Do I have to obtain an EEA (Permanent Residence) card to apply for British citizenship?
Yes, this has been a requirement since November 2015. The only exception to this is those who held indefinite leave to remain in the UK before their home country joined the EEA (such as, for example, a Lithuanian citizen who acquired indefinite leave to remain in the UK in 2002). There is no need for a permanent residence card to be obtained in this situation unless the right to remain permanently has subsequently been lost by long-term residence outside the UK.
Do Irish citizens need to do anything?
This seems very unlikely to be necessary. Irish citizens have had free movement rights in the UK for many years and these are protected by a different law to that applicable for other EU citizens. Whilst there has been some discussion of the possible need for a border control between Ireland and the UK in future, it seems unlikely to jeopardise the rights of Irish citizens to live in the UK without further permission.
Should I apply for dual nationality?
The benefit of having dual citizenship is that British citizenship is only withdrawn in unusual circumstances. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations, British citizens will clearly be allowed to remain in the UK. If you’re able to obtain this and keep your citizenship of origin, that seems a good resolution to the problem.
Whether the benefits of holding British citizenship are justified will be a question for each individual applicant to consider. Things which we would suggest should be borne in mind are:
- the rights of those with permanent residence in the UK, who have not acquired British citizenship, are likely to be protected but may be lost by residing outside the UK for two years or more;
- the UK allows multiple citizenship although many countries in the world do not, so acquiring this may possibly have an impact on your existing citizenship;
- there may be other legal consequences on your right to live and work elsewhere in the EEA if acquiring British citizenship and giving up an existing one;
- this is an expensive and relatively slow process.
Can I give up my British citizenship?
Yes. Conditions of this include that you already hold a different nationality (or are about to acquire one) are over 18 and “of sound mind”. There is an application form to complete, a fee and you will need to submit evidence of your new citizenship. It is possible to apply to resume British citizenship in some circumstances.
We would suggest that you ensure you can resolve any outstanding rights you or your family require to live in the UK before considering renunciation of British citizenship. As the holder of a different citizenship, you will be subject to immigration control once again and should be clear that you qualify for the right to remain if that is necessary.