Renouncing citizenship

To renounce to one’s citizenship is a decision that has substantive legal consequences from a rights of the child perspective.

Such a decision might be a prerequisite if an individual wants to acquire the citizenship of a country that does not allow dual-citizenship. To avoid statelessness, most often proof of another citizenship is required. Eleven Member States establish a minimum age after which children must give their consent before their citizenship can be renounced pursuant to a parental request.

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Key aspects

  • In the Netherlands, a child’s nationality can only be renounced pursuant to a parental request with the child’s consent from the age of 12 onwards. In six Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), the age for consent is set at 14 years. In the Czech Republic and Finland, the age is 15 years; in France and Poland, the age is 16 years.
  • In 15 Member States (Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom), the child’s consent is not required for renunciation of citizenship. However, in some Member States, the child is heard by the court on the issue from a certain age onwards – for example, in Germany and Hungary, from the age of 14 years.