A noncommercial collection of information about citizenship, dual citizenship and multiple citizenship

[Please refer to How to Read a Country Entry for help interpreting this material. It was produced prior to March 2001 as part of a US government report entitled Citizenship Laws of the World. The accuracy and depth of these country listings varies significantly, and some information may be incorrect. At best, this page presents only part of the story for a particular country. Additional information for this country may be available in Country Information]



["British" refers to "of the United Kingdom"]

CITIZENSHIP: Nationality is regulated by the British Nationality Act of 1984.

Due to Great Britain's historic relationship with its former colonies and the British Commonwealth, certain groups of peoples fall into special categories. Citizenship requirements and special considerations for these groups are frequently different than for those considered to be foreign nationals and, to a degree, are different from category to category. Persons included in these special categories are:

British Dependent Territories Citizens British Overseas Citizens British Subjects British Protected Persons Commonwealth Citizens Citizens of the Republic of Ireland.

After January 1, 1983, the following qualify for British citizenship:

BY BIRTH: Child born in the United Kingdom, at least one of whose parents is a British citizen or has settled in the United Kingdom. Child born in the United Kingdom whose parents are unknown.

BY DESCENT: Child born overseas to a British citizen if at least one of his parents is a British citizen other than by descent. Child born overseas to a British citizen in service to the Crown. Child born outside of the United Kingdom with certain family connections (unspecified) to the United Kingdom.

OTHER: Child adopted by Order of the Court of the United Kingdom. Person registered by the Secretary of State as a British citizen. (Often used for children born abroad to British citizens.)

SPECIAL CATEGORIES: Persons falling into these categories may be registered as British citizens if they have lived in the United Kingdom lawfully for five years; the twelve months preceding the application must be of continuous residence. British Overseas Citizen British Subject British Protected Person British Dependent Territory Citizen

BY NATURALIZATION: British citizenship may be granted upon fulfillment of the following conditions: Person has been a resident of the United Kingdom for five years. Persons married to British citizens are required to reside in the United Kingdom for the three years preceding application, with certain restrictions on periods spent outside the United Kingdom. Person is of good character and has sufficient knowledge of English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic. Person intends on remaining in the United Kingdom or entering Crown service.


LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP: Unless it is required for other reasons, British citizens need not renounce their citizenship upon obtaining a foreign citizenship. Those who have voluntarily renounced British citizenship are entitled to reacquire it once. Otherwise, the resumption of British citizenship is at the discretion of the Secretary of State.

VOLUNTARY: A completed application for renunciation, together with documentary evidence of citizenship, plus fee, should be submitted to the British Embassy. Application will be sent to England to be processed for approval. In approximately two months the person will receive the processed application as acceptance of the renunciation.

INVOLUNTARY: No information was provided.

ANY QUESTIONS concerning citizenship, or requests for renunciation of citizenship, should be directed to the address below:

Embassy of the United Kingdom Embassy Telephone: 202-587-6500 Consular Section Consular Telephone: 202-588-7800** 3100 Massachusetts Avenue Fax: 202-588-7850 Washington, DC 20008


Additional information

Check the links to government sites at the page on freedom of movement United Kingdom



COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS: The Commonwealth is a free association of sovereign, independent states, numbering 53 at the end of 1999. Most of the membership consists of former colonies and territories of the United Kingdom. There is no charter, treaty, or constitution; the Commonwealth association is expressed in cooperation, consultation, and mutual assistance for which the Commonwealth Secretariat is the central coordinating body.

ASSOCIATED STATES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Cameroon, Cyprus, Dominica, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Samoa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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