Dual Nationality

What is Dual Nationality?

Dual nationality (also known as dual citizenship), is where an individual enjoys two (or more) nationalities. An individual with dual nationality is born with citizenship in one country, and may then acquire another nationality by choice. The rules on dual citizenship vary from country to country.

Is Dual Nationality Allowed in the United Kingdom?

Dual nationality is allowed in the United Kingdom. This means that once you acquire British citizenship, you do not risk losing your original nationality (unlike elsewhere in the world). However, there may be problems if your country of original citizenship does not recognize dual citizenship. You may be regarded by that country as having renounced your first nationality upon acquiring British citizenship; alternatively, the authorities from your home country may refuse to recognise your second, UK nationality.

For these reasons, if you are considering applying for British citizenship, it is vital to make enquiries with the authorities of your home country as to the potential implications should you obtain British citizenship.

Advantages of Dual Nationality

Political Rights

As part of the UK community, you will have the right to engage in public life. This means you may exercise your political rights as a British citizen, including voting (and being voted for) in the UK national elections and elections for the European Parliament.

Right of Abode

A British citizen with dual nationality status enjoys the same rights and privileges as all citizens of UK This includes the right to reside in UK permanently, including the right to leave and re-enter the country at any time.

As a British citizen, you are encouraged to be a productive member of UK society and this means that you will help contribute to the UK economy by joining the labour force.

British Passport

Acquiring British citizenship allows you the privilege of acquiring a British passport. A British passport is, in fact, a passport of the European Union giving you access to other EU countries – without the burden of visa applications and fees.

European Union Access

As well as the right to travel, you will also have access to residential, educational, and employment opportunities in EU member states.

Disadvantages of Dual Nationality

International laws restrain the exercise of dual citizenship. The UK Government, for instance, does not have power to give you diplomatic help when you are in your home country.

To ensure your status and protection, contact the authorities at your national country while in the UK and enquire if your newly acquired citizenship has substantially affected your original nationality. Do this before making any travel arrangements to visit your home country.

Applying for Dual Citizenship

If you are a foreign national and wish to acquire British citizenship, you must undergo the standard application process. The guidelines are available on the UK Government web site.

Article written by...
Nicola Laver LLB
Nicola Laver LLB

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A non-practising solicitor, Nicola is also a fully qualified journalist. For the past 20 years, she has worked as a legal journalist, editor and author.