Since the UK’s 2016 referendum, there has been a surge in British nationals acquiring citizenship of other EU member states due to the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the bloc. Many of the 1.3 million British nationals living abroad face the reality that certain countries, such as the Netherlands, Austria, Norway and Slovakia, either do not allow for or heavily restrict dual citizenship. UK nationals are therefore forced to renounce their nationality but must pay ever-increasing fees to do so.
From 6 April 2018, the fee for renouncing British nationality was increased from £321 to £372, an increase of £51. The UK government has been accused of “cashing in” on Brexit by a British politician who believes that the Home Office is taking the opportunity to make money from Brexit – a surprising move following the very recent Windrush scandal. This increase in fees means that it now costs over £1,000 for a family of three to renounce their British citizenship.
The Home Office argues that these fee increases are due to an increase in the cost of handling such applications along with “ensuring value for money for the taxpayer” but this latest move has attracted a lot of criticism online. Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder stated: “this is the Conservative Brexit government and the Home Office giving Brits in the EU the last kick out the door”.
British people are faced not only with the increased renunciation fee, but also the costly fees of applying for nationality elsewhere. Renouncing nationality can be an extremely painful decision to make and is a last resort for those living abroad, who only make the decision in the hope of securing their future. It was reported by Eurostat – the EU’s statistical office – earlier this year that the number of Britons obtaining citizenship of an alternative EU member state increased by 165% from 2015 to 2016.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.