British Citizenship or Dual Citizenship
Making the decision to apply to become a British citizen is a major step but did you know that you might have more than one choice? Potentially you could retain your nationality of origin and obtain dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality). Dual nationality means that you acquire British citizenship whilst keeping your original nationality. The option of dual nationality can be very attractive to some people who are exploring the option of making a British naturalisation application. In this blog we look at the question 'how many citizenships can you have in UK?' and whether dual nationality is the ‘best of both worlds’ and your best option.
British Citizenship solicitors
Whether you are looking at making a British Citizenship application or want to explore the option of dual nationality, losing or acquiring a nationality is a major step in your life so it is best to get expert legal advice from British citizenship solicitors .
Immigration and British Citizenship experts can advise you on whether you are eligible to make a British naturalisation application and if you have the choice of securing dual nationality. For help and advice call the British Citizenship team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
Dual nationality and does the UK allow triple citizenship?
Many applicants for British Citizenship haven’t heard of the option of dual nationality. Those British naturalisation applicants who have heard of dual nationality are often very disappointed if a British Citizenship solicitor advises them that, in their situation, dual nationality is either not an option or it isn’t, for strategic or financial reasons, the best option for them.
Dual nationality may not be a potential option for you as your country of origin (or country of adopted nationality) may not allow it. In the UK you can have dual nationality with any country that permits it. In other words, the UK doesn’t restrict dual nationality to countries where it has close ties or relationships.
If you are interested in making a British citizenship application but are concerned about losing your nationality of origin or your adopted nationality you should first of all check with a British Citizenship solicitor whether it is possible to have dual nationality in your country of origin or adopted country.
It is important to check on dual nationality at an early stage of the British Citizenship application process because so many countries don’t allow dual nationality and that might affect your decision on whether or not to apply for British Citizenship.
How do I find out if dual nationality is an option for me?
To find out if dual nationality is an option you should check with:
- A British Citizenship solicitor or
- Your country of origin or your adopted countries UK consulate or embassy.
Be aware of the limitations of checking if you have the option of dual nationality by making an online search. That is because countries can change their policy on dual nationality. For example, for years Norway didn’t allow dual nationality but their rules on dual nationality changed on the 1 January 2020.
British Citizenship solicitors
Can you have three citizenships in the UK?
With the talk of dual nationality and references to your country of origin and/or your adopted country, you may ask whether, if you already have dual nationality, you can acquire a third nationality. This is known as multiple citizenship rather than triple citizenship.
Multiple citizenship is permitted in the UK. The fact that the UK permits multiple citizenship doesn’t necessarily mean the multiple citizenship or even dual nationality is in your best interests.
After taking detailed legal advice from a British Citizenship solicitor as well as tax and financial advice you may find that your best option is to secure British Citizenship and renounce your other nationality or nationalities.
EU citizens and dual nationality
The future of EU citizens living and working in the UK is a regular feature in the news headlines because of Brexit. The UK decision to leave the EU has raised the question of whether the best option for EU citizens who want to continue to live in the UK after Brexit and the end of free movement but without Immigration control is to apply for British Citizenship and secure dual nationality. That way they remain in the EU by virtue of dual nationality as well as getting the benefit of being a British citizen.
The first thing to say is that EU citizens don’t have to apply for British Citizenship in order to be able to continue to live and work in the UK free from Immigration control after Brexit provided that they apply for:
- Pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or
If you want to get Settled Status quickly you can apply for Settled Status using the OTS Solicitors same day Settled Status application service.
EU citizens should not feel pressurised into having to decide whether to apply for British Citizenship or seek dual nationality, as Settled Status or permanent residence will give them the right to live and work in the UK post Brexit. However, many are choosing to make their British Citizenship application now.
If you are an EU citizen living in the UK and you either have Settled Status or permanent residence you may want to think about applying for British Citizenship (with or without dual nationality) because if you are not a British citizen, you can only leave the UK for five years without losing your Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
British citizenship solicitors are reporting a massive rise in British Citizenship enquiries from EU nationals because Brexit has made them question where ‘home’ is and whether they should make a British naturalisation application because the future, and that of their family, lies in the UK.
The benefits of British Citizenship
British Citizenship doesn’t just give you the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely and to leave the UK without restriction. It also gives you:
- The right to apply for a British passport
- The right to vote
- The protection of being a British citizen if you are travelling abroad (but there are limits to this protection if you are a dual national).
The benefits of British Citizenship and the option of dual nationality have to be weighed up on an individual basis. That is because everyone’s priorities are different and some are more reluctant than others to lose their nationality of origin or adopted nationality for sentimental or other reasons.
British Citizenship without dual nationality
If you opt for British nationality without dual nationality (either because your country of origin or adopted country doesn’t allow dual nationality or doesn’t allow multiple nationality or because you don’t want to retain your old nationality) then you may find that:
- You won't be able to keep your old nationality passport
- You may need a visa or entry clearance to work in your country of origin or adopted country
- You may be classed as a ‘foreigner’ in your country of origin or previously adopted country and therefore not legally be allowed to own property
- If you decide to return to live in your country of origin or your adopted country, you may need to make an Immigration application and that may be refused. Alternatively, they may reject an application by you for citizenship in your old country, even if you say that you will relinquish your British Citizenship.
Dual nationality and travelling abroad
If dual nationality is an option for you because your country of origin or your adopted country allows dual nationality then you should consider the impact of dual nationality on travelling abroad from the UK.
If you are a British citizen, you can expect diplomatic and embassy help if you get into trouble overseas (for example you lose your passport or are caught up in a natural disaster).
If you have dual nationality you won't be able to get diplomatic or embassy help if you are in the country where you hold dual or multiple citizenship. This may not be a concern if you are a national of an EU country but you may think it is a major worry if there is political unrest or upheaval in your country of origin or in your adopted country.
Dual nationality and the financial and tax considerations
If dual nationality is an option for you it is best to take financial and legal advice before making a final decision on the best option for you. For example, if you hold dual nationality your country of origin or adopted country may impose tax burdens on you or prevent ownership of property. That is why it pays to get advice so you make the right decision for your circumstances.
Do I get dual nationality on marriage to a UK citizen?
and after you have been in the UK for at least three years. You also have to meet all the other eligibility criteria for a British naturalisation application under section 6(2) of the British nationality Act 1981.
You don’t have to apply for British Citizenship if you are married to a British citizen in order to stay in the UK. That is because you can stay in the UK on an indefinite basis if you secure permanent residence, Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, you may prefer to obtain British Citizenship and when considering your British naturalisation application it is best to explore the option of dual nationality, especially as this may have an impact on your future children and their dual nationality options.
How do I apply for dual nationality?
If you decide that you want British Citizenship then you will need to make a British naturalisation application. The application is exactly the same whether or not you are intending to relinquish your other nationality or if you are planning on holding dual nationality or multiple nationality.
If you are a national of a country that does not allow dual nationality, then your country of origin may regard you as having lost your nationality by virtue of your acquisition of British Citizenship. If you are a national of a country that does allow dual nationality you may need to formally relinquish your nationality of origin in order to avoid being a dual national.
Getting dual nationality wrong could have massive consequences for you so if you are interested in making a British naturalisation application it is best to check your nationality options and work out what is best for you prior to submitting your British Citizenship application.
British Citizenship solicitors
If you are thinking about becoming British by applying for British Citizenship it is best to take expert Immigration law advice from British Citizenship solicitors on your Immigration and citizenship options and how best to secure British nationality.
OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law and British nationality. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the leading law directories, Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors also have Law Society accredited solicitor status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.