Resumption of British Citizenship

Becoming a British citizen again

Renouncing and Resuming British Citizenship

Apply to resume British citizenship with us

If you have renounced British citizenship, resumption of British citizenship might still be possible for you. You should seek legal advice so your circumstances can be assessed to see whether you can make the application.

Read on to learn more about renouncing and resuming your British citizenship and how to make an application.

Most importantly, consider getting specialist legal advice and representation for your visa application. This is because the underlying rules and process are complex and you, as a layperson, may not be able to interpret the rules and apply them to your circumstances correctly.

A refusal with prejudice may also make a future application much more complex or even impossible in certain circumstances. Getting specialist legal advice and representation at an early stage is therefore advisable to maximize the prospects of success.

You can make an application to resume your lost British citizenship in one of the following ways:

1. Resumption of British Citizenship as of Right

The British Nationality Act 1981 provides that resumption of British citizenship is permitted if “renunciation was necessary to enable the applicant to retain or acquire some other citizenship or nationality.” This is a matter of right and is available once only.

In majority of cases, people renounce citizenship because they want to hold a public office in another country or take part in politics there. These are not good reasons for the resumption of British citizenship as the applicant was not forced to give it up because he had to acquire another country’s citizenship.

In other words, if the other country of which you want to become a citizen does not bar dual citizenship, you will not be able resume your British citizenship as a matter of right because the renunciant is not acquiring or retaining the other *citizenship* through the act of renunciation.


Applications under 13(1) should also be supported by a letter from the authorities of the country concerned (unless it is the UK or a British overseas territory) stating that the applicant’s renunciation of British citizenship was necessary in order to acquire or retain that country’s citizenship.

2. Discretionary Resumption of British Citizenship

If you do not appear to resume British citizenship as of right, you might be able to apply to the Secretary of State and request her to exercise her discretion in your favour and register you as a British citizen under section 13(3) of BNA 1981. In seeing whether discretion should be exercised, the Secretary of State will have regard to:

♠ whether you have a reasonable connection with the UK; or
♠ whether you have been married to a person who has/had a connection with the UK.

The “connection to the UK” is taken as:

♠ born in the UK; or
♠ naturalised in the UK; or
♠ registered as a citizen of the UK and Colonies in the UK or a country listed in section 1(3) of the 1948 Act.

This discretion is intended primarily to benefit those who renounced British citizenship:

♠ in order to acquire the nationality or citizenship of their spouse or civil partner; or
♠ to assist them in their careers; and
♠ the marriage, civil partnership or the career has now ended; and
♠ they wish to remain in or return to the UK for settlement

You may therefore normally be registered under 13(3) if the conditions above are met, and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the applicant’s future is likely to lie in the UK if registered.


Applications should be supported by evidence as set out above and/or evidence to support any other reasons for the renunciation of British citizenship and the wish to re-acquire it. If:

♠ renunciation of British citizenship was not necessary in order to retain or acquire another nationality or citizenship; or
♠ the applicant renounced British citizenship in order to apply for a repatriation grant to return to his/her country of origin (in such cases, discretion to register under s.13(3) should only be exercised in exceptional circumstances); or
♠ renunciation of British citizenship was not for either of the reasons given above; or
♠ the person has already been registered under s.13(1),

The application is considered on its merits, taking into account the reasons given for the renunciation and the reasons for wishing to re-acquire British citizenship. If no reasons have been given, the reasons will be requested.


In exercising his discretion under s.13(3), the Home Secretary has to have regard to the character of the applicant and his suitability for registration. Applicants will not be expected to meet exacting standards, but it is necessary to try to identify those whose activities may suggest registration would not be appropriate and would attract criticism.

What happens if I don’t obtain another nationality after renouncing British Citizenship?

If the declaration or renunciation of British citizenship was made in order to acquire another nationality or citizenship, and no such nationality or citizenship was acquired within 6 months of the date of registration of the declaration, the renunciation was void and the person remained a British citizen. But unless the evidence or information available indicates that the other nationality or citizenship was not acquired, it should be assumed that the renunciation was valid and that British citizenship was lost.

In practice, the applicant should prove that they had a reasonable belief that the renunciation of British citizenship was a result of being deprived of citizenship of another Commonwealth country.

Is there anything else I should consider when applying resumption of citizenship?

If you’d like to apply for the resumption of British citizenship please be aware that applicants can be refused even where they may appear to meet the applicable legal requirements. Such refusals are attributable to the applicant’s failure to provide evidence in the format required by the rules or them being legally illiterate failing to properly interpret and apply the law to their own circumstances. Some of the consequences of such refusal are:

 that the applicants lose the application fees
 that the applicants have to spend much more on reviews with little or no prospects as the law prohibits applicants to rely upon new evidence which wasn’t submitted with the original application;
 that they might have to apply again with more fees to pay
 that the future applications might become complicated or even impossible, in certain unfortunate cases

The applicant, as a result, not not only loses the application but also the application fees. It is therefore critical that proper nationality law advice and representation is sought before you submit your case to the Home Office to ensure you meet all applicable rules and policy guidelines increasing your prospects of success.

Looking to make an application for resumption of British citizenship?

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