Understanding Legalities Around Dual Citizenship and Residency in the UK

There are certain privileges you can only enjoy if you are physically in the UK. For instance, accessing the National Health Service, participating in official lottery draws (unless you buy international lottery tickets online), and enjoying legal protection and social service benefits require you to be within the UK. So, if you want to enjoy such privileges, your best option is to acquire British citizenship.

In this write-up, we’ll be looking at the legalities around dual citizenship in the UK, highlighting the concept of dual citizenship in the country, the benefits of being a dual citizen in the UK, and ways you can acquire British citizenship. Read on!

The Concept of Dual Citizenship in the UK

Possessing a door citizenship means you hold two citizenships of two different countries at the same time. Essentially, the person with dual citizenship enjoys the benefits of each country.

However, you must meet certain requirements, including tax rules, to obtain dual citizenship in most countries. So, what are the benefits of holding dual citizenship in the UK?

Benefits of Having a Dual Citizenship in the UK

With dual citizenship in the UK, you can;

  1. Access social service systems both in the UK and in the other country.
  2. Study, work, and live in either of the two countries.
  3. Vote both in the UK and in the other country.
  4. Own property in both countries.

Ways You Can Get a Dual Citizenship in the UK

Here are three ways you can obtain British citizenship: 

  • By birth: A child born in the UK attains British citizenship automatically. However, for it to happen, your parents must be British citizens either by birth or settlement.
  • By marriage or civil partnership: In this case, you must have lived with your partner/spouse in the UK for three or more years. You must also prove that you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, both of which must be held for 12 months. Note that, for it to happen, you must be above 18 years old, pass the English test requirements, meet the absence requirement, and pass the Life in the UK test.
  • If you are born abroad to a British parent: You can also acquire British citizenship if you are born abroad to a British father or mother. In this case, you’ll have the right to live in the UK for the rest of your life and enjoy benefits like study, work, use of the NHS, or claim benefits.

Drawbacks of Holding Dual Citizenship in the UK

The major drawback of holding two nationalities is double taxation. Both countries may subject you to both of their taxation laws.

Besides, you must also comply with the laws in both countries, which sometimes may be conflicting. Lastly, as a dual citizen, you may fail to receive diplomatic assistance from the UK government if you are in the other country. 

How You Can Lose Your British Citizenship

If you are found to have lied during your British citizenship application, you can lose the privilege of becoming a UK citizen.

Besides, British nationals by birth can lose their citizenship if the government considers them a threat to national security.

Lastly, you can lose your British citizenship if the country you want to apply citizenship to doesn’t allow dual nationality. In this case, you must be 18 years and above and be of sound mind to renounce your British citizenship.

Major Countries That Don’t Allow Dual Citizenship with the UK

Several major countries don’t allow dual citizenship with the UK, regardless of the circumstances. In that case, taking another country’s citizenship means you have to give up your nationality in these countries. They include:

  • Thailand
  • Afghanistan
  • China
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Singapore
  • Japan
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia

The Cost of Acquiring Dual Citizenship in the UK

Mostly, people seeking British citizenship do so through naturalisation. As of 2024, naturalisation citizenship applicants were required to pay £1500 plus an additional £80 for the citizenship ceremony.

Besides, the English test will cost you around £150, which you’ll be required to pay again if you fail and want to take another one. You will also be required to pay Life in the UK test, which costs around £50. This test assesses your knowledge of British history, culture, and etiquette.

Lastly, you may need to book an appointment to collect your biometric data, which costs between £0-£300.

Final Thought

You’ll be able to enjoy a lot of benefits if you hold a UK citizenship. This includes visiting up to 152 countries without requiring a visa, studying, working, and owning property in the UK, as well as accessing the British social services system.

However, ensure you consult with an immigration lawyer before you apply for British citizenship. The lawyer will take you through the application process and help you understand the requirements better so you can weigh your options.