Dual nationality and new biometric residence permit (BRP) in UK

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asked on Jul 20, 2016 at 07:49
by   HilaryT
edited on Jul 25, 2016 at 05:42
This is the situation, about indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and biometric residence permit (BRP). Not unique to me. I appreciate your responses and thank you!

Me with Malaysian passport. Got my ILR by marriage to British about 20 years ago. I've been working in UK all these while.

I applied BRP No Time Limit recently, as a contract employer did not want to recognise my ILR. So now I got BRP.

Having discussion with my family, it's time to have UK citizenship since all my assets are here. Brexit slightly relevant but keep Brexit out of this discussion.

So that's the background.

With the BRP, there's no use of the ILR. I think UK system has me with the BRP. If I show my old passport with the ILR at point of entry to UK, immigration will ask for my BRP.

If I have already got citizenship and British passport, I no longer have BRP, reason - it must be returned to home office when I got the passport / attended ceremony.

1. What passports do I use when enter and exit Malaysia when I already have British passport?

I know about messages here say using auto-gate on entry no problem but:

- I went back last month. When LEAVING KLIA I used auto gate. The system did find my details but said something like cannot process, go to see immigration officer. I thought reason maybe because my passport renewed in UK only very recently. Officer checked and asked something like you are studying etc., I said ya, and words to the effect: but that's some years ago. I feel it does not really matter what I said so long it does not catch me out. Is this to do with data not connected up for passports renewed very near to travel?

- Another thing, on the same trip, when ENTERING KLIA I could not use auto-gate because they were not ready, too early in the morning? So it was manual passport check, in fact had to wait about 5 minutes for the only officer to set things up. Is it because of this manual step, that then caused the EXIT auto gate to tell me to use manual exit?

- On exit at boarding gate, they check your passport again, what they are looking for, is it whether you have visa in the case of Malaysian passport holder? On some previous exits, they asked me if I am studying or working, so I answer that working. If I answer study, will they look for valid visa? Or they look for something else, illegal people, smugglers, traffickers etc., so asking to see your passport is just a way to try to catch you out?

- The fact if I show my old passport with the ILR, if they know the 'new' one that is BRP, they will want to see that. Of course, I can argue that so far I never need to do that because I have never got to change employment, accommodation etc. has anyone done that and willing to share info?

- Do the officers know the exact detail of BRP specific to UK?

- Could some people shed some light on this aspect of exiting Malaysia airports and only show current passport, no need for showing visa/ILR, now specifically BRP?

2. It's not likely I can renew my Malaysia passport in UK High Commission, since they will ask for my ILR.

- Has anyone been asked by High Commission to show BRP instead of ILR when renew passport?

- I can renew my Malaysian passport in Malaysia. The scenario in this case is I use British passport to enter and exit Malaysia. It's all very convulated! If I enter with British passport, they are not going to ask have you other country's passport. If I enter or exit Malaysia with Malaysian passport and for any reason they find my British passport, then it will be bad news losing the Malaysian passport + citizenship (and bad record and maybe barred from entry for some time?)

I don't have a huge stake if I lose Malaysian passport. Just very annoying when I am multiple times in the minority in Malaysia and grew up fixated with holding on that to assert the point that the power is wrong to sideline people like me. I have strong connection to family in Malaysia so giving up the passport is a bit sour but not major. I know about Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H).

Anyone knows about progress with dual nationality in Malaysia?

I think you got what I am asking. The most important is what I think that the ILR is being phased out so showing the old passport with ILR is no longer valid. I can't show BRP because I will soon have British citizenship. How to keep Malaysia passport?

Thank you again!
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answered on Jul 20, 2016 at 23:06
by   Penang Orang
edited Jul 25, 2016 at 06:45
Let me try to put your mind at ease citing two situations, my niece and I.

Most of my Malaysian passports have been renewed at the Malaysian High Commission in London. I just show them my last Malaysian passport with the Cert Right of Abode. It tells them that I am not subject to immigration control. My excuse for not transferring:- I am ancient, it cost money and time, and scared of misplace or loss.

