British Citizenship Lawyers in London

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Apply for British Citizenship in London

Are you looking to apply for British Citizenship and need advice from experienced British Citizenship lawyers in London?

If you need help with your application, Master Legal Services is an expert team of London based British Citizenship solicitors and advisors providing comprehensive British Citizenship services. For further information on how our immigration specialists can help, feel free to contact our office to speak to an expert on 020 8935 5205 or via Whatsapp on 07710987064

What is British Citizenship?

The process of getting British citizenship is known as “Naturalisation“. It is a status given to non-UK residents that can meet the required criteria. Many people often confuse naturalisation with applying for a British passport and presume that you can apply for a British passport after you have been granted settled status. This is not the case. You must have British nationality to be able to apply for a British passport. 

Hence, if you currently have settled status, permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain and meet the requirements, you can apply for British citizenship and our experienced British Citizenship Lawyers in London can certainly help.

Why apply for British citizenship?

You may be asking yourself “What are the advantages of having British citizenship?”. According to the British Nationality Act 1981 citizens of other countries can get British citizenship through the process of naturalization or registration, provided that they meet the relevant criteria. Our British Citizenship lawyers in London point out that with a British passport, you will have the following rights:

  • Permanently live in the UK.
  • Work and study without restrictions in the UK.
  • Enjoy the benefits of a stable society and economy.
  • Take part in the UK electoral process.
  • Stand for the public office.
  • Enter without a visa to the territory of some other countries.
  • Receive free healthcare treatment.
  • Pass the benefits of citizenship to your children.

What should you know before applying for British Citizenship?

If you meet the British nationality requirements, you may be able to apply for British Citizenship. In this section, our London based British Citizenship solicitors will give you an insight into what you need to know before applying to help you be prepared.

1. Who qualifies for British Citizenship?

So, who is eligible for British Citizenship? You may be eligible to apply for British citizenship if you meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years old or over;
  • you’re of good character
  • you meet the residency requirements;
  • spent less than 450 days outside the UK during 5 years or 270 days during the three-year residence period if married to a British citizen;
  • have not been absent for more than 90 days in the last 12 months;
  • had a settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’), permanent residence status in the UK for the last 12 months;
  • you are planning to reside in the UK;
  • you’ve passed the English Language Test (unless exempt);
  • you’ve passed the Life in the UK test (unless exempt);

Presence in the UK at the start of the 5 year qualifying period

The applicant should be physically present in the UK counting 5 years backwards from the date when the application is due to be submitted. For example, if you decide to submit the application on the 1st of August 2015, your should have been present in the UK on the 1st of August 2010.

The updated Immigration policies should be checked before starting your application, do get in touch with our British Lawyers in our London office for a free initial assessment.

What documents do i need to apply for British citizenship?

Our British Citizenship London Lawyers will need you to provide sufficient documentary evidence of your residence in the UK to qualify for naturalization. These documents may include your academic qualifications, economic activities, evidence of your relationship if married to a British citizen and others.

It is important to provide evidence of your stay in the country for the past three or five years and in the case of the EEA nationals, it is six years. So it becomes imperative that your presence in the country be properly documented if you are to boost your chances of getting British citizenship . That is the only way the Home Office can know what you have been up to for the past few years. Part of your documentations also includes all your academic qualifications and economic activities. People often leverage our British Citizenship services in London to ensure that everything is in the right order.

If you are trying to acquire British citizenship by marriage, which means you are seeking naturalization on the basis of civil partnership or marriage with a British national, it becomes important that the evidence of your relationship be produced. This can come in the form of a marriage certificate. 

Stay updated

Immigration rules are regularly changing so it is very important to make sure that your receive up to date advice before applying for your British Citizenship. It is why we recommend you to book a free initial assessment with our British Citizenship Lawyers in London, who will ensure that you receive the most up to date information to apply for British citizenship.

When can I apply for British Citizenship?

People often forget this but it is necessary that your application should be received on the day you are present in Britain at the on-set of the 5-years-period. In explanation, if you submit your application on the 1st of August 2015, your compulsory presence in the country starts counting from the 1st of August 2010 and for civil partners and spouses, it starts from the same date in 2012. Before starting your application, do contact our British Citizenship Solicitors in London for a free initial assessment.

When can I apply for a British passport?

If your application for naturalisation as a British citizen is successful, you’ll be invited to attend a Citizenship Ceremony. At the ceremony, you’ll make an oath of allegiance or an affirmation and a pledge, promising to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. Then, you’ll be presented with your Certificate of British Citizenship. Thereafter, you are eligible to apply for a British passport. Once the application and supporting documents are submitted, it can take up to 6 weeks for your first adult UK passport to be ready, though in some cases, it may take longer.

This application can be completed online or using a paper form, and our London based British Citizenship lawyers can certainly help you navigate the complexity of the legal jargon. All other types of applications like renewal or getting a UK passport for a minor may take around three weeks. If you fail to fill in the forms correctly, have not provided relevant documents the process can take longer or be refused.

How long does the application for British citizenship take?

We are often being asked, “How long does it take to get British Citizenship?”. Naturalisation applications usually take between 2 – 6 months before a decision is made. It should be noted that there is no option of Premium service available for British Citizenship applications.

Can I apply 28 days early?

You must wait until you have completed the full 12 months of having settled status or indefinite leave to remain to apply for naturalisation. If you submit your application before completing the 12-month period, the application may be refused.

However, if you are married to or civil partner of a British national you are eligible to apply for naturalisation immediately after you have been granted settled status, indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence.

When is the British Citizenship application refused?

  • Failure to submit sufficient or adequate documents;
  • Having a criminal record or failing to meet good character requirements;
  • Spending too many days outside the UK;
  • Not meeting other requirements.

For this reason, it is always best to speak to one of our London based British Citizenship solicitors and lawyers, who can assess your particular circumstances. At Master Legal Services we will provide you with a free initial assessment on your British Citizenship application, advise you how to proceed, and provide a thorough document checking service.

