Dual citizenship in the United Kingdom is a hot topic for those who wish to hold two passports and enjoy the benefits of each country. Dual nationality in the UK enables an individual to possess citizenship from two different countries, while being entitled to all the benefits and obligations of either nation they belong to.
However, navigating the complex legal requirements and documentation needed to become a British dual citizen can be challenging. Seeking the guidance of expert immigration lawyers in London, such as Sterling Law, can help you avoid application rejection and maximise your chances for success.
Our team of highly qualified immigration solicitors has a vast experience in helping individuals tackle the intricate process of obtaining UK dual citizenship and achieve their immigration goals. Our lawyers can provide comprehensive assistance in your pursuit of British citizenship, while also ensuring that your home country legally recognizes your status as a UK dual-national.
What Is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship is a situation when an individual possesses two passports and holds citizenship in two separate countries simultaneously. This is also referred to as double or dual nationality.
Each country establishes its own rules regarding the possibility of holding two citizenships at once, and dual nationality is a complex aspect of the nationality law.
Many foreigners would like to know “Does the UK allow dual citizenship?” Fortunately, the United Kingdom allows dual citizenship. When an individual becomes a British citizen, they can still preserve their original citizenship. Similarly, British nationals, who are seeking foreign citizenship, are not mandated to give up their UK citizenship.
However, both the United Kingdom and the person’s home country must permit dual citizenship, so that this person can securely become a British dual national. This is so because the possibility of holding multiple citizenships is not legal everywhere.
If a person desires to acquire British dual nationality, the procedure will involve filing an application for naturalisation as a British citizen, since there is no standalone application for obtaining UK dual citizenship.
When applying for citizenship, individuals are free to choose to retain their original citizenship status from their native country.
How Can You Benefit from Dual Citizenship?
Having dual nationality offers a plethora of benefits, including access to all the privileges and rights that come with both citizenships. The outstanding advantage of having dual citizenship is the right to reside and travel within both countries without any legal limitations.
British dual nationals are entitled to all the same rights as other British citizens, such as the ability to live, study, and work in the United Kingdom indefinitely. Also, you can apply for a British passport to travel in and out of the country without restriction, vote in all UK elections, stand for election, and access public funds and the National Health System.
Does Dual Citizenship Have Any Disadvantages?
Apart from benefits, a dual nationality also implies holding obligations of both countries. For instance, you may be liable for double taxation, and you must abide by the laws of either nation that you hold citizenship in.
Double citizenship can also become a serious concern for those who wish to serve in both of their countries’ militaries. This can lead to conflicting loyalties and obligations, making it difficult to fulfil the requirements of both services simultaneously. During times of conflict or war, individuals with dual citizenship may have to choose which military they will serve in, potentially causing tension with one of their countries.
Conflicts of interest can also arise as a negative aspect of dual citizenship when an individual’s loyalty and interests are divided between two countries. In situations where the interests of the two countries are at odds, the individual may face a dilemma of which country to support. This can create a conflict of interest that affects decision-making and compromises the individual’s integrity.
If you happen to hold citizenship in two countries, it’s important to note that seeking diplomatic assistance from one government while you’re physically in the other is not always possible. Take, for instance, if you are both a British and a Japanese citizen; in this case, you won’t be able to turn to the UK for diplomatic help while you’re in Japan.
How Many Passports Can You Have?
In the United Kingdom, there is no limit to the number of citizenships (and passports) a person can hold as a UK national. As such, you can be a dual, triple, and even quadruple passport holder.
Which countries allow dual citizenship?
There are many countries that allow dual citizenship. Some of them include:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
This list is not complete and may alternate according to the changes in immigration laws of different jurisdictions. Notably, each country will have specific restrictions or requirements for dual citizenship, so it is important to research the specific laws and regulations of each area. If you do not know whether your country allows or prohibits multiple nationalities, consider talking to an immigration solicitor before applying for dual British citizenship.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements For Dual Citizenship in The UK?
To obtain a British double citizenship, a candidate must fulfil certain eligibility requirements. Before proceeding with an application process, a person must make sure that their home country permits dual nationalities and allows for retaining an original citizenship. The UK dual citizenship is received through naturalisation.
The eligibility conditions to naturalise as a UK citizen look like the following:
- Residing in Great Britain for at least 5 years and having settled status. To be eligible, you will need to have resided in the United Kingdom for a minimum of five years and hold settled status. Essentially, this means that you have obtained permanent residency and have unrestricted rights to reside and be employed in the UK without any immigration barriers.
