British Nationality: Northern Ireland

Home Office written question – answered on 30th January 2020.

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Photo of Claire Hanna Claire Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party, Belfast South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her policy is on providing a legal entitlement for citizens of Northern Ireland to be recognised as (a) Irish, (b) British and (c) both.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Minister of State, Home Department

The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement sets out the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

In line with this commitment, the people of Northern Ireland are legally able to hold British, or Irish citizenship or both.

The reciprocal Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland ensure that the people of Northern Ireland are not required to choose and assert an identity, or to align their citizenship with their choice of identity, in order to access public services and other entitlements in the UK.

The Home Office intends to change the UK’s Immigration Rules so that family members of the people of Northern Ireland can apply for immigration status on broadly the same terms as family members of Irish citizens and will open the route as soon as delivery allows. This will enable the people of Northern Ireland to bring their family members to the UK on an equal basis regardless of whether they are British, Irish or both, and regardless of how they identify.

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