your citizenship. To be eligible to naturalise as a British citizen you must:
- Have lived in the UK for at least 5 years
- Have settled status in the UK
- Pass the Life in the UK Test
- Meet the English language requirement
- Meet the good character requirement
The exact requirements will vary depending on your circumstances.
It’s important to note that not all countries allow you to retain your original citizenship when becoming a British citizen and some countries only allow you to be a dual national of other certain countries. This means that depending on the laws of your original country you may be required to renounce your original citizenship in order to become a British citizen.
Which countries allow dual citizenship?
Other countries have their own nationality laws when it comes whether their citizens are permitted to hold dual citizenship but there are many countries that do allow dual citizenship with the UK, just a few include:
- United States
If you’re unsure whether your country permits dual citizenship then you should check with an immigration lawyer before making an application.
Which countries don't allow dual citizenship?
Some countries do not allow dual citizenship with any country and some only allow it for specified countries. Some examples of countries that do not permit British dual citizenship include:
- United Arab Emirates
These countries require you to give up your citizenship if you intend to apply for British citizenship.
The benefits of dual nationality
Being a dual citizen means that you will get the benefits that come with both of your citizenships. The main benefit to obtaining dual citizenship is that it will give you the right to live and travel between both countries.
As a British dual national you will have the same rights as any other British citizen, including the right to:
- Live, work and study in the UK permanently
- Apply for a British passport to travel freely in and out of the UK
- Vote in all UK elections
- Stand for office
- Access public funds and the NHS
Whilst being a dual citizen comes with many benefits it’s important to note that as a dual nation you could potentially be subject to double taxation and you must abide by the laws of both countries.
How to apply for British nationality
Naturalisation is the process used by most foreign nationals who wish to become a British citizens. You can apply for citizenship either online or by post.
The application process is complex, as well as completing the application form you will need to provide a substantial portfolio of evidence to prove that you meet the requirements, this includes:
- Your Biometric Residence Permit if you have one
- A national identity document
- Evidence that you meet the English language requirement such as your SELT certificate
- Evidence of your continuous residence in the UK
- Evidence that you have passed the Life in the UK Test
You will also need to provide two eligible referees to prove your identity.
If your application is approved then you will be required to attend a British citizenship ceremony.
The application process for British citizenship is difficult to navigate alone and even the smallest mistake could result in your application being refused. It is highly advised that you seek the assistance of an immigration professional when it comes to your British citizenship application.
How can IAS help?
Our highly-experienced team of lawyers will support you in applying for British citizenship. We will make sure that you are eligible and that your home country will still accept your status as a dual-national before you apply.
Our immigration lawyers are highly experienced in making British dual nationality applications. We can assign you a lawyer who can work with you through each step of the British dual nationality application process. They will help you source and gather your evidence, into a bundle that suits the Home Office’s processing methods. They will also oversee your entire application process, liaising with the Home Office on your behalf.
As part of our application services, your lawyer will also write an in-depth Letter of Representation that supports your application. This letter will argue your case directly to the Home Office, strengthening your application. Alongside this, they will also prepare you for the compulsory ‘Life in the UK’ test and your English Language test to put you in the best possible position for a positive result.
If you need support, you can get in touch with our London, Manchester, or Birmingham immigration lawyers, or alternatively, use the office finder to find the closest branch to you. Contact us now on 0333 363 8577 or use our online contact form to speak with an immigration lawyer and help you take your first steps towards gaining Dual Citizenship in the UK.
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In order to be eligible to make a successful application for Dual Citizenship in the UK, you will need to have lived in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain for five years.
As with an application for full British Citizenship, an application to gain British Dual Nationality in the UK will also require the applicant to complete and pass a ‘Life in the UK’ test. You must also meet the English Language requirements, proving that you can communicate in English to a competent level.
If you want to gain British Citizenship for a child born abroad, there are certain processes which you must go through.
You do not need to renounce your existing citizenship as many countries will let you have Dual Nationality when you apply for British Citizenship. If you are a national of a country that does not allow this, your country of origin may regard you as having lost your existing nationality or refuse to recognise your new nationality. If you are currently a British Citizen you will not normally lose this status if you become the citizen of another country unless the new country requires you to give up your British Nationality.
This is something that many applicants are unaware of and often forget to check before they undergo the application process. If you are in any doubt before you apply for UK Citizenship, our team of expert lawyers are available to assist you with any queries or concerns you might have.
The ‘Life in the UK test‘ is an official government service required to prove that you have the appropriate knowledge of UK life. It includes questions about the history of Britain, current UK affairs, and personal questions and you must pass it in order to be granted British Dual Nationality.
The ‘Life in the UK’ test is a separate requirement to the English language requirements which you must also meet in order to be granted Dual Citizenship UK.
confirming that you have adequate documentation for your application;
preparing a Letter of Representation to be submitted with your application;
liaising with the Home Office throughout your application; and
ensuring that each part of your application form is completed to the highest standard by one of our lawyers.
We can also help you prepare for your Life in the UK test and ensure that you are ready for your English Language test. This will allow you the maximum chances of success. Get in touch with one of our immigration lawyers on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online and make your first steps towards becoming a British Dual Citizen.