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Get a British passport?
Old 04-08-2015, 07:39 AM   #1
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Get a British passport?

My mother was born in Britain and came to the US and had me.

So I was surfing the web and just found out I could register as a British citizen by descent and get British citizenship and passport.

Is there any great advantage in being a dual national? Would I have to pay more taxes? Any travel benefits?

Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:32 AM   #2
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Benefits:
- shorter immigration lines when visiting the UK, you are required to use your UK passport to enter the country if you have one
- another embassy to call on if you are in trouble somewhere else
- if there are places that don't require visas of UK citizens but do require them of US citizens, you could visit those places on your UK passport and save a little time and/or money
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:53 AM   #3
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You'd need to consult an expert on taxes, but I've read that many British subjects live outside of the UK for some prescribed number of days per year to avoid British taxes- so there may not be major implications if you live in the USA, for example.


Although regulations on travel to/from Cuba are changing as we speak, it would allow you to get in and out of Cuba easily. You could also use it if you plan to travel to the Middle East and visit Israel; you could use one passport going in and out of Israel and the other for other countries. (This is another area that's probably changing a lot, but it used to be that some countries wouldn't let you in if your passport showed you'd been to Israel, and you could ask the Israeli authorities not to stamp your passport.)


Finally, the people on my favorite travel board (FlyerTalk) have advised anyone with dual passports to be sure to use the same one when leaving and re-entering the US.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jim584672 View Post
My mother was born in Britain and came to the US and had me.

So I was surfing the web and just found out I could register as a British citizen by descent and get British citizenship and passport.

Is there any great advantage in being a dual national? Would I have to pay more taxes? Any travel benefits?

Thanks.
You may develop a sudden urge to drink tea at mid-afternoon.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jim584672 View Post
My mother was born in Britain and came to the US and had me.

So I was surfing the web and just found out I could register as a British citizen by descent and get British citizenship and passport.

Is there any great advantage in being a dual national? Would I have to pay more taxes? Any travel benefits?

Thanks.
If an asteroid hits the U.S., you could go live in an EU country.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:40 AM   #6
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What about the speech problem?
Even though it's much smaller, I think there are more regional accents in the UK than here in the USA.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:50 AM   #7
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The U.S. is one of only two countries that tax people based on citizenship. (I think Ethiopia is the other one). So becoming a British citizen would not increase your tax liability. Others have mentioned the travel advantages. If it entitles your children to apply for citizenship, it could also allow them to study or employment in the EU. So I suggest you go for it!
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:10 AM   #8
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The U.S. is one of only two countries that tax people based on citizenship. (I think Ethiopia is the other one). So becoming a British citizen would not increase your tax liability. Others have mentioned the travel advantages. If it entitles your children to apply for citizenship, it could also allow them to study or employment in the EU. So I suggest you go for it!
Unfortunately a "by descent" citizen can not pass it down to children if outside Britain.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:15 AM   #9
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You may develop a sudden urge to drink tea at mid-afternoon.
As long as it comes with scones, jam, and clotted cream count me in.

Of course we did get a few looks for asking for ice tea.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:23 AM   #10
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I would totally do it.
When we were traveling a couple of years ago, one of the girls had both NZ and British passports, which she juggled depending on whether visas were needed for the country we were entering.

Couple of examples for British versus US:
Mongolia. US residents don't need visas, UK holders do.
Bolivia: UK holders don't need visa, US do.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:59 AM   #11
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I almost can't believe that people are suggesting picking up a whole new citizenship for minor travel and visa advantages. Especially when you are talking about the difference between a UK and a USA passport (the difference is quite small in the scheme of things).

This is not something to be undertaken lightly.

The only real reason I would do it is if I wanted to live or work in the EU.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:00 AM   #12
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Does that mean you have to pay British taxes?
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:40 PM   #13
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Have been interested in this. My wife was born in London, UK and had a British passport but let it lapse when she became a Canadian citizen and now carries only a Canadian passport. The main benefit to UK passport for us would be easy access to the EU which is ever expanding it seems. Theoretically, the other benefit is retiring to an EU country which has a good tax treaty and allows RRSPs (similar to 401k but personally held) to be made non-tax deferred for a (favorable) lump sum amount. Canada taxes based on residency status (sorry you guys) so things can work out quite well. Interestingly, last I checked male spouses who married a British subject could not get a UK passport whereas female spouses could. I am hoping that they have brought this into the 21st century since last I checked and we may do this at some point. The convenience for travel and banking is potentially large.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:44 PM   #14
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As long as it comes with scones, jam, and clotted cream count me in.

Of course we did get a few looks for asking for ice tea.

LOL... and I bet you got one cube of ice
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:48 PM   #15
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When I worked there there were UK people who held accounts offshore because they did not have to pay taxes on that income... not sure if they had to leave the funds offshore or not.... but would think they would have to...


I would only do it if I had plans to move to the EU and live there long term... or move to the UK... you would be covered by their health system if you were a citizen...
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:57 PM   #16
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You absolutely don't have to pay UK taxes. As was pointed out above only the USA and Eritrea tax their citizens regardless of where they actually live.

The advantage would be that you could live, work or retire anywhere in the EU. (note that you would have to establish UK residency to access the NHS for "free" - i.e. become a UK taxpayer)


Disadvantages would include cost of passport and if you are actually in the UK and get into difficulties then you cannot expect the US Embassy to help you out, although they probably will unless you've violated UK laws. (That is spelled out in my US passport under Important Information - 14. Dual Citizens). I expect that section on Dual Citizens is present in all US Passports but don't know for sure.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:03 PM   #17
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... you would be covered by their health system if you were a citizen...
Being a citizen does not give you NHS coverage. All tax paying UK residents (including immigrants) have NHS access as the NHS is funded through taxes.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:09 PM   #18
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When I worked there there were UK people who held accounts offshore because they did not have to pay taxes on that income... not sure if they had to leave the funds offshore or not.... but would think they would have to...
Not the case these days, UK residents are taxed on their worldwide income, although they don't have the equivalent of FATCA to help enforce it.

Do I need an offshore savings account? - Offshore savings accounts explained - Savings & investments - Which? Money

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Although you will be required to declare any interest you earn from an offshore savings account and will ultimately have to pay any UK income tax due, there can be a substantial delay between earning interest on offshore savings and having to pay tax on it. For example, if your interest is paid once a year at the end of April, you could hold the previous year’s interest in your account for up to 20 months.
This ‘deferral’ of the income tax payment due on your offshore savings could allow you to earn a small amount of extra interest which would be unavailable to you if you saved in a UK-based account.
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:28 AM   #19
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I almost can't believe that people are suggesting picking up a whole new citizenship for minor travel and visa advantages. Especially when you are talking about the difference between a UK and a USA passport (the difference is quite small in the scheme of things).

This is not something to be undertaken lightly.

The only real reason I would do it is if I wanted to live or work in the EU.
I am not seeing a downside for someone entitled to U.K. citizenship by descent. They would already have legal citizenship - and would just be getting the paperwork to prove it. It is not like they would have to take a class and pass a test with questions like:

1. A full English breakfast consists of bacon, eggs, fried bread, fried potatoes, sausage and ____

a. Tofu
b. Kale
c. Apple
d. None of the above
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:51 PM   #20
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Weird part is if your father was British no need to register as a citizen, you just apply directly for a passport.

If your mother was British then you need to register, which requires that you get two "referees" to vouch for you, go through a background check, do fingerprints, photo, be of good character, and it is at the discretion of the authorities whether they allow the registration. Then you need to take an oath to the queen, and attend a ceremony for 80 pounds.

Doesn't make much sense to me.
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