Citizenship and Living in the UK
British citizenship allows you to work and live permanently in the UK without any immigration issues. However, most people automatically become British citizens either by having a British parent, birth, or being born in the UK before 1983. If any of these apply to you, then you do not have to apply for citizenship. Instead, simply request a UK passport.
But for those who must apply for citizenship, you are required to follow the following steps:
Applying for a UK Citizenship
If you plan to work and live freely in the UK, consider applying for British citizenship first. The following steps will guide you when applying:
- Ensure you are eligible to register for British Citizenship
Five basic requirements can make you qualify for UK citizenship. These include:
- Age- In most countries, people are considered adults at the age of 18. Factually, the UK is no exception as you must be over 18 years to qualify for citizenship.
- Character- You are supposed to be free of any criminal records before becoming a citizen of the UK. This includes international crimes like terrorism, immigration issues, dishonesty, among others.
- Should Not Be Living Outside the UK- Before you can become a British citizen, it is significant to have been lawfully present in the UK for at least five years. On the other hand, foreign spouses are required to reside in the country for 3 years lawfully.
Additionally, you must not be living outside the country for more than 3 months during your last 12-month eligible period.
- Must Present Evidence in English Fluency- Mostly, you are supposed to prove your knowledge in English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic by undergoing a B1 level test. Conversely, you can present a degree taught in English, though the evidence may not make you eligible at times.
- Must Pass the Life in the UK Trial- Life in the UK trial is a computer-based exam consisting of 24 questions covering topics like British traditions, history, values, and everyday life. Passing the test means that you comply with all British customs and beliefs.
- Choose an Application Method
After checking if you meet all UK citizenship requirements, the next step will be choosing the best method to apply. There are two ways in which you can do this. They include:
- Register Via Individual Means
Suppose you choose to apply through individual ways. In that case, you must first fill a form AN, where you will be required to provide details like proof of residency, employment, and biographical data. Moreover, it is the most convenient and simple way as it allows you to register from the comfort of your home.
- Register Through Agents or Representatives
You can use a private company to help you with your application process. However, always check if the company is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OICS).
Additionally, you can still use solicitors that are not registered under OICS including, Law Society of Scotland, General Counsel of the Bar, Law Society of England and Wales, Faculty of Advocates, Law Society of Northern Ireland, General Counsel of the Bar of Northern Ireland and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
- Provide biometrics
Mostly, you will be asked to make an appointment at UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS), where you can submit your biometrics. You are required to have a digital photo of your face and put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned for fingerprints.
However, if you applied through individual means, then you can scan the copies and upload them to your online service.
Moreover, it will cost you around 19.20 euros to provide all biometrics if you apply within the UK. However, if you apply outside the UK, then the cost will be included in your application fee.
- Wait for Approval
After sending all your details to the right destination, then the next step is to wait for a decision from the UK Visas and Immigration. Mostly, the approval period may take between 3-4 months. Simple applications can be decided within 2 months, while the more complex cases can take up to 6 months.
However, the decision period can differ depending on the Home Office’s caseload.
- Take Part in a Citizenship Ceremony
In case your application gets approved, you will be required to take part in a citizenship ceremony, where you make an Oath of Allegiance to the UK. This is to ensure that you will obey the laws, rights, and freedoms that the UK stipulates.
After, you will receive your Certificate of British Citizenship and officially become a UK citizen.
Living in the UK
You should first send back your biometric residence permit (BRP) to the Home Office before the end of 5 working days after acquiring your Certificate of British Citizenship.
You can then register for a UK visa, which will allow you to travel to and from the UK without any restrictions.
British Citizenship Application for Children
Citizenship applications for children will depend on your immigration route or the exact place where your child was born. Children born in the UK must meet one of the following characteristics:
- The parent must be allowed to reside in the UK permanently
- The child’s father was British
- The parent joined the UK armed forces after the child was born
- The child lived in the UK until he/she reached 10 years
For a child born outside the UK, he/she needs to have at least one British parent. But if none of the parents are British, it is recommended to first apply for your citizenship before or at the same time as your child.
If your application is unsuccessful, the Home Office will tell you the reasons for rejecting it. However, this will not affect your current right to live in the UK. In addition, you can try out legal motions like a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider. In both cases, it is important to seek help from an experienced citizenship attorney.