Dual citizenship, triple citizenship & more: how to become a British citizen

If you intend to make the UK your more permanent home, here’s how you can apply for citizenship (as well as double and triple citizenship).

Xe Consumer UK

November 19, 20206 min read

New expat to the United Kingdom

Expats in the United Kingdom, this one’s for you. If you’ve been looking into your citizenship options, you might know that there are many benefits of obtaining British citizenship, including:

  • You have the right to live permanently in the UK

  • There are no work restrictions.

  • You get free medical care.

  • You get a British passport and enjoy unrestricted entry into the UK.

  • You have the right to vote.

  • You can stand for office.

  • The economy is stable.

If you would like to become a British citizen, this guide is a must-read. We’ll cover all the crucial information you need to know, from the requirements to how to go about obtaining it.

What are the requirements for becoming a British citizen?

  • You must be at least 18 years old.

  • You must have full mental capacity.

  • You must have held UK settled status (permanent residence, EU settled status, or indefinite leave to remain) for at least 1 year. The only exception is if you’re married to a settled person or a British citizen.

  • You must have lived in the UK for not less than 5 years. If you’re married to a British citizen or a person with settled status, you should have lived in the UK for 3 years.

  • You must not have left the UK for more than 90 days in the last 1 year. Also, you shouldn’t have been absent from the country for more than 450 days in the last 5 years.

  • You must pass the knowledge of language and life in the UK test.

  • During the qualifying residency period, you shouldn’t have breached UK immigration rules.

  • You must pass the good character requirement.

  • You must be planning to have your main home in the UK.

  • You must provide the names of 2 people who can prove your identity (referees).

You can also live and work permanently in the UK without applying for British citizenship. But you must be an Irish citizen, have indefinite leave to remain, be a Commonwealth citizen with right of abode, or hold settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Applying for citizenship for your child

Children can register as British citizens if they were born in the UK or have lived in the UK continuously for several years. Other children who are eligible for British citizenship include:

  • Stateless children born in the UK

  • Looked after children

  • Children born to European citizens.

If you want your child to become a British citizen, you have to make a separate application. Parents of children who are younger than 18 years can apply to register them as British citizens. Registering is one way of applying for British citizenship.

The process is usually easier for children because they don't have to prove their knowledge of English, pass the Life in the UK Test, or do the citizenship ceremony.

You can submit the application online or by post.

What is UK dual citizenship and can you have it?

Dual citizenship, which is also known as dual nationality, is allowed by many countries. When you hold dual citizenship, you can be a citizen of another country and a British citizen.

To become a citizen, you have to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. When applying, you can choose to keep your citizenship status from your home country. If your country allows dual nationality and your application gets approved, the UK government will let you retain your citizenship status.

Some popular countries that allow dual citizenship in the UK include the U.S., Canada, France, Sweden, and Italy. Those that don’t allow dual citizenship include China, Japan, India, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.

Do you become a citizen automatically if you marry someone from the UK?

No. Marrying a British citizen doesn’t make you one.

When you get married to a person from the UK, you must submit an application as the spouse of a British citizen. You’ll then be issued with a spouse or partner visa. The visa allows you to work in the UK without restrictions. You can also apply for the visa if you’re married to a person with settlement status in the UK or a person who has a right to live and work in the UK.

Can you hold triple citizenship in the UK?


The United Kingdom allows triple citizenship (multiple citizenship). This means that when you become a British citizen, you don't need to give up previous nationalities. Also, having other citizenships will not affect your application for British citizenship.

However, it’s important to note that some countries do not allow multiple citizenship. Before you apply to become a British citizen, find out whether it will have any impact on the citizenships you already hold. Some countries may only recognize their citizenship while others may nullify your citizenship once you become a UK citizen.

Holding triple citizenships also comes with many consequences, like tax liability, limitations on holding public office, and obligations regarding which passport to use.

Can you lose British citizenship?


If you attained British citizenship through naturalisation and it’s found out that you lied in your application, you may lose your citizenship. You can also lose your citizenship if the home secretary thinks it’s conducive to public good.

Is it hard to become a British citizen?

Yes, and expensive, too.

While thousands of people become British citizens every year, they may have prepared for years and may have paid between £5,000 and £10,000. To register a child as British, you’ll have to pay £1,012.

If you’ll be bouncing between countries, save money with Xe

After you become a British citizen, you may be travelling from the UK to other countries regularly. When making international money transfers and payments to friends and family (or your own account back home), use Xe. It’s convenient and affordable.

Banking transactions can be expensive and you have to do your homework if you want to get the best deal—because banks charge different (and often pricier) rates. You may also have to set aside time to handle your banking activities. Your time is precious.

If you want to save both time and money, use Xe.

We provide a secure, efficient, and inexpensive way to send and receive money internationally. We don’t charge any hidden fees, so you’ll always know what you’re paying and what your recipient will get. And the good news is you can send money to over 130 countries around the world.