I currently have a dual-citizenships. I am German and Spanish. However, I was born in the UK and moved to another country at the age of three. I would like to know if I have a right to British nationality. At the time I was born (1988), my parents had already worked and lived in the UK for 6 years. Neither of them has British nationality.

I found this website: https://www.gov.uk/types-of-british-nationality/british-citizenship

In it it is stated that if I was born in the UK after 1 January 1983, I have a right to British citizenship, if either my mother or my father was 'settled' in the UK when I was born.

These are my questions: 1. Are my parents considered to have been 'settled' at the time of my birth? 2. If I have a right to british citizenship, may I apply for it without renouncing to any of the other two?

  • 1
    Personally, there is no way that I would consider getting UK citizenship today. And the Germans might want a word with you, considering that Germany doesn't allow dual citizenships. Getting UK citizenship will definitely mean you lose the German one.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 30, 2016 at 8:15
  • @gnasher729 I don't know about Germany, but many countries' prohibitions on dual citizenship have exceptions when the citizenship was acquired automatically at birth, which would I think be the case here if the parents were "settled" at the time of the child's birth.
    – phoog
    Jun 30, 2016 at 15:13
  • 1
    Well, Germany doesn't work like that. You can have dual citizenship as a child; when you're 18 you have to decide. It may be that nothing happens as long as you are not in contact with Germany, but for example getting a passport would be difficult.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 30, 2016 at 21:45
  • @gnasher729 see germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/05__Legal/03__FAQ/Citizenship/…, particularly "German law, in general, does not oblige you to choose between the two citizenships at the age of 18." As to the value of UK citizenship (your first comment), if the UK leaves the EU and its freedom of movement regime, UK citizenship will become very valuable to an EU citizen who wants to move to the UK.
    – phoog
    Jul 1, 2016 at 0:54
  • @gnasher729 also see germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/__pr/P__Wash/2014/04/…. Also note, at germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/05__Legal/…, "If you obtain a foreign citizenship without an application for naturalization, you remain a German citizen."
    – phoog
    Jul 1, 2016 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


You are already a British citizen. This will not impact your German nationality (I don't know anything about Spanish Nationality Law):

(1) Prior to 2000, EC nationals were considered 'settled' when exercising Treaty rights in the UK. They did not have to apply for indefinite leave to remain to be considered settled. As you were born in the UK to at least one parent who was exercising Treaty rights in the UK and hence 'settled' for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981, you acquired British citizenship automatically at birth. You do not need to, and should not, apply for naturalisation or registration, but instead for confirmation of British citizenship OR a passport (or alternatively, a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode). NOTE: of course, the situation of EU/EEA nationals in the UK is now different under the 2006 Regulations, implementing Directive 2004/38/EC, which introduced the concept of "permanent residence". There was no equivalent to this at the time of your birth, in 1988, when all EC nationals exercising Treaty rights were 'settled'.

(2) You will not lose your German nationality. First, you are already British anyway, as set out above. Second, the previous answers are all wrong as a point of law. The German 'option model' requires persons born in Germany to non-German parents to decide which citizenship they wish to keep once they come of age. This never applies where one of the parents is German. It is not true, therefore, that Germany never accepts dual nationality. Equally importantly, a German national who acquires the citizenship of another EU/EEA country will not lose their German citizenship (although, as set out under (1) above, this does not affect you anyway since you are already British, even if you may currently lack a document to prove your status as such).

  • It is possible (although I think unlikely), that people with dual German-UK citizenship will be required to choose one when the UK leaves the EU. But that is speculating about future citizenship law Nov 9, 2016 at 14:21

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