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What are the disadvantages of dual citizenship?

Posted on: 05/02/2020

Dual nationality is not unusual these days.

At first glance it’s a harmless exercise and many people have sound practical reasons for acquiring dual or more nationalities. However it’s worth a moment or two’s reflection before adding to ones nationality portfolio.

Potential downsides include:

  • dual nationality can sometimes have challenging implications if one requires Consular assistance. Witness the difficulties facing Chinese with dual nationality wanting to fly out of Wuhan to escape the coronavirus or Mrs Ratcliffe in Iran.
  • some nations don’t permit their nationals to hold dual nationality. Are you content for the grant of British nationality to revoke your nationality of origin?
  • Some nations require their citizens to perform National Service. Are you aware of any implications in your case?

We don’t advise on other countries nationality law but we can advise on the implications of being  British so you can make a properly informed decision about naturalisation. Currently part of that advice will be that in terms of UK law, nationality and citizenship are not necessarily synonymous. This is for historical reasons related to the nature of the British constitution and the way our law has evolved. In that context it’s worth noting that being British is not actually a right; it’s something one acquires automatically through the operation of law in defined circumstances or the discretion of the Home Secretary.

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