An individual may wish to give up their UK citizenship or nationality in order to become a citizen of another country. In most cases it is possible to retain British citizenship when acquiring the nationality of a second country. However, some countries do not allow their citizens to hold dual nationality.
The article below examines the circumstances in which an individual may be able to give up their British citizenship or nationality.
The Test for Giving up Citizenship or Nationality
In order to give up British citizenship or nationality an individual must:
- Already have the citizenship or nationality of another country or be due to acquire it upon giving up his or her British status;
- Be at least 18 years old or be married;
- Be of sound mind – generally this means that an individual has the mental capacity to make their own decisions. For the purposes of an application to renounce nationality it means that the applicant understands the implications of giving up their nationality.
Applications may be made by someone else on behalf of someone who is not “of sound mind”. An application made on this basis could still succeed if it is considered to be in the individual’s best interest to renounce their British nationality. The person completing the form on their behalf will have to explain why it would be in the applicant’s best interest to give up their British nationality.
If an application to give up British citizenship or nationality is successful the applicant will receive a declaration of renunciation confirming their new status.
Applying to Give up UK Citizenship or Nationality
An application to give up citizenship or nationality is made using form RN. In some cases an individual may hold more than one type of British nationality at the same time. If this is the case, each type of nationality will have to be given up. More than one type of nationality may be included on the form at the same time.
The Application Form
The form comes in two parts – most of the information contained on the form is repeated in both parts. If the application is successful the second part of the form will be signed, stamped and returned to the applicant, becoming the formal declaration of renunciation. The first part of the form must be countersigned either by:
- someone who is over the age of 18 and can confirm that the applicant is of sound mind; or, if the applicant is not of sound mind,
- someone with responsibility for the applicant, who must also explain why it is in the applicant’s best interest for them to renounce their nationality.
Together with the form, applicants must also send in documents which prove both that they currently have some form of British nationality to give up and that they have, or will have, another citizenship or nationality if they give up their British nationality. Applicants who are under the age of 18 but who qualify to renounce their nationality due to marriage should also send in proof that they are married.
Applications to give up most forms of British citizenship are made to the British Home Office and forms completed by applicants in the UK should be returned to the UK Border Agency. In order to give up most types of British nationality a fee must be paid. The fee to give up British citizenship and / or most other types of British nationality was £395 as at September 2009. Applications to give up more than one type of nationality at the same time are only charged one fee. There is no fee for an application to give up the status of British National (Overseas).
Giving Up British Nationality Before Becoming the Citizen of Another Country
The declaration of renunciation will show the date on which the applicant ceased to be a British national. If the applicant has not yet become the citizen or national of another country when they make their application the declaration of renunciation will, in effect, be conditional upon them acquiring another nationality. If this has not happened within 6 months of the declaration being registered, the declaration will be void and the applicant will remain a British citizen or national.