For many people connected to the UK, the idea of dual citizenship has become a more significant consideration in light of Brexit. Having enjoyed the freedom of movement around the EU, many UK citizens have spent time living, working and have even settled down in other EU countries. Likewise, many EU citizens have come to the UK for the same reasons.
Given the uncertainty of the future of free movement across the UK, many people have therefore looked at obtaining dual citizenship, either from an EU country if they are UK citizens or in the UK if they are an EU citizen. But, what are the implications of dual citizenship?
Understanding dual citizenship in the UK
The UK does allow dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality), which means that a person can be a citizen of the UK, as well as another country. This is recognised in the UK and does not negate UK citizenship.
Do you need to declare dual citizenship?
If a British citizen wishes to gain dual citizenship by becoming a foreign citizen, they do not need to apply for dual citizenship - they simply apply for their foreign citizenship and retain their British citizenship.
Someone with foreign citizenship that wishes to gain UK citizenship must follow the relevant procedure to gain UK citizenship (see our article on How to apply for UK Citizenship).
Travelling with dual citizenship
It is worth noting that when you are travelling to the country where you hold dual citizenship, the UK cannot offer diplomatic help to encounter any difficulties in that country. You would be required to gain assistance directly from that country since you are regarded as a citizen.
What happens when you marry a British citizen?
The fact that a person is married to a UK citizen does not automatically make them a UK citizen and they would need to apply for UK citizenship as the spouse of a British citizen. However, in some countries, a married person automatically gains their partner's nationality, as do any children born to a parent of that nationality (even if abroad) and this can have an impact on citizenship depending on the country's view on dual nationality. You should check with the consulate or high commission of that country in the UK to determine what the law is.
Do other countries accept dual citizenship?
There has been a surge of applications to EU countries by UK citizens who want to retain their EU citizenship. Although the UK does allow dual citizenship, not all countries allow it. Certain EU countries do recognise dual citizenship, such as Ireland, Italy, Belgium, France and Portugal.
However, several countries such as Austria, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands and Estonia either do not allow dual citizenship or have limits on who can apply. So if you wish to gain dual citizenship with one of these countries, you must obtain specialist legal advice on your options.
Other countries such as China, India, Japan, Singapore and the UAE do not allow dual citizenship in any circumstances. So those wishing to become a citizen of those countries have to renounce any other citizenship.
Contact our Immigration Lawyers in London
Dual citizenship has an international aspect and can be a complicated area of law that can even impact on your status as a UK citizen. It is, therefore, vitally important that you take specialist advice before you begin the process.
Our specialist team can guide and assist you using a wealth of experience dealing with such applications. We pride ourselves in giving clear and reliable advice on all immigration matters and will tailor our guidance to your circumstances. Please get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 020 3972 9011 to see how we can help you.