How much does it cost to get British Citizenship?

The current application fee for the naturalisation application to the Home Office is £1,330. Please note that if you make a mistake and/or fail to submit the right documents, your application will be refused and the Home Office will not refund the fee. Our experienced British Citizenship team of lawyers, solicitors and advisers offers a free initial assessment to help you navigate the jargon before submitting your British citizenship application form. If you require more info on the British citizenship fee or asking yourself “what is the cost of British citizenship?” then do get in touch with our immigration advisors.

How to get British Citizenship by Investment

The Home Office has stated that The Tier 1 Investor Visa category is for high net worth individuals making a substantial financial investment in the UK”.

The amount of investment will be the determining factor of the long-term status of the investor in the UK. When investing in the UK, many investors are often giving consideration to getting British citizenship through investment. The application for British Citizenship by Investment can be very complex, muddled by technical jargon and conflicting immigration advice. Fortunately, our affordable British Citizenship Lawyers and Solicitors in London are in hand to provide you with a free initial assessment on your British Citizenship by investment application.

The £2 million must have been held for 5 years to qualify for indefinite leave to remain and then 12 months should pass by to apply for naturalisation.

The applicant will be eligible for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa if they meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  • The applicant is a non-EEA or Switzerland national (who is over 18 years old)
  • Invests at least £2,000,00 into the UK
  1. The minimum investment of  £2,000,000  will allow the investor to apply for ILR  after 5 years
  2. Investment  of  £5,000,000, will  make the investor eligible for ILR after 3 years.
  3. Investment of £10,000,000 will allow the investor to be eligible for ILR after only 2 years.  

It should be noted that the investor will also be subject to the relevant eligibility criteria of naturalization. However, it is apparent that this route into citizenship is more hassle-free than any other route into the UK. The Tier 1 visa advantages includes: 

  1. No English Language requirement;
  2. No maintenance fund requirement;
  3. Tier 1 Investor is able to work, study and engage in business activities in the UK; 
  4. Essentially, the higher the investment, the sooner they can settle in the UK; 

The investor is also required to give due consideration to where they are investing. The Immigration rules are clear in stating that  the funds needs to be invested in  “UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies”.

It should be emphasized that investing in property will no longer be considered an eligible investment in accordance with the Immigration Rules. This was removed from the scope of investment in 2014. There are still many investors who have this misconception. This is one example of why employing our professional and affordable British Citizenship services in London will help you to better navigate the complexity of applying for British Citizenship.

Can EU Citizens apply for British Citizenship?

To begin with, it is worth noting that the United Kingdom has already outlined proposals for ‘settled status’ for European Union National living in the UK. Settled Status is applied to those ordinarily resident in the UK and also those without any immigration restriction on the length of your stay in the UK.

For the European Economic Area Citizens who have already secured their permanent residency since Brexit, they will also be required to register for ‘settled status’.  The Settled Status will not apply to those who are exempt from immigration control like Diplomats, those who have a limit on the length of their stay in the UK or those who have a type of British passport that does not give them British Citizenship.

However, this is still a proposal and is subject to change depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. At the end of the day, a lot of European citizens remain curious about what the final provisions will be and how it will affect them. At this point, those who are likely to be more affected by this proposal are those who married other European Union citizens and those with low skilled jobs; and that is are just the beginning. To be very honest, it might simply affect all of EU nationals who currently live in the United Kingdom. With the knowledge that the Spouse Visa and Tier 2 Visa will not be available to them, the questions right now are – what options do they have and which visa options will be available to them?

At the moment, there’s no need for panic because EU Nationals currently residing in the United Kingdom have several options to choose from. We encourage you to visit our British Citizenship lawyers in London, Chancery Lane for a free initial consultation before applying for your British Citizenship.

Can EU Nationals apply for Permanent Residence?

First thing you’ll need to know moving forward is that after staying in the United Kingdom for 5 lawful years, as a European Citizen, you automatically acquire Permanent Residence – so that’s good news. This is a major pre-requisite before getting British Citizenship. The next step is to understand that an application for Permanent residency will not only require a number of document but can be complex; this is where people usually get deterred, but once you realize that completing this application will bring you one step closer to your British Citizenship and peace of mind in the face of the ever changing legal landscape, completing the application will be a piece of cake.

For another piece of good news, the application for Permanent residency only costs £65, an undoubtedly small price to pay for a decision that will affect the rest of your life. With permanent residency, you can remain in the United Kingdom with no restrictions and you can leave and return as whenever you’d like without worry deportation; however, you are not allowed to leave the country for more than two years at a stretch if not your Permanent Residency will be lost. Our British Citizenship London Solicitors will provide you with a free initial assessment should you require to.

Can EU nationals be naturalised as British citizens?

As our experienced British Citizenship Lawyers and Solicitors find, the question on almost every EU Nationals’ mind is how to apply for British Citizenship. Thankfully, we have the answers.

First of all, you’d need to set some money aside because the Home Office fee costs £1,300 to secure British Citizenship. At the moment, there are no separate rules regarding naturalization for EU and Non-EU citizens due to the British Nationality Act of 1981. As a result, these applications are not affected by the Immigration Rules and European Regulations. Regardless of Nationality, every single applicant is expected to meet the same requirements when applying for the British Citizenship.

So, who can apply for British citizenship? You are eligible to apply and receive naturalization as a British citizen if you have lived in the United Kingdom for 6 or more years. However, during your time, you must have been exercising Treaty Rights, which simply means you should have been a student, working or been self-employed.

You are also required to meet the residence requirement which will evaluate your number and length of your exit and absences from the United Kingdom during the past six years. It will also assess where you intend to reside after making the applications.

Do EU Nationals Need to Take the Life in the UK Test for British Citizenship?

