I want to give up my British Nationality

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
20 January 2022

In an unusual case we have been requested by a dual national to help her to renounce her British citizenship and we had to make two applications.   One for indefinite leave to remain and the other for the renunciation of her British citizenship. 

Our client is a citizen of the UK, Canada and the UAE who was granted indefinite leave to remain and naturalised as a British citizen. Prior to instructing us she wrote twice to the Home Office requesting that her indefinite leave to remain be reinstated, given that the UAE does not allow dual citizenship and she did not wish to lose her UAE nationality.  She was advised that she had to apply for a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode in the UK as an alternative, but she did not wish to apply for it as that would have been placed on her UAE passport and demonstrate that she is a British citizen.  Furthermore, it is accepted that the Certificate of Entitlement to a right of abode in the UK is not a device for concealing from the authorities of another country the fact that the holder is a British citizen or to enable them to evade that country’s restrictions on nationality.  We therefore were instructed to submit an application to renounce her British citizenship and at the same time to submit an application for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of her 10 years lawful residence in the UK.  This application has been successful. 

The legal framework that we have used with regard to the renunciation is section 12 of the British Nationality Act (BNA) 1981. It states that if any British citizen of full age and capacity makes a declaration of renunciation of British citizenship then the Secretary of State shall cause the declaration to be registered, as long as the Secretary of State is satisfied that after the declaration is registered the person would acquire a citizenship of nationality other than British citizenship.

The UAE has now announced plans to extend citizenship opportunities to highly skilled or wealthy foreigners and their families. While this is not applicable to this client, it seems that the country citizenship law is moving in the right direction.