Blacks Solicitors’ specialist Immigration team regularly provide advice to individuals looking to apply for British Citizenship.
Acquiring British Citizenship is the ultimate goal for many. Most applicants obtain Citizenship through a process called ‘naturalisation’, whilst others seek to register as British on the basis of their parent’s nationality or status in the UK.
Naturalisation – The Residence Requirement
One of the key requirements of naturalisation is the ‘Residence Requirement’ which is comprised of various elements:
- You must have been legally resident in the UK for at least five years at the point of Application (or three if married to a British Citizen)
- You must not exceed the permissible number of absences over the three/five year qualifying period
- You must have held Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence for at least one year, unless married to a British Citizen (in which case you just need to hold this status at the time you apply to naturalise)
- If you are relying on a right of Permanent Residence then you must hold a Permanent Residence Document (PRD)
- You must be physically present in the UK on a date five years before the date of Application (or three years if married to, or a civil partner of, a British Citizen), and
- You must not have been in breach of immigration laws during the three/five years before the date of Application
Aside from the residence requirement, there are various other requirements to meet including English language skills, passing the Life in the UK Test, having good character, being over 18, have an intention to live in the UK, be of full capacity, and prove you have no outstanding tax or National Insurance liabilities.
EU Citizens and their Family Members
In November 2015 the law was changed so that any EU national, and their family member/s, has to hold a PRD before naturalising (under the EU Settlement Scheme, Settled Status is considered a PRD for the purposes of naturalisation).
This means that, for those without a PRD, the path to Citizenship is a two-stage process: apply for a PRD; and then apply for Citizenship.
There are two ways to get a PRD: apply for a PRD under the ‘old’ system, or apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
However, those who go for Settled Status will have to hold this for at least one year before being eligible to apply for Citizenship. In many circumstances, a PRD under the old system will enable an individual to apply for British Citizenship straight away.
Blacks’ Immigration team can advise you on the best route available to you and support you on the path to British Citizenship. For more information, or for a free no obligation discussion, please email or call Blacks’ Immigration team today on 0113 322 2842.