Another step in the application for British Citizenship process will be to pass the Life in the UK test. The test will not take up much of your time – it costs £50 and has 24 questions with 45 minutes to complete it. Before you can write the test, you must book online at least 3 days in advance. There are about 60 Centres in the United Kingdom to choose from. The Life in the United Kingdom test is an integral part of your application and it is based on the Life in the United Kingdom handbook. If you are over 65 years old, you’d be delighted to learn that you don’t have to take the test.

Do ALL EU Nationals Need to Take the English Language Test for British Citizenship?

You can either pass an approved test or have an approved degree from a majority English speaking country. Another option to bypass this test is to be a national from an approved majority English speaking country.

What are the British citizenship requirements for “Good Character”?

To acquire your British Citizenship, you need to meet the Good character Guidance. This might seem like a minute requirement but it is among the important enough reasons for refusal of British citizenship, as our London based immigration solicitors often find. Good Character guidance requires you to not have any recent or serious criminal convictions. You should also not be bankrupt at the time of assessment. You are also expected to divulge if you have been subject to the risk of sexual harm order, foreign travel order, sexual offenses prevention order, and notification order. Any Drunk driving offenses should be disclosed as well.

This also applies to the family members of the European citizens applying for British naturalization. The reason for this is simple; their legal entitlement to stay in the UK depends on their EU family member exercising their rights under the European Regulations. For this reason, the government should be aware of any family members that could be potentially problematic.

What Happens Once all the Requirements for British Citizenship are Met?

Our British Citizenship Lawyers find that once all the requirements for Naturalization have been met, obtaining your certificate is often much easier. This then allows you to apply for a British Passport. There are many benefits to having a British passport, the first of which is the fact you don’t need to apply for a visa every time you need to make a trip. The British passport allows visa-free travel to 173 countries which is why it is considered one of the most powerful borders in the world, if not the most powerful.

Another reason the UK passport will be beneficial is because you no longer have to prove your residence to the Home office on a regular basis. While the process might be somewhat tedious, there is no denying that it will be ultimately worth it.

Though Dual Citizenship is allowed in the United Kingdom, it is permitted in some countries so before you begin your application for British Citizenship, be sure to check the law regarding dual nationality in your country of origin.

One thing to keep in mind through all this is the fact that you should get on your British Citizenship application as soon as possible. With all the uncertainty in the political arena at the moment, you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you don’t have the United Kingdom if things change drastically from what they are now.

Will British citizens lose EU citizenship after Brexit?

If you’re a German citizen living in the UK or a French Citizen or Italian citizen or an EU citizen in general, you’ve no doubt asked yourself what would happen to you in the wake of Brexit. The flip side to that coin that UK citizens have also asked themselves what that means for them too, especially in regards to EU citizenship. Here’s what you need to know.

First of all, the fear is that UK citizens will lose the EU citizenship due to Brexit, which is why there is currently a petition underway to make EU citizenship permanent. However, our team of experienced immigration solicitors in London believes that the chances of this are unlikely.

First of all, as our British Citizenship lawyers and solicitors point out, petitions will need to get at least a million signatures from residents in at least seven European Union Nations – quite a task. But it is also understandable why many people will go through such lengths to try to change the law in place at the moment. The EU citizens grantees freedom of movement in the EU, it permits traveling and living anywhere in the EU, it also allows the holder to vote in elections in any European Union country as well as becoming a candidature in elections. One will also get consular help from any EU country in other parts of the world. Needless to say, it is easily understandable why UK citizens still want to maintain their EU citizenship in the Wake of Brexit.

The simple answer to that a treaty change problem, as with any major change in recent years – you need the law on your side. However, Brexit makes this unlikely; the simple fact that EU nationals will need dual citizenship to reside in the UK means the UK nationals need dual citizenship to reside in European countries – a double edged sword. There’s no way to implement change that would benefit the UK nationals without taking the impact of Brexit on EU nationals into account. At the moment, many details are being negotiated but nothing is finalized.

However, in a recent development, it was revealed that after the referendum, British Citizens were the third largest group to acquire EU citizenship. This ensures you that you are not alone in your quest to acquire dual citizenship.  14,911 Brits acquired German citizenship while a significant number opted for French, Belgian, and Austrian citizenship among others. The easiest way to acquire EU citizenship is throght familial links to a particular country; through a mother, father, or grandparent born there. Having an EU spouse is also a great way. One of the most common ways is to have been a resident for a substantial amount of time – usually five to ten years.

Even without the close type of connections mentioned above, there are other routes to take in getting the British nationality. For example – in Austria, if you were born in Wedlock before 1st September 1983 – you’re qualified for Citizenship, however, only if your father was an Austrian citizen at the time of your birth. Yes, acquiring Austrian citizenship is notoriously complicated. If you were born out of wedlock before 1st September 1983 then you become eligible if your mother was an Austrian citizen at the time of your birth. Marrying an Austrian citizen will not give you citizenship, instead you will receive Alien citizenship and this only comes after six years of residence in Austria.

For Italy, despite being abroad, you are entitled to citizenship if at least one parent is a citizen. The good news is that Italian Citizenship is passed down from parent to child with no limitation of generations so if you have an ancestor of Italian lineage, you’re in luck, as long as you can prove it.

For Germany, if your family lost their German passport due to religious or ethnic persecution during the Nazi era, then you’re eligible to reclaim your German citizenship. However, the regulations for these are quite strict and you may have to choose one country or the other.

For UK nationals, French Citizenship is a popular option as is Spanish and Portuguese Citizenship so its not surprising that their citizenship requirement is a little more demanding than other EU countries.

At the end of the day, the requirements for each EU country are different and you’d have to do deep dive research into the requirements of whichever country of your choice. As a UK citizen going through this process, you might find some solace in the fact that hundreds of thousands on both sides of the aisle are going through the exact same process as a result of Brexit. There is a little solace in the knowledge that you are not alone, however, rest assured that our team of experienced British Citizenship lawyers and solicitors in London will help you at every step of applying for British Citizenship should you decide to take our British Citizenship services in London.