When I travel to Malaysia, I carry two passports, the current, plus the old Passport with the Cert of Abode. On return I just show the old passport as well. They tell me I should get the Certificate transferred and I humbly say OK, thanking them for the advice, which goes in side and comes out the other.

My niece, like many of my friends is in a similar situation to you. Her Malaysian Passport has a indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and when convenient she will convert it to No Time Limit. At the moment she is comme ci comme ca about converting. In fact she has just returned from ROME. Some of our friends have not bothered to transfer their old ILR vignette to a new passport, but just carry two passports. When they renew at the High Commission in London, they just show their old Passport with the ILR Vignette or stamp. Travelling to Malaysia is no problem. When exiting just show old ILR Passport if asked.. My niece works here, and when she goes to Malaysia which is often, she uses the Auto Gate or Manual which ever is convenient. I go once a year and do the same.. If you renew you Malaysian Passport in Malaysia, then it's easier. No need for this proof or that proof.

You have a BRP, with no time limit and an old passport with ILR in it. KEEP these like GOLD. When you renew at the High Commission in London, just show them both with your Malaysian Identity Card. Make sure you have copies ready to give them. I know ILRs are no longer issued, but those issued are NOT invalid.

Oh yes, if you have not already renewed your Malaysian IC, do it ASAP when you are next back in Malaysia. It only takes a day. All you need is your old IC plus your birth certificate as back up if necessary.

UK Citizenship. Malaysia does not condone Dual Nationality, but recognizes permanent resident (PR). Why apply for British Citizenship when, you are married to a Brit, and in your case, have the full rights of a British Citizen without the necessary papers... like my niece and I?

If you really want to apply for UK Citizen. Then do two things. First apply to the Home office at for a letter to confirm that you have NOT applied for UK Citizenship. Get the application form from the internet. Keep this letter for ever to show the High Commission in London if asked for as proof, together with you BRP and old Passport with ILR when renewing your Malaysian passport. 

Secondly, after you get the letter, apply for UK Citizenship by Naturalisation or just apply for a British passport, ipso facto, you are married to a Brit. I know of many that have two passports but only travel to Malaysia with their Malaysian passports.

I accept that travelling with a Malaysian passport in Europe etc can be a headache. Many of the immigration minions lack of knowledge is the problem.
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answered on Jul 21, 2016 at 05:52
by   A Malt Scot
edited Jul 25, 2016 at 08:12
I am married to a Malaysian Chinese. My wife has two passports. Her British Passport has her married surname and her Malaysian one is in her Chinese name mirroring her Malaysian IC. When we travel to Malaysia we use our UK Passports, but I carry her Malaysian Passport. She uses her IC for her banking etc. She still has her old Malaysian passports with ILR stamps transferred at Heathrow by the immigration officer. This simple transfer is no longer and she has to reapply which is expensive.

Our solution:- When in Malaysia she goes to Singapore or Bangkok to show she uses her Malaysian passport... in her Chinese name. If we need to stay in Malaysia longer than three months, we travel to Singapore and then come back with UK passports. She always renews her Malaysian passport in Malaysia, but still keeps her old Malaysian Passports showing Indefinite Leave to Remain. My wife's UK citizenship was automatic when she married me. No Biometric or No Time Limit conditions at that time. Having done some research, once you attain UK Citizenship you have to surrender your BRP so you cannot proof that you can stay in UK at the Malaysian High Commission in London, if you renew your passport there

Like you she has strong Malaysian connections. A time will come when our assets in Malaysia will diminish. She will let her Malaysian passport expire.  
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answered on Jul 21, 2016 at 10:38
by   HilaryT
edited Jul 25, 2016 at 08:23
Thanks for the replies.

