What are the disadvantages of dual citizenship?

Do you need immigration help or advice?

Do you need immigration help or advice?

While dual citizenship brings with it many advantages, it is also important to be aware of disadvantages that are part of such a process. If you’re considering making an application for British citizenship, this guide can help you weigh up the possible drawbacks. 

Let’s breakdown some disadvantages of dual citizenship

Dual obligations 

If you have dual citizenship, you also must abide by the obligations of both countries. Complications could crop up where for example one country you are a citizen of requires military service. If you don’t check the military requirements beforehand, you could break laws of one country by applying by the laws of another. 

Not all countries recognise dual citizenship 

Ensure you check the legal requirements of both countries before you make any citizenship applications. Some states may see an application for citizenship in another country as renouncing your citizenship there altogether. 

Consular protection 

It might be unlikely for an individual to need consular protection abroad, but having dual citizenship might present some complications. Consular protection means citizens are able to claim the protection of their home state in an emergency abroad, by going to an embassy.

You might need help from an embassy if: 

  • You lose or have your passport or other identification stolen
  • There is serious accident or illness
  • Notify family in the event of death
  • Relief or emergency travel, called repatriation, in the event of natural disaster or conflict

However, for people with dual citizenship, this could make things complicated. The Home Office states that they cannot help dual nationals in the country of their other nationality. For example, Hong Kong announced, due to new laws from the Chinese mainland, that they would not recognise dual nationality. If a person with dual British-Chinese citizenship travelled to Hong Kong, they would be treated only as a Chinese citizen. Therefore the British embassy would not be able to offer travellers any assistance.

Complicated application 

Foreign nationals making citizenship applications via naturalisation can take a long time. For some, it can take up to a decade before they can attain it. Others can apply after five years of residency in the UK and 12 months of holding Indefinite Leave to Remain status. 

dual citizenship two passports

Other eligibility requirements for a British citizenship application are:

  • No absences outside the UK longer than 450 days
  • Meet the English language requirement at B1 level
  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • Have not breached any immigration laws 

Furthermore, the entire process can take around 6 or 7 months to complete. While you could get your decision from the Home Office quicker, if you have a more complex case it could be a lengthier wait. You may need to get legal advice and consult an immigration lawyer to ensure your application goes as smoothly as possible.

Citizenship application costs

There will always be costs involved with any application to UK Visas and Immigration. An application to naturalise as a British citizen currently costs £1330. Additional charges include: 

  • Biometric enrolment £19.20
  • Life in the UK test £50
  • Citizenship ceremony fees £80

Other costs could come from paying for legal advice and document translations if necessary.

Extra steps

Once you’ve applied for British citizenship, you will then need to make another application for a British passport. You will be able to travel and prove your identity to access benefits and right to work in the UK. 

However once again this comes with extra costs to be aware of. An online application is £75.50.

All in all, the decision to take on dual citizenship is a big one that needs to be carefully weighed up based on personal circumstances. Legal advice tailored to your needs can be extremely helpful throughout these processes.