You can apply to become a British citizen by naturalization if you are a permanent resident in the UK (with indefinite permission to remain status). This, however, is contingent on various qualifying requirements. Although there are several advantages to becoming a British citizen, there are some things you should know about the procedure before you apply. This is what we’ll be discussing in this article:
- Know Your Eligibility Status
It is essential to first verify your eligibility for British citizenship. Only individuals who are at least 18 years old and are UK permanent residents can apply for citizenship by naturalization. As a permanent resident, you must have indefinite leave to remain or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme. It’s no different for those pursuing citizenship through marriage.
Parents or guardians can apply to register their children as British citizens if they are under the age of 18. Their birthplace and sponsors’ immigration status will determine their chances of getting approval.
To be eligible for British citizenship, you must have resided in the country for at least five years prior to applying. It’s different for citizenship by marriage, which only necessitates three years of residency, which is why it is the most popular option.
You must not have spent more than 450 days outside the UK throughout these 5 or 3 years. You must also not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months prior to submitting your application.
- Verify If You Can Have Dual Citizenship
Applying for British citizenship means applying for dual citizenship since you most likely are already a citizen of another country. This has its benefits, but not all governments allow it. Obtaining dual citizenship is difficult or impossible in many countries; Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands, Myanmar, Nepal, China, Laos, Indonesia, and Malawi are examples.
In these countries, you could lose your citizenship if you obtain citizenship in another country, although there are minor exceptions. For example, until a certain age – typically 22 years – citizens of Japan and Singapore can hold dual citizenship. Once they get to 22, they must choose one out of the two. Inability to make a choice at that time can result in loss of citizenship.
Citizens of the Netherlands can only be Dutch. Having Dutch citizenship also means having EU citizenship, but getting citizenship from another country, even if it’s an EU country, makes your Dutch citizenship void.
Your country may allow dual citizenship but have some regulations about it. Hence, you must confirm unless you’re willing to lose your first citizenship.
- Pros and Cons
With UK citizenship comes a British passport, which allows visa-free travel to many countries. If you desire to leave the UK, you can do so and return at any moment without any restrictions. You also get to vote in elections, and your children, including those born abroad, obtain British citizenship. These are the advantages.
There are also some downsides. First, as previously said, you may lose nationality in your home country if you become a British citizen. Also, the UK left the EU following Brexit. As a UK citizen, you can no longer travel freely to other EU nations with just your British passport. You’ll need to apply and get a visa.
- Pass The Proficiency Tests
To become a British citizen, you must pass two proficiency tests which include The Life in the UK Test and the English Proficiency Test. You can apply for the Life in the UK test using a valid passport, travel document with a photo, biometric residence permit, or card.
You need to know enough about living in the UK to pass the test. Applicants are advised to buy and study the £12.99 handbook. The test questions are based on the information in the handbook, and it requires a minimum 75% pass rate. If you fail the test, you can reapply and retake it as many times as you like.
Some UK permanent residents take the Life in the UK test before getting indefinite leave to remain status. If you’ve previously taken and passed the test, you don’t need to retake it when applying for citizenship.
- Hire an Immigration Lawyer
Applying for British citizenship involves much paperwork and documentation. This can be too much for you to handle, even if it looks easy on paper. Also, you are more likely to make mistakes if you manage the paperwork alone. As a result, it is preferable to work with a UK immigration lawyer highly experienced in handling the paperwork, documentation, and entire application process effectively.
There are many different routes to becoming a UK citizen, and it’s ideal to consider all available options to make the best choice. An immigration lawyer will dive deep into your case to uncover all of your citizenship options. They provide expert guidance which no doubt will positively influence your citizenship application.