Penang Orang: Am already going apply British citizenship. I got what you say about letter that you have not applied for citizenship. My naturalisation appointment is so near now it's a bit late to do that. Okay okay I should have done it earlier (I knew about it from this forum), oh well never mind!

Also what you said about manual / auto gate is helpful.

A Malt Scot: What you said is a line of thought I have - entry and exit to Malaysia using British passport, and renew passport in Malaysia. I am more keen to keep the passport rather than wanting to use it, so long I can renew it. I don't mind enter with a 'foreigner' passport. I just got to make sure I plan my journeys well with which passport to use, plus do some regional visits...

'Once you attain UK Citizenship you have to surrender your BRP so you cannot proof that you can stay in UK at the Malaysian High Commission in London, if you renew your passport there' - I am a bit mmm ahh well... about this because like 'Penang Orang' said ILRs issued remain valid so you could argue at London High Commission that you never needed to apply for BRP because I have never changed job, accommodation such that I require to use BRP. Anyone else can enlighten this? It's so scary to even try this in High Commission so I may not even try. So this is becoming 'theory': has anyone managed to renew their passport in High Commission using old passport with ILR, and they don't ask for BRP, but you actually have British citizenship and passport?
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answered on Jul 21, 2016 at 21:51
by   Brexit voter
edited Jul 25, 2016 at 08:27
Sorry, seeking answers to two different questions.

1. Is a Malaysian married to an Englishmen subjected to UK immigration control?
2. If not, does the Malaysian High Commission in London recognise the Marriage Certificate as proof of UK permanent resident (PR)?
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answered on Jan 19, 2017 at 08:21
by   Orang
edited Feb 26, 2017 at 08:20
Hey guys, I have heard from someone that in recent year (maybe since 2016) after you apply for British citizenship, when you granted your British citizenship successfully, home office will cut off your Malaysia passport (like how expired passport been cut off) before return it to you. Then your Malaysia passport couldn't be used anymore. Is that true?
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answered on Feb 21, 2017 at 00:34
by   cendol
edited Feb 26, 2017 at 08:22
It's getting tougher now for those who hold dual nationality of the UK and Malaysia.
It looks like, once you turned British citizen they'll cancel off your UK ILR Biometric card 

I have always been travelling in and out Malaysia with only SINGLE passport (Malaysia) with an ILR stamp on it. No autogate and no transit for me, as I'm travelling with two toddlers; normally just direct flight.

Nevertheless, I do not want to risk it if Malaysia side starts to x-ray my bags or whatsoever and managed to find my British Passport. I have been questioned before from an officer at the departure gate on the purpose flying to UK; I simply just answered, live and work there and flashed my ILR stamp, no further questions asked.

Recently, I have couple of friends had their Biometric cards confiscated on the spot (in Jan and Feb 2017) at the entry point of London Heathrow airport and they were asked to ALWAYS travel with their British Passport instead. I have not been home since early 2016, so now I'm a kinda worry whether at the entry point of London Heathrow, will they void or cancel my old ILR stamp on the spot knowing me that I'm already a British citizen?

Anyone experienced in their recent travels?
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answered on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:57
by   MLondon
edited Mar 13, 2017 at 08:46

Did you get an answer to your question? I have the same question as well.

Anyone out there care to help? Thanks.
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answered on Mar 8, 2017 at 02:46
by   cendol
edited Mar 13, 2017 at 08:47

Nope I'm still waiting for an answer.

Now I'm in the dilemma whether to travel with both passport or take a chance just to travel with my vignette ILR stamp on my expired Malaysia passport. Hopefully they don't void it at the entry point.
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answered on Jun 30, 2017 at 03:24
by   blondesundoll
I would travel with both passports. When you arrive in Heathrow just go through the auto-gate using ur British passport.
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answered on Jul 3, 2017 at 10:18
by   ice kachang
@blondesundoll, your suggestion of carrying two passports is risky. Chips on biometric passports are readable and can be detected.  If caught you will loose your Malaysian Citizenship. It's a risk you take
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