I was born in England to a British citizen mother. I was adopted by US military family stationed in England when I was a child and later became a US naturalized citizen. Can I get a dual citizenship status? Would I be eligible for a British passport?

1 Answer 1


If you were born in the UK to at least one British citizen parent, you were automatically a British citizen at birth. (And, in fact, if you were born in the UK before 1983, you were a British citizen at birth even without a British citizen parent. The status was called different names prior to 1983, but for someone born in the UK, the equivalent prior status turned into "British citizen" in 1983.)

British citizenship (or the equivalent prior status) is not lost upon being adopted or being naturalized in a foreign country (assuming you naturalized on or after 1949). So you are still a British citizen now, and you can apply for a British passport at any time. That you no longer have a legal parent-child relationship with your biological parents now is irrelevant -- your British citizenship was obtained automatically at the time of your birth, based on the situation at the time of your birth.

  • D'oh! Of course. (If the relationship was more distant, such that the OP could have applied for British citizenship on the basis of their birth mother, I would have been right - because their birth mother is not their legal mother - but because they were a British citizen at birth, they remain one.) Jan 2, 2019 at 9:47
  • Not to harp on this too much, but I'm unaware of a provision in UK nationality law that states that the biological parent be a 'legal' parent. (In fact, I'm not aware of such a law in any country, though indirectly India has laws which might have such an effect. That's probably not been challenged yet as I suspect few adopted Indian children are likely to want to go back later in life and attempt to reacquire that nationality).
    – ouflak
    Jan 2, 2019 at 9:57
  • I've answered a related question here (expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/10447/…) and done some followup research on it. There are no countries that I could find that state that adoption causes a loss of citizenship. Indirectly, acquisition of another citizenship, even involuntarily as a child, can technically cause loss of one's native born citizenship in some countries (India, Malaysia, probably others...), but I don't know of any case where that has been legally tested in cases of adoption.
    – ouflak
    Jan 2, 2019 at 10:01
  • @ouflak A biological parent post adoption is just not a parent legally. It wouldn't appear in nationality law - just adoption law. Jan 2, 2019 at 10:05
  • Ok..., but adoption law doesn't trump nationality law, unless I'm misunderstanding what you're saying?
    – ouflak
    Jan 2, 2019 at 10:06

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