I am an EU Citizen. Will my Child get British Citizenship?

Will a child automatically have British citizenhip at birth?

Our British Citizenship lawyers in London are often asked whether on birth a child receives British Citizenship automatically, or “will my child or baby have British citizenship?”. The answer to this question is that first to establish is if the child is British. The fact of the matter is that children born in the United Kingdom will automatically get British citizenship if one of the parents holds indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom or permanent residence at the time when the child was born. However different rules and regulations will normally apply depending on when the child was born. These rules apply in relation to how the HM Passport office sees the permanent residence nature of the parent.

Children born in the UK before 30 April 2006.

For the children born in the United Kingdom between the 2nd of October 2000 and 28th April 2006, they can only get a British passport if they can prove and provide evidence that is documentary in nature showing that one of the parents held with them a permanent residence. They can also prove that one of their parents helds indefinite leave to stay or enter the United Kingdom. This evidence must be in letter form from the department immigration or UK visas. The other form of evidence can be a passport with an endorsed Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE), No Time Limit (NTL) or an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The last evidence can be a Permanent Residence Card which is a document that certifies permanent residence.

As a result of the majority of the EU nationals never bothers to apply for these documentations, many children born during this period whose parents are EU national will not be able to be given British passports as their parents will not be able to give the documentations necessary. The parents would hence be required to make an application on their children’s behalf in order to register them as British nationals. Further information on this has been provided below, and as always do not hesitate to contact our British Citizenship Lawyers and Solicitors in London for a free initial assessment.

Children born in the UK, on or after 30 April 2006.

For the children who were born on or after 30 April 2006, they can get a British passport if they can give evidence that their parent has been staying in the United Kingdom and was exercising the Treaty Rights which means that they were either self-employed in the United Kingdom, working as a social worker or in some instances held a private medical insurance for a duration of five years at minimum before their birth.

The status of the parent would usually determine the evidence that will be needed. For instance, if the parent was a worker in the United Kingdom then what is needed is a letter from the employer and any relevant documentation to show that the parent was employed in the United Kingdom during the relevant duration. Such documentations may include pay slips or P60’s.

Children born to parents belonging to the A8 nations (Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia) which joined the European Union in 2004, in addition to the above documentations, the children will be required by the state to give a Worker Registration Scheme Card and Certificate which will show that a given parent was registered on these scheme.

This requirement by the government had a lot of repercussions, which led to massive press attention as a result of  denial of a massive number of A8 children’s applications of passport renewal. For majority of the families , providing such documentation was close to impossible as many as some might have lost the documentation while some may not be registered. Now more than ever, employing British Citizenship services from our experienced London based immigration lawyers will significantly improve your changes when applying for your child’s British citizenship.

EU children born in the United Kingdom who automatically are not born British.

For the children of EU whose parents have not finished five years residence in the United Kingdom on a continuous basis under the terms stipulated in the EU law before birth will not get British citizenship at birth. However, this group of children will be entitled to register as British nationals that is in accordance with section 1(3) of the British nationality Act 1981.

EU children born outside the UK 30 April 2006.

Many times our team of British citizenship lawyers in London comes across cases of families from the United Kingdom where the eldest among the children were not born in the United Kingdom while the younger kids of the family were born in the United Kingdom. For the younger children, they may acquire British citizenship at birth or the rough registration by automatic entitlement. For most of the parents, bringing the status of their eldest children to be in line with that of their younger brothers and sisters has always been a challange to them.

In this kind of a scenario which is very common, the children are normally registered discretely by the National Team caseworker who normally acts in the place of the Home Secretary. This power is normally exercised in accordance with section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981. In exercising this power, the caseworker must always put into consideration the guidance entitled, “Registration as a British citizen: children.”

Will children of Irish nationals get British Citizenship automatically?

For the children who have been born to Irish nationals who currently are residents in the United Kingdom, those kids will at birth automatically have British citizenship.

How can our British Citizenship Solicitors in London help?

The application for the British naturalization can be complex and it is easy for clients to make errors.  We have extensive experience in British Citizenship applications and provide a thorough assessment and document checking service so that you can be well informed on the best way for you to proceed with your British Naturalization application.

Master Legal Services with its team of highly skilled British Citizenship lawyers in London, and we can help you navigate the highly complex British Citizenship application process. Our team of professionals will supervise your British naturalization application throughout this process until you obtain your British passport.

What our British Citizenship services in London include:

  • Free initial assessment;
  • Precise examination of your case;
  • we provide our services in a quality and timely manner
  • High success rates;
  • Exclusive representation;
  • Tailored approach;
  • Application preparation and submission to the Home Office along with supporting documents;
  • Assistance to book biometric enrolment;
  • Regular updates on your case to keep you well informed;
  • Face to face and online consultations;
  • Support in different languages

FAQs

What is British Citizenship by naturalisation?

The question of what is naturalization as a British citizen has a simple answer. It means the acquisition of British citizenship by an individual who has held foreign citizenship. Through the process, non-British citizens are allowed to become citizens of Britain, given the right to come and go with ease and settle permanently in the country as long as they meet the UK citizenship application timeline. In a nutshell, British naturalization is the process of obtaining British citizenship status.

When you eventually acquire British citizenship, it will come with several rights and entitlements like the right to apply for a UK passport, the right to vote as well as the right to live and work within the shores of Britain, absolutely free from immigration control.

The only people who don’t need to apply for British citizenship are the ones who are British by descent, otherwise, you are required to make an application, proving that you are eligible for UK citizenship or naturalization. People who can submit applications are those who are spouses of British nationals or those who have met the required criteria for naturalization.

With all the process requirements – not least the British naturalization application fee – it becomes imperative for the applicants to approach the citizenship acquisition process with a good knowledge of what the Home Office wants to see in a successful application package. It is where our British Citizenship lawyers in London can really help streamline the process of applying for British Naturalisation and Citizenship.

