One way of acquiring dual nationality in the United Kingdom is through ‘naturalisation’, a process which involves having lived in the United Kingdom for a certain period of time. At present, it is relatively straightforward for EU nationals to acquire British nationality through this method, though it requires that EU nationals are ‘settled’, or have permanent residence, in the United Kingdom at the time of application. Whilst the United Kingdom is still a member of the European Union, the Treaty rights of EU nationals with dual nationality will not be affected – and a reciprocal agreement to protect the rights of both UK and EU citizens with dual nationality will surely form part of the Brexit negotiations.
Dual Nationality of EU citizens living in the UK
The United Kingdom currently recognises dual nationality applicants from anywhere in the world, and does not place restrictions on who may or may not acquire British nationality. Similarly, the United Kingdom does not require dual nationality applicants to relinquish their previous nationality, and those who hold dual nationality in the United Kingdom are able to take part in public life by voting in national elections and have the same rights and privileges as other British nationals, making an application for EU and British dual nationality an attractive proposition. Nationals of EU Member States are currently able to acquire British nationality after continuously residing in the United Kingdom for a period of six years or more.
For as long as the United Kingdom remains a member of the European Union, an EU national who has acquired EU and British dual nationality will be able to continue to enjoy their Treaty rights in the United Kingdom. Once Brexit has been enacted, however, and the United Kingdom exits the European Union, there is the distinct possibility that the EU and British dual national will lose and be unable to exercise their Treaty rights in the United Kingdom. This is a worrisome time for both EU nationals living in the United Kingdom and British nationals in Europe; but whether Brexit results in the total loss or annihilation of Treaty rights remains to be seen, especially as the European courts are not in the habit of removing rights that had previously been enjoyed under European law.
Dual Nationality of UK Citizens living in the EU
As in the case of the United Kingdom, the majority of EU Member States also accept dual nationality, though there are some exceptions. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia do not accept dual nationality at all, and expect any nationality applicants to relinquish their current nationality entirely. The Netherlands and Austria also require applicants to relinquish their nationality, unless they fall under certain exceptions, rendering naturalisation in those Member States less attractive, as it would lead to the loss or annihilation of rights enjoyed under the applicant’s previous nationality.
The vast majority of British expats living in Europe are resident in Spain, where naturalisation rules will almost certainly be affected by Brexit. Currently, Spain recognises dual nationality with EU Member States and countries with which it has a specific connection, such Andorra, Portugal, the Philippines and other former colonies. Applicants from other countries are required to relinquish their nationality – a situation which may well apply to British nationals resident in Spain once the United Kingdom has left the EU. Considering that Spanish nationals currently resident in the United Kingdom will be able to acquire Spanish and British dual nationality even after Brexit, reaching a reciprocal agreement is likely to form a key part of the Brexit negotiations.
Using Legal Representation to Apply for EU and British Dual Nationality in the United Kingdom
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to apply for British nationality in the United Kingdom.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successfully Apply for EU and British Dual Nationality in the United Kingdom
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.