The UK is weathering a difficult period of time at the moment, as international trade difficulties meet internal conflicts and a global trend of rising inflation to create a perfect economic – and constitutional – storm. Many commentators have begun to shift their opinions on Brexit, seeing it as a chief cause for rising costs and infrastructural difficulties.

Indeed, despite having already been litigated, Brexit remains a fresh concern for many citizens – or, should that be ex-citizens? According to a recent report by the Independent, the number of people renouncing their UK citizenship increased dramatically in the aftermath of the finalised withdrawal agreement. But why are people doing this, and what does it mean?

Why Renounce Your Citizenship?
To the uninitiated, the prospect of renouncing UK citizenship might seem unusual – but there are numerous reasons for which someone might undergo such a process. Typically, UK citizenship is renounced in favour of another country’s rules and legislation. For example, a person with dual UK and Singapore citizenship are unable to own property in Singapore, without first becoming a full Singapore national.

The Brexit Issue
The elephant in the room, though, is Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The 2016 referendum was a fractious one for the nation, and one won out by “Leavers” with a narrow margin. The outcome was a controversial one – and, since the 2016 vote, public attitudes towards Brexit have indeed shifted – but the withdrawal process began nonetheless, mandated by a meagre margin.

One of the major outcomes of Brexit was the ending of freedom of movement – both for EU citizens into the UK, and for UK citizens in the EU. This freedom was one of the more valued aspects of membership in the EU, and a driving factor for many Brexit protests. The end of freedom of movement has created difficulties for those with dual nationalities or citizenships – and precipitated a spike in applications to renounce UK citizenship in order to keep EU-based rights of passage.

Various negative impacts were also theorised by politicians and economists before the withdrawal process began properly, including the raising of barriers to trade and resultant increases in the cost of goods. Many of these predictions were proven correct following the official date of withdrawal, exacerbated by the impact of global events such as the coronavirus pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine; together, these have led to a palpable fall in quality of living for many in the UK, and an increased interest in taking legal steps to living abroad for better prospects.

The Renouncement Procedure
But how does one go about renouncing their UK citizenship? The process is in fact rather simple; there is an online form for you to fill in, which requires the submission of relevant documents to confirm your declaration. There is also a cost attributed to renouncing your citizenship, amounting to £372. Crucially, you can only renounce your citizenship if you are already a citizen elsewhere, or intending to become a citizen elsewhere.