Dual Citizenship United Kingdom

British nationality law is complex because of the UK's history as an imperial power. There are 6 classes of British national, and each class is further explained below.

Generally, British citizenship is available through these methods:

  • birth in the UK to a parent who is a British citizen or who lives in the UK;
  • birth outside of the UK to a British citizen parent who is not a citizen by descent (thus, the parent has to be a citizen by birth, adoption, etc.);
  • naturalization;
  • registration;
  • adoption.

Citizens not by descent are the only citizens that can pass on citizenship automatically to their children born outside the UK. Citizens by descent can also pass on citizenship to their children, but these children must meet certain residence requirements in the UK and be registered before age 18.

Since the UK is a part of the European Union, a British citizen can travel and reside freely in any of the member states that are a part of the EU.

Since 1948, the UK has permitted dual citizenship.

Classes of British Nationality

There are 6 classes of British nationality:

1) British citizens - connection with the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Former citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who possessed the right of abode under the Immigration Act 1971 through a connection with the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man generally became citizens on January 1, 1983. British citizens are the only class of British nationality that permits a right of abode in the UK.

2) British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC), formerly British Dependent Territories Citizenship (BDTC) - connection with an existing overseas territory. Nearly all BOTCs are also British citizens as a result of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002.

3) British Overseas Citizens (BOC) - former Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who did not qualify for either British citizenship or British Dependent Territories citizenship. BOCs are derived from former colonies such as Malaysia and Kenya, and are fairly uncommon today.

4) British Subjects - British subjects who were not Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies or citizens of any other Commonwealth country. Most of these derived their status from British India or the Republic of Ireland as they existed before 1949.

5) British Nationals (Overseas) (BNO) - created by the Hong Kong Act 1985 and the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Order 1986. BNOs are former Hong Kong BDTCs who applied for BNO status before Hong Kong was given to China. Hong Kong BDTCs who did not apply to become BNOs and who did not gain Chinese nationality became BOCs if they were stateless.

6) British Protected Persons (BPP) - derived from parts of the British Empire that were protectorates or protected states with nominally independent rulers under the protection of the British Crown, but not officially part of the Crown's dominions. BPPs are not citizens and were not traditionally considered nationals, but are not aliens.

United Kingdom Dual Citizenship

How can you acquire Australian citizenship?

Citizenship By City-of-birth


Since august 20, 1986, anyone born in Australia to at least one Australian parent or one parent who is a permanent resident is born with Australian citizenship. Otherwise, those born in Australia to non-Australian parents acquire citizenship by the child's 10th birthday.

Those born in Australia to stateless parents may sometimes be registered as Australian citizens.

Citizenship By Descent


Those born to at least one Australian parent are eligible for citizenship and must apply for citizenship by descent. The following categories of people may apply for citizenship by descent:

  • British subjects born outside Australia before January 26, 1949 to an Australian father became citizens upon entering Australia with a permanent visa up to April 30, 1987;
  • Those born outside Australia to an Australian parent (if the parent is also a citizen by descent, the parent must have lived legally in Australia for 2 years) on or after January 26, 1949 may register as a citizen by descent;
  • Those born outside Australia or New Guinea before January 26, 1949 may register as a citizen if the child's parent was born or naturalized in Australia or New Guinea and the parent became a citizen on January 26, 1949.
Citizenship By Naturalization


Permanent residents from July 1, 2007 must have been resident in Australia for 4 years before applying for naturalization. Additional requirements are the following:

  • must have been in Australia for 12 months as a permanent resident;
  • must have not had absences from Australia for more than 12 months, including no more than 3 months in the 12 months preceding the application;
  • must have not been unlawfully present in Australia in the 4 years preceding the application;
  • must understand the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship (except for those age 60 or older);
  • ability to speak and understand basic English (except for those age 60 or older);
  • understand the nature of the application;
  • intent to reside in Australia or to maintain a close, continuing association with Australia;
  • must attend a citizenship ceremony and make a pledge of commitment.

Those who were permanent residents before July 1, 2007 were subject to the previous 2 year residence requirement for naturalization applications made before July 1, 2010.

Assistance for naturalization is available through our partners at http://www.immigrationdirect.com.au/australian-citizenship/citizenship-application.jsp.

Citizenship By Adoption


Those meeting the following requirements acquire Australian citizenship automatically:

  • you are a child adopted in Australia on or after November 22, 1984;
  • must be a permanent resident;
  • at least one adoptive parent is an Australian citizen.