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Renunciation and resumption of British citizenship

It is possible to renounce British nationality. In most cases, this is as a result of the nationality laws of another country which doesn’t (or didn’t) allow for dual nationality. It is possible to resume British nationality under certain circumstances, but you can normally only do this once.

Renunciation of British nationality

It is possible to renounce any form of British nationality. This can be necessary where the nationality laws of another country don’t allow dual nationality and you wish to retain the other citizenship.

Applications for renunciation of any form of British nationality can only be processed by the Home Office in the UK. Some forms of British nationality cannot be resumed after renunciation and given the severe consequences of the action, professional advice should be obtained on the ramifications before any application is lodged.

Resumption of British nationality

An application can be made to resume British nationality where a valid claim to British nationality would have been available had the prior renunciation not taken place.

There are two situations covered here - resumption after the renunciation of:

Resumption after the renunciation of citizenship of the UK and colonies (CUKC) or an old form of British nationality

An application can be made to register as a British citizen in the modern day where a person held (but later renounced) citizenship of the UK and colonies or any one of the previous statuses of British nationality.

This renunciation must have taken place before 1 January 1983 (at the time when the main British nationality status was citizen of the UK and colonies (CUKC). For renunciations that took place before 1 January 1983, the registration is a discretionary decision (made by the Secretary of State) if one of the following applied:

  • The candidate has an appropriate connection with the UK
  • The candidate has been married to a person who has (or would have had if they were still alive) a connection to the UK

The "appropriate connection to the UK" is taken as, but not restricted to, where the subject, his father or his father’s father was:

  • Born in the UK
  • Naturalised in the UK
  • Registered as a citizen of the UK and colonies in the UK or a country mentioned in section 1(3) of the 1948 Act at the time of registration

In practice, the applicant should demonstrate that they had a reasonable belief that the renunciation was a result of being deprived of nationality of another Commonwealth country.

Resumption after the renunciation of British nationality

For renunciations that took place after 1 January 1983, the applicant does not need to demonstrate an appropriate connection with the UK.

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
London
WC1A 1DG
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

Australia

Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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