- Passing the “Life in the UK” test. Candidates must also successfully pass the “Life in the UK” Test that aims to evaluate your knowledge of British history, politics, and culture. It is a multiple-choice test that consists of 24 questions and lasts for 45 minutes.
- Meeting the English language criterion. You must be able to understand and speak English fluently. To fulfil this requirement, you can undergo an authorized English language examination or possess a degree that was taught in English.
- Having a good character. That is also among the eligibility requirements for the UK double citizenship. This means that you must have a clean criminal record and be of good temper. The UK government will conduct a thorough background check to ensure that you meet this condition.
It should be emphasised that not all countries permit you to maintain your current citizenship when you start applying for a British citizenship. Moreover, some locations only recognise dual citizenship with specific other territories. As a result, whether or not you must renounce your original citizenship to become a UK citizen is determined by the laws of your home country.
How to Apply For Dual Citizenship in the UK?
Becoming a British citizen for foreigners is typically achieved through a process known as “naturalization.” However, before launching into the application process, it’s important to assess whether you’re eligible to become a citizen. For instance, a crucial requirement is that you have legal permission to stay in the UK until the point you’re granted citizenship. You must ensure that this permission remains valid until completion of your citizenship ceremony.
Depending on a person’s circumstances, there are several routes to take when seeking double citizenship in Great Britain. Individuals can apply if they:
- hold Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR);
- have a British parent;
- are a spouse or civil partner of a British citizen living in the UK for the last 3 years;
- have “settled status” under the EU Settlement Scheme;
- have a parent with British overseas territories citizenship;
- are a a Chagossian descendant or a Commonwealth citizen;
- previously gave up their citizenship or are currently stateless.
The Home Office is the government authority that handles immigration matters in the United Kingdom, including citizenship applications. If you are interested in securing dual citizenship in the UK, you should visit the authority’s official website and apply online.
A step-by-step guide on applying for dual citizenship in the UK looks like the following:
- Check your eligibility. If you’re aiming to become an English citizen and acquire dual citizenship, you must have resided in the UK for a minimum of five years (or three years if married to a British citizen). Also, you have to be above the age of 18, without any severe criminal records, and fulfil the criteria of English proficiency together with knowledge about life in the UK.
- Gather the required documents. After you have determined that you qualify for British double citizenship, you will need to collect the required documents. This will depend on your circumstances, but typically includes proof of identity, residency status, employment status, and other documentation that supports your application.
- Fill out the application. Once you have gathered the required documents, you will need to complete an application for dual citizenship. The application can be found on the Home Office website. Make sure to fill out the application accurately and completely, and pay the required fee. The current fee for naturalisation is £1,330. You can pay online or by post.
- Submit your application. A completed application must be submitted to the Home Office. You can submit the application online or by mail. The Home Office will review your application and may request additional documentation if necessary.
- Attend the appointment. After submitting your application, you will be invited to attend a biometric appointment where your fingerprints and photograph will be taken. You will need to bring your passport and other supporting documents.
- Attend a citizenship ceremony. If your application for the UK dual citizenship is approved, you may be required to attend a citizenship ceremony. The citizenship ceremony is a special event that confirms your citizenship and welcomes you as a new citizen of the United Kingdom.
- Receive your certificate of dual citizenship. After the citizenship ceremony, you will receive a certificate of dual citizenship. You are now a citizen of both the UK and your home country, and can fully enjoy all the rights and privileges that dual citizenship offers.
How Can We Help?
At Sterling Law, our team of immigration lawyers in London have extensive experience in assisting both migrants in the UK and British nationals in obtaining double or multiple citizenships. We offer a range of services which include:
- a review of your current immigration status in the UK;
- explaining your options for obtaining dual citizenship;
- identifying any UK or foreign country rules that may hinder your chances of obtaining dual citizenship;
- providing solutions to overcome any barriers in your process of acquiring a British dual citizenship;
- applying for dual citizenship and dealing with the Home Office on your behalf;
- representing you in appeals, administrative reviews, and judicial reviews to maximize your chances of success in securing British dual citizenship.
At Sterling Law, we understand the importance of ensuring your eligibility and the acceptance of your dual-national status with your home country before submitting your application. Our immigration lawyers are well-versed in handling British dual nationality applications. You can work with a dedicated lawyer who will guide you through each step of the process. We will assist you in gathering and organising the necessary evidence in a way that aligns with the Home Office’s requirements. You can also rely on us to manage the entire application process and communicate with the Home Office on your behalf. Trust us to help you achieve your British dual nationality goals.