What is the difference between ILR and British citizenship?

Our London based British Citizenship lawyers are often being asked about British citizenship vs. ILR differences. Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and British citizenship are two very different types of immigration status in the UK. It is important to understand the differences so that you obtain the correct migration status for your circumstances at the right time.

While being granted an ILR permits an individual to live, study as well as hold jobs in the United Kingdom, it is not the same as British citizenship. Holding an Indefinite Leave to Remain in Britain does not make one a UK citizen, thus such individuals are denied the right to vote and be voted for.  Immigrants who wish to adjust their current status and become nationals of the United Kingdom still need to fulfill certain requirements to qualify – most importantly, they need to wait a year or two from the date they were granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Our British Citizenship London Solicitors point out that people who are legally married to residents of the United Kingdom do not need to observe the additional time for waiting. In explanation, getting an ILR is a compulsory precondition for obtaining your UK passport. More important is the fact that ILR holders are at risk of losing their status if they spend above two years outside the shores of the UK. Conversely, British nationals are at liberty to embark on travels and spend as much time as possible overseas.

If you a non-EU national, who has been granted an indefinite leave to remain, you can lose that status if you spend more than two years outside the UK. If you have settled status, you can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status.

With British citizenship, you can enter and exit the UK without any restrictions.

What are the British Residency Eligibility requirements?

This is often referred to as the ‘residency requirements’ and is related to your physical presence in the UK. The residency requirements differ slightly for those who are spouse or civil partner of a British national and those who are not. Our British citizenship lawyers in London explain:

If you are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen

You must have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before making the application, have acquired Indefinite Leave to Remain and have not had more than 270 days outside the UK. Additionally, in the 12-month period before making the application you have not spent more than 90 days outside the UK.

If you are not married to a British citizen

The Home Office guidance states that you must have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before applying for naturalisation. In practice, you would have had to been in the UK for 6 year before making an application because you need 5 years residence in the UK to acquire settlement/ ILR and should have held this status for 12 months before you can apply to be naturalised.

The residency requirement regarding absences from the UK if you are not married to or the civil partner of a British national or settled person are:

  • you must not have had more than 450 days outside the United Kingdom in the five-year period, and
  • in the 12-month period before making the application, you have not spent more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom.

What residential requirements are necessary for naturalisation as a British Citizen?

British naturalization qualifications come with two routes – the 3-year and 5-year routes. Next, our British citizenship lawyers in long deep dive into this topic.

What is the 5-year route for British Naturalization ?

  • The person applying must have been a UK resident for at least 5 years – this period is called the residential qualifying period.
  • Before your application date, you must have been around for 5 years.
  • Within the stipulated five years, the person cannot spend above 450 days outside the borders of the UK.
  • During the last year of that 5 year period, the person should not spend over 90 days outside the UK Economy.
  • During the five year period, the applicant must not be in breach of the Immigration Rules at any level.

In the case of the EEA nationals their own qualification period is 6 years.

What is the 3 year route for British Naturalisation?

On the other hand, being the civil partner or spouse of a British citizen gives an individual eligibility to apply after three years in the United Kingdom; the necessary requirements are listed below;

  • You must have been a UK resident for at least three years before tendering your application.
  • During those three years, you should not exceed 270 days outside the shores of UK.
  • In the last one year, you must not spend more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom.
  • You must have been granted permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain.
  • Have never broken immigration laws during your stay in the UK.

When does the Residential qualifying period for British Citizenship starts?

This is one of the most often misconceptions our London based British Citizenship lawyers and solicitors need to clear off with clients. The residential qualifying period starts from the day UKBA receives the application from the individual. A person’s application may be unsuccessful if it is found out that he or she is not present in the UK at the commencement of the residential qualifying period. As an applicant, you must make sure you meet the entire requirements before applying.

Any time spent in the UK while exempted from immigration control cannot be included in the residential qualifying period. The exemption from immigration control can happen when a person has spent time in detention, as a diplomat in the United Kingdom, part of the armed forces. These periods will be seen as absence from the UK when the UKBA assesses a person’s application.

When can I apply for British citizenship as an EEA national?

The residential qualifying period starts from the day UKBA receives application from the individual. A person’s application may be unsuccessful if it is found out that he or she is not present in the UK at the commencement of the residential qualifying period. As an applicant for British Citizenship, you must make sure you meet the entire requirements before applying.

Any time spent in the UK while exempted from immigration control cannot be included in the residential qualifying period. The exemption from immigration control can happen when a person has spent time in detention, as a diplomat in the United Kingdom, part of the armed forces. These periods will be seen as absence from the UK when the UKBA assesses a person’s application.

What is “Good Character” for British Citizenship?

You have been living in the UK for a sufficient period of time, working, developing business, studying, paying all the taxes. You are currently in Great Britain possessing one of the following: permanent residence, indefinite leave to remain, settled status. You are eligible to apply for British Naturalisation.

All these factors are definitely important, but one cannot be confident about the successful outcome of your British naturalisation application if any doubts regarding their good character arise. “Good character” section may sometimes be more important than any other group of questions.

There is no exhaustive list of good character requirements and the application could be rejected due to even minor breaches, leading to one’s failure in being admitted to British citizenship. The Home Office Guidance on Good Character Requirements dated 14 January 2019 focuses on the following new sections: good character requirement to minors, absolute and conditional discharges, detention and training orders, extremism, deportation orders, NHS debt, failing to pay litigation costs, as well as adds details regarding overseas convictions, fixed penalty notices, non-compliance with immigration requirements, notably overstaying, absconders and illegal working, humanitarian protection, genuine mistakes.

Due to The Migration Observatory investigation data, up to 40% of refusals in granting UK citizenship are related to the fact that the applicant does not meet good character requirements.

