Dual citizenship is also commonly referred to as dual nationality. It means that you legally hold the citizenship of two or more countries.
Dual citizenship is legal in the United Kingdom. While you have the citizenship of your home country, you can also apply for British citizenship as a second citizenship.
Each country has its own citizenship laws and not all countries allow dual citizenship. This blog looks at some aspects of dual citizenship, the eligibility criteria and the application process.
Check your status: do you qualify for dual citizenship?
There are several ways to obtain British citizenship. Some people receive citizenship automatically at birth, while others can register for citizenship. Those who do not automatically receive British citizenship and cannot naturalize have the option of applying for citizenship through a naturalization process.
British citizenship, acquired through the naturalization process, allows you to enjoy the same health care, employment and social security benefits as any other British citizen.
To apply for naturalization, you must meet the mandatory requirements,
Requirements for British citizenship
- You have lived in the United Kingdom for the last five consecutive years, or three years if you are married to a British citizen.
- You must be free of immigration restrictions and have held that status for at least 12 months, either through indefinite leave to remain or through EU citizen status, unless you are married to a British citizen, in which case you must be free of immigration restrictions at the time of application.
- You have been physically present in the UK for exactly five years prior to applying for British citizenship (or three years if you are married to a British citizen) and can prove your presence in the UK.
- You have complied with the 90-day rule, meaning you have not been outside the UK for more than 90 days in the last 12 months.
- You have not been in the UK for more than 450 days in the last five years of residence, or more than 270 days in the last three years if you are married to a UK citizen.
- If you are a Commonwealth citizen, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship through the Windrush program.
Other requirements for British citizenship
- You are 18 years of age or older
- You meet the requirements for good character
- You have full legal capacity
- You have a firm intention to remain in the United Kingdom after naturalization
- You have passed the test for living in the United Kingdom
- You are proficient in English at B1 level and have the correct evidence to prove your level of English, such as a degree taught or researched in English.
Important points to consider when applying for British citizenship.
- You must find out beforehand if your home country allows dual citizenship.
- You have read up on the requirements for British citizenship.
- You are using the correct application form.
- You must inform your home country that you are applying for British citizenship if it is mandatory.
Dual citizenship status of EU citizens.
Your citizenship will not be affected if you apply for settled status as an EU citizen. Settled status is not the same as citizenship.
A European citizen with settled status in the EU or indefinite leave to remain may not have an immediate desire to apply for British citizenship. However, if they change their mind, they will need to ensure that they meet all the requirements for naturalization if they choose to do so.