US citizen becoming US/UK dual, good idea?

Hello, I’m a US citizen (US only, not dual). I know very little about dual citizenship, and am curious about it.

If I can become a US/UK dual citizen (by descent), is that a good idea? What’s the main advantage of this? And what’s the main disadvantage?

How can I find out if I’m eligible? Show up at a UK consulate and ask?


The bad news is when you’re in the UK and they find out you’re American they’ll think you’re an asshole. When you’re in America and they find out you’re British they’ll think you’re an asshole. When you’re anywhere else and they find out you’re both American and British they’ll think you’re a complete asshole.

The main disadvantage is that it may prevent you from getting a top-secret U.S. government security clearance, if you happen to get selected for a job that requires one. Other than that, go for it!

yeah you should go for it, you can work in any EU country and you don’t need visas for many countries. Some countries you’d need a visa if you are on a US passport only

I’m a US citizen who was born in the UK. I think I can claim UK citizenship, but I also understand that might require undergoing a residency period in the UK of some years.

Thanks for the responses thus far. I’m in the US now, and will go to the UK consulate to inquire.

Obviously, one possible advantage is that I could live and work, or even retire, in the UK if I want… or even anywhere in the EU? … and other countries outside the EU (such as commonwealth countries)? In the near-term, I’m more interested in “greater China” (China, HK, Taiwan). I read on this forum that UK persons can get a 3-month landing visa in Taiwan, extendable by another 3 months. That’s great, but I’m assuming it doesn’t include the right to work. Longer term, I’m interested in being able to retire somewhere without having to worry about visa issues, and work if I want to, or not (just like a local). I’m not sure where I can do that on a UK passport (other than the UK). Also, for retiring, I might be interested to know what the health insurance benefits are, that is, assuming I’d qualify for any.

What I was concerned about, in terms of possible disadvantages, would be whether I would have some new obligations such as paying into their tax system or social welfare system, having to file annual forms, etc. I’m not worried about the draft since I’m probably too old for that.

If anyone has any comments, please let me know. I have a feeling it would be better not to go into the Consulate with all these questions.

Anywhere within the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). I’m not sure about the situation in Switzerland, which is not a member of the EEA but has various treaties with member states. In EEA states you would be treated as a local for all purposes including healthcare. So if the country you choose has universal healthcare free at the point of use, you are entitled to it. Equally if there are conditions on free access to healthcare (like having x years of national insurance contributions paid) then those would apply to you too. My (British) grandfather moved to France at the age of 80 and he enjoys the full benefits of the French healthcare system, which has provided excellent care on the occasions he has needed it.

That’s the biggest load of bullshit I’ve heard.

It would probably be a great idea for you to become a UK national, you can travel without any VISA restrictions throughout most of Europe.