When we speak about the so-called “obvious reasons” like terrorism or other categories of international crimes, financial affairs or violating immigration rules, the situation is clear – do not wait for positive decisions! But it sometimes happens that a person’s British naturalization application is rejected unexpectedly. The decision, whether the breach is minor or serious, depends upon the caseworker considering the application.

It is necessary to keep in mind that all criminal convictions are taken into consideration, those committed in the UK and abroad. Even if a sentence is completed, a person will have to wait the established period of time in each particular case before applying for citizenship with no guarantee of UK citizenship to be granted.

Non-payment of a fine, multiple fixed penalty notices, unpaid council tax, bankruptcy or liquidation assume bad character as well as any breaching of immigration law within 10 years prior to your British citizenship application. This includes overstaying, working illegally, sham marriage, cheating in the “Life in the UK” or English Language tests. The application will also be under threat if your behavior puts public order at risk.

Providing any false details, deception, dishonesty or an attempt to conceal the truth will ultimately lead to refusal.

As mentioned before, there is no distinctly and precisely formulated list of good character requirements. Nevertheless, these criteria remain very important while considering your British naturalisation application; almost half of the British naturalisatrion applications in the UK are refused as the good character requirements are not met, even if all other points seem to be due and satisfactory.

A checklist for “Good Character” Requirements

The good character requirement applies to anybody over the age of ten who applies for naturalization or registration as a British citizen. To meet the good character requirement you should have shown respect for the freedom and rights of the United Kingdom.

As mentioned before, there is no distinctly and precisely formulated list of good character requirements. Nevertheless, these criteria remain very important while considering the British citizenship application; almost half of the British naturalisation applications in the UK are refused as the good character requirements are not met, even if all other points seem to be due and satisfactory.

You might not be considered to of good character if you:

  • Have not respected and/or are not prepared to abide by the law.
  • Have been involved or associated with war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, terrorism or other actions that are considered not to be beneficial to the good.
  • Have not had your financial affairs in appropriate order, for example, you have failed to pay the taxes for which you were liable.
  • Your activities were notorious and cast distrust on your standing in the local community.
  • Have been deliberately dishonest or deceptive in your dealings with the UK Government.
  • Have been involved in evasion of immigration control.
  • Have been previously deprived of citizenship.

However, as our London based British Citizenship lawyers and solicitors point out, having a criminal record does not necessarily mean that your British citizenship application will be refused:

  • If you have been given a sentence of 4 years’ or more of imprisonment – Your application will be normally refused, regardless of when the conviction occurred.
  • If you have been given a sentence between 12 months’ and 4 years’ imprisonment- Your application will normally be refused unless 15 years have passed since the end of the sentence.
  • If you have been given a sentence up to 12 months’ of imprisonment- Your application will normally be refused unless 10 years have passed since the end of the sentence.
  • If you have been given a non custodial sentence (a fine) – Your application will normally be refused if the conviction occurred in the last three years.
  • Receiving either a Fixed Penalty Notice, Penalty Charges Notice &/or Penalties Notices for Disorder do not form part of a person’s criminal record unless: You have failed to pay and there were criminal proceedings as a result; or you received numerous fixed penalties notices which suggest a pattern of behavior, thus putting into question your character.

Financial Soundness

This area of the British naturalisation application considers whether an applicant’s financial affairs where in appropriate order. The caseworker dealing with your application will consider the following when analyzing your financial trustworthiness.

  • Bankruptcy
  • Liquidation
  • Debt
  • Dishonesty in relation to Public Funds
  • Non-payment of Council Tax

Parenting

A British Citizenship application where the evidence suggests that the parent’s behavior demonstrated that they were not of good character will normally be refused.

This is usually limited to the cases where the parents were complicit in criminal activity or were negligent in the dealings with the authorities.

Deceitful or Dishonest dealings with Her Majesty’s Government

A British Naturalisation application will normally be refused if there is evidence pointing to:

  • Dishonest information
  • Defrauding the benefits system
  • False data at earlier stages of immigration process
  • Failure to disclose convictions

Immigration related issues

A British Naturalisation application will normally be refused if there is evidence pointing to sham Marriages/Civil Partnerships and Marriages/Civil Partnerships of

Convenience

  • Abuse of the English Language and/or Knowledge of Life Test
  • Prosecution for False Statements
  • False Statements by Referees
  • Illegal Entry
  • Assisting Illegal Migration
  • Evasion of immigration control
  • Hiring Illegal Workers
  • Deprivation of Citizenship

What immigration time restrictions are needed to apply for naturalization as a British Citizen?

An individual need to be free from immigration time restrictions when he puts in an application for British naturalization. This should be evident during the last one year of the residential qualifying period, the only exception is if the person is wedded or is the civil spouse of a British Citizen.

An individual that is free from immigration time restrictions will have a sticker or stamp in his or her passport which states that he or she has indefinite leave to stay, enter, or no time limit to live in the UK. A letter or Biometric Residence Permit stating that the applicant is free from immigration conditions may be received from the Home Office by the applicant. Do get in touch with our British Citizenship solicitors in London for further information and an initial free assessment.

Can I travel when my British Citizenship application is still under consideration?

You can travel after submitting your British naturalisation application.

Previously, you submitted certified copies of your BRP and passport but now, it is required that you submit the original of your BRP together with the British citizenship application and this will definitely stop you from travelling. You will be able to ask for your BRP from the Home Office to be able to embark on travel.

Here our UK citizenship lawyers in London come to play, they act as your legal representatives who take the worry out of the process of naturalization, making it as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Everyone knows that if it is not handled in the right way, a naturalization petition can lead to a denial and may even cause deportation from the UK. So it is better for you to cough out the average cost of our British citizenship solicitors in London than to risk the whole process. While traveling contact your legal representatives because an interview may be set up for you even before the submission of the British citizenship application.

