If you are an expatriate living in the UK, you may wish to consider obtaining British nationality. Becoming a UK citizen means that you can come and go freely from the UK, vote, stand for public office and have access to the National Health Service (NHS). There are many advantages to becoming a British citizen. But what if you don’t want to give up your original nationality?
Obtaining dual nationality could be the solution. Here is the information you need to apply and how to obtain dual nationality with the UK.
Is it possible to have dual nationality in the UK?
You can have dual nationality in the UK if you meet all the requirements and apply. Your application must be approved before you can be considered for dual nationality in the UK.
But – and this is a big but – it can only work if your home country accepts dual nationality, and some do not. If this happens, you may be forced by the law in your home country to give up your original nationality to become a UK citizen.
Which countries allow dual nationality with the UK?
The laws concerning dual nationality are complex and if you are thinking about getting a second nationality you will need to seek legal help from an immigration lawyer.
Ultimately, whether you can obtain dual nationality in the UK depends partly on your country of origin. A number of countries do not accept dual nationality under any circumstances. If you come from one of these countries, you will not be able to claim UK citizenship with your original citizenship. Local law says that you will have to renounce your original nationality before you can become a British citizen. These countries are :
- the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Which major countries allow dual nationality with the United Kingdom?
Some countries allow dual nationality without any restrictions, while others have laws in place making dual nationality possible only with certain countries. In the case of the United Kingdom, some European countries allow dual nationality mainly for people wishing to obtain it in other European countries. Similarly, Pakistan has a limited number of countries accepting dual nationality, and the United Kingdom is one of them.
Some of the main countries accepting dual nationality with the United Kingdom include :
- the Philippines
- the United States
Is it possible to obtain triple nationality in the United Kingdom?
Triple citizenship, also known as multiple citizenship, is allowed in the United Kingdom. You do not have to renounce your previous nationalities when applying for UK citizenship and having other nationalities will not affect your application.
How many nationalities can I have?
There is no limit to the number of nationalities you can have under UK law. However, as many other countries prohibit dual nationality or impose limits on multiple citizenship, there is a limit to the number of citizenships a person can have.
How is it possible to lose British citizenship?
You may choose to give up your British citizenship if, for example, you wish to obtain the nationality of a country that does not allow dual nationality. You must be over 18 years old and of sound mind – renouncing your nationality means that you will no longer have the right to reside in the UK.
You can lose your nationality if you have been naturalised as British but lies have been discovered in your application. Although it is possible to lose your citizenship if you are a British citizen by birth, this is unusual and normally only happens if you are considered a threat to the security of the country. The Home Secretary may choose to take away your citizenship in this case.
What are the steps to becoming a UK citizen?
There are several steps to becoming a UK citizen – they are all listed on the UK government website.
Here is an overview of the steps to be completed:
- Make sure you meet all the criteria and qualify for British citizenship.
- Apply and submit all relevant documents and your proof of eligibility.
- Pay the fee – currently it is £1,282 to become a citizen by naturalisation.
- Provide biometric information – usually your fingerprints and a photo.
- You may be invited for an interview during which you will be asked to express yourself in English without an interpreter.
- You may have to attend a “Life in the UK” test depending on your situation.
- Assuming your application is approved, you will attend a citizenship ceremony.
- After this ceremony, you can return your biometric residence permit and apply for a UK passport.
How long does it take to become a British citizen?
You will have to meet fairly strict criteria before applying for British citizenship. One of these criteria is based on where you live and requires you to have lived in the UK for 5 years before you apply.
If you meet this criterion and send in your application, you will need to have an acknowledgement of receipt of your documents within approximately 4 weeks. The actual citizenship decision can take up to 6 months – sometimes longer if you need to provide further evidence or attend an interview.
If I obtain dual citizenship, do I have to inform both countries of this, or do the countries share the information?
The answer is short – it depends.
The UK allows dual nationality, so having another one is not a problem. However, it could become complicated if your home country does not allow dual nationality. It’s best to check with an immigration solicitor and your local consulate or embassy to find out whether you have an obligation to inform your home country of your intentions. Do this before you start the process of obtaining British citizenship to make sure you do not break the law.