Once you have paid the lawyer fee for your British citizenship application, your case will be in the hands of our British citizenship London solicitors or lawyers who are experts in handling such matters. Remember, your British citizenship application lawyer fee will just be a token when compared to the loss you can possibly come across when you decide to go without the benefit that the legal process has to offer. To get the best British Citizenship lawyers in the UK you may need to go online to get their contact as well as enlist their services. When you get everything right, your request might even end up being approved and you will be left with limited time to get your citizenship ceremony arranged.

How are absences treated for UK Citizenship Application purposes?

The part where it is required that you detail your absence from the United Kingdom in the past few years is the first difficulty you are likely to encounter and this is dependent on which route you are taking whether 3 years or five years.

Residence Requirements section expects you to insert:

  • The exact date you left the UK
  • The date of your return.
  • Your destination.
  • Reasons for travelling.
  • No of days absent.

The last column that requires you to fill out the number of days absent can be a bit problematic. Applicants should know that the Home office does not consider the days you spent travelling when they want to get the number of days absent.

In explanation, an applicant who went for holiday to the Bahamas on the 1st of May 2012 and came back on the 15th May that same year, will have his number of days absent recorded as 13 and not 15. In the same vein, an applicant who travelled to France on the 23rd of March 2013 and returned the same day or even the next day will have his number of days absent recorded as 0 days. Though you will still be required to list the travel on the schedule. If you need help with your Brityish naturalisation application our British Citizenship lawyers in London will be more than happy to help.

Who can be a referee for British citizenship applications?

British citizenship referee is a vital part of the British naturalisation application. People who will stand as your referees have to be those that have known you for a period of three years at least. One among them can come from any nationality but must have a professional standing like police, accountant, chemist, etc.

Normally, the second person must be of British nationality and must have a British citizen passport. He may or may not be a professional person but his age must be above 25 years. The two referees must complete and sign the same page as you are not allowed to use two different pages; your passport must be attached to this page.

Can I pass over my British nationality to a spouse, partner, child or adoptive child?

We receive many questions like “Can you get British citizenship through marriage?”. Any offspring of a citizen of the UK or UK overseas territories citizen is likely to automatically acquire their parent’s citizenship at birth. If any of your family members are not automatically a UK citizen, the person can make a registration under one of several categories but the inherent rules can be very complicated. If it is a free initial evaluation, then you will be required to fill out the initial evaluation Form for yourself and for the child or spouse separately.

Most of the categories for child registration stipulate that the application be received before the child attains the age of 18. If you submit the application when the child is above 9, there must be evidence that the child is of good character and this is applicable in almost all the categories. The best approach is to assess the position and if needed, apply for registration on time and it is best done when the child is still below 16.

Right from 2003, you can acquire UK citizenship by registration through the mother of a child, this is applicable to individuals that were born before 1983. Whether their parents are alive or deceased. The rules you are likely to encounter here are complex, though rest assured that our British citizenship lawyers and solicitors in London will keep the application process as hassle-free as possible. It is also possible to process your registration when one parent had once lived in the UK or a resident of an overseas territory belonging to the UK, or was in government service of, and one grandparent was born in, the United Kingdom or an overseas territory belonging to the UK.

A child who is not eligible for registration can still register on a discretional basis or the registration can be done on the basis that the child in question is stateless. When an application is the discretionary type, you will need very strong, well constructed supporting arguments indicating continuing connections to the United Kingdom, the child’s plans or even human rights considerations. The spouse of a UK citizen or a UK overseas territories citizen may be able to get a UK citizenship or a UK overseas territories citizenship via a shorter than normal period of dwelling in the UK or a UK overseas territory, or occasionally government service. An offspring of a UK citizen which covers UK subject, UK Overseas citizen, UK National (Overseas), UK protected person may acquire citizenship by registration in an exceptional situation like a child’s state of statelessness

Can I lose my British citizenship if I apply for dual nationality?

Generally, Britain permits the use of dual nationality or citizenship; however, this comes with some necessary exceptions.

  • Any UK protected person or British subject who happens to acquire any other nationality or citizenship will likely lose his or her UK nationality.

Any UK citizen who acquires another passport or nationality will be susceptible to losing their UK citizenship

Can I renounce my British citizenship? Why renounce British Citizenship?

If you have made the decision to renounce your British citizenship, there is a form that you need to fill out in order to make a declaration. There is no other process that has an effect on British law, when you have succeeded in renouncing your UK citizenship, it may have some effect on where you travel to and where you can live. It comes with some long-term implications for both the applicant and the members of his or her family who must give very careful considerations before taking action.

Generally, renouncing your British citizenship will put an end to your UK passport as well as all consular protection formally enjoyed by the British government. In most cases, renunciation of your UK nationality puts an end to your residence in Britain, However, some exceptions exist for individuals born before 1983.

What Happens to EU citizens in UK after Brexit?

So what do we know about the Brexit EU citizens rights and how they are likely to change in the nearest future? What is now clear is that EU citizens after Brexit will have to leverage on the European Union settlement Scheme if they wish to stay after June 2021 and apply for Pre-Settled or Settled Status. They will not need the use of a visa to travel to Britain but they will have to get one if they have the intention to work. It also looks like they are not likely to be granted indefinite leave for continued stay in Britain with the present set up.

I’m a Citizen of the European Union. Can I live in the UK?

Yes, it is possible to stay in the UK even when the proposed Brexit deal comes to pass. If Brexit becomes a reality, Britain and Brussels have come to an agreement that European Union citizens are free to continue arriving, settling as well as working in Britain just like it is presently but this grace will only go as far as 31 December 2020. Our British Citizenship lawyers and solicitors in London detail the eligibility criteria below;

  • If you arrive in the UK before the afore mentioned date, you will be granted the right to apply for continued stay in the United Kingdom permanently.
  • This rule is also going to be applicable the other way round for UK citizens who are resident in the other 27 member European Union nations.
  • At the expiration of the cutoff date which is 31 December 2020 citizens of the European Union who wish to live and work in Britain would have to apply for a visa. But according to initial government proposals unlimited “low-skilled” European Union immigration will be allowed until 2025.

As it is at the moment, the issue of when the government of the United Kingdom will be in a position to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens in Britain is not very clear. The reason for their inability is that the agenda for Brexit negotiations is still pending and has not been agreed on. It is believed EU citizens are in for some preferential deals during the process of Brexit negotiation and the present prime minister is likely go for a work permit system for everyone. However, it is necessary to have some form of concession for European Union workers.

EU Citizens Rights In UK After Brexit –Can I apply online?

Yes it is very much possible to submit your application online; the scheme will work with many smartphones but not all, though it will not work with iPhone. According to the Home Office, they have created an online application which will be user-friendly as well as simple..

Applicants will be required to provide some information which include; biographical information, uploading of a facial photograph or passport and declaration of whether they have any past criminal records..

The only problem it seems to have is the fact that it will not be able to work on iPhones because Apple devices are not able to read the chips we have on passports. Individuals who posses only iPhones will have to look for alternative ways of applying like by post or better still they can apply through a desktop.

Duration the test phase, the only other way you can scan your documents is by going to one of the 13 ‘document scanning’ centers in the UK. One is located in Scotland and the closest to Penzance is located 200 miles away. According to the Home Office, it will be possible for applicants to make use of a postal service come April. However, the whole process seems long-winded, hence why it’s best to apply with the help of our immigration lawyers in London.

Can British Citizenship be revoked after divorce?

Your British Citizenship status following a divorce depends on whether your visa is based on your relationship. If your circumstances fit one of the below statements, then you will only have a limited time to stay in the UK after a divorce and will have to either apply for a new visa or leave the UK.

– If you are dependent on your partner’s UK visa
– If you are a partner on a ‘family of a settled person’ visa
– If you are the partner of a British citizen, an EEA national, a ‘settled’ person with indefinite leave to remain or someone with refugee status.

What is British Citizenship by double descent?

British Citizenship by double descent is where you may qualify for citizenship if one of your grandparents is British. There are a number of different scenarios in which a claim for citizenship may be relevant:

– If a child is under the age of 18
– An adult born after January 1st, 1949 – but this is dependent on a number of factors.
– An adult born before January 1st, 1949 – these can be complex cases and need to be assessed on an individual basis.

British Citizenship vs. nationality

The concept of citizenship vs. nationality can vary from country to country and can be a complex issue. In the UK, nationality essentially means you are a member of the state, it is acquired through birth or adoption, marriage or descent. British Citizenship focuses on the specific legalities between the state and the individual, granting them certain rights and responsibilities.

If you are a British Citizen, you can live and work in the UK without any immigration controls and you are also able to apply for a UK passport.

If you’re not sure if you are a British Citizen, you can check. It depends on where and when you were born and your parents’ circumstances at the time. You’re not necessarily granted British citizenship if you were born in the UK.

British citizenship vs. passport

A British Citizen can live and work in the UK, vote in the elections and move freely of any immigration controls. There are a number of requirements that have to be fulfilled to get citizenship and you can apply if you have the following:

– You are 18 or over
– You are of good character
– You continue to live in the UK
– Have passed the test on British customs
– Met the residency requirement
– Have lived in the UK exactly five years before the day the Home Office receives your application.

If you have a British passport, this doesn’t mean you are a citizen. A citizen can apply for a passport, alongside a range of people including overseas territories citizens, subjects, nationals (overseas) and protected persons.

British citizenship vs. residency

A UK resident is considered someone who resides lawfully in the UK and meets the requirements of the residence test. When permanent residence (also known as indefinite leave to remain) is granted, there are no longer any immigration restrictions on the work or business you do and there is no time limit to how long you live in the UK.

You can apply for a residence card if you from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland or if a family member/extended family member is a permanent resident or ‘qualified’ person, ie someone who is working, self-sufficient or studying in the UK.

If you are a British citizen, you have an automatic right to reside in the UK.

Once you’ve had permanent residence status for 12 months, you can apply for citizenship (unless you are married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen.)

When can your British citizenship be revoked/when is British citizenship revoked?

There are two routes that can be taken when British citizenship is revoked – Nullity or Deprivation.

Nullity occurs when the Home Office rules that the applicant was the intended individual to be granted with British Citizenship. This could be due to various factors, including:

– Provision of false information by the Applicant e.g. incorrect name, date of birth or nationality.
– The use of a false identity to gain citizenship.
– The use of someone else’s identity
– If the applicant was already British.

The alternative method is Deprivation and this can be enforced on the grounds of:

– Fraud
– False information
– Because it is deemed conducive to the public interest.

Numerous reasons will give the Home Office cause to deprive citizenship for the good of the public, including acts of terrorism, espionage, serious organised crime, war crimes or unacceptable behaviours.

An applicant can appeal before a Judge when revoked through Deprivation but not through Nullity.

Where to take British Citizen test?

There are 30 test centers across the UK where applicants can take the British Citizen test. All 30 centers are run by the official government service. The test needs to be booked at least three days in advance and costs £50. You choose the location for your test when you book it online. You will need an email address, debit/credit card, and an accepted form of ID to be able to book the test.

Which English test or exam for British Citizenship?

To become a British citizen you may need to prove your knowledge of the English language if you are 18 or over. There are some extenuating circumstances where those applying will not need to provide any certification, which includes where you are from, age, refugee status, and many other exemptions but for the majority, they will need to have either an English qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level or a degree taught or researched in English.

If you are searching for ‘what is British citizenship test’ we can explain. After completing the above steps, you have to take the Life in the United Kingdom test. If you’re not sure what the British Citizen test is, you have to answer 24 questions in 45 minutes, based on the information provided in the Life in the United Kingdom handbook. There are lots of online sites that provide you with the opportunity to practice before sitting on the actual test. To pass the test, you need to score more than 75%. You will then receive a unique reference number that the Home Office will use to check your citizenship/settlement application.

Get in touch today for a free initial consultation!