What are some of the ways that an individual can apply for British citizenship?
There are different ways that persons can apply for British citizenship and it is usually based on their circumstances.
Persons should be aware that if they do not automatically obtain British citizenship if they were born in the United Kingdom it would depend on when they were born and their parents’ circumstances. Persons may be eligible to apply for citizenship if they were born in the United Kingdom and are not British citizens.
By Naturalization –That is moved to the UK
A Person may be able to apply for citizenship by ‘naturalisation’, depending on their situation. If he/she is eligible in more than one way that person can choose the route that they wish to use to apply.
If a person is married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen and they wish to make an application, the following must obtain. To apply as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen a person must have lived in the United Kingdom for the last three years and he/she will also need to have one of the following:
• indefinite leave to remain
• settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
• a permanent residence document to confirm he/she has permanent residence status
Please note that if the aforementioned applies then he/she will be eligible to apply for citizenship immediately.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
A person can usually apply for ILR after he/she has lived in the United Kingdom for five years.To apply for citizenship with ILR a person must usually have lived in the United Kingdom for 12 months after obtaining it.
‘Permanent residence’ status
If a person or a family member is from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, he/sheis usually able to get Permanent residence status automatically after living in the United Kingdom for five years.
To apply for citizenship with permanent residence status persons must usually have lived in the United Kingdom for 12 months after getting Permanent residence status. They will also need a permanent residence document that proves that they have lived in the United Kingdom for five years – this can be any five year period.
This means that if the five year period was more than 12 months ago, that person will be able to apply for citizenship as soon as he/she getstheir permanent residence document.
‘Settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme
If persons and their family members are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they can apply for ‘settled status’ after they have lived in the United Kingdom for five years.
To apply for citizenship with settled status a person must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it. Please note that Settled status is also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the European Union (EU) Settlement Scheme’.
Other ways Persons can be eligible
A person may be eligible to apply for British citizenship if:
• he/she has a British parent
• he/she has another type of British nationality
• he/she is stateless
• he/she previously gave up (renounced) their citizenship
If a person is a Commonwealth citizen they may be eligible to apply for citizenship under the “Windrush Scheme” if both:
• the person applying or one of their parents arrived in the United Kingdom before 1973.
• the applicant has lived in the United Kingdom and not been away from it for more than two years.
If the applicant’s parent arrived in the United Kingdom before 1973, the applicant must have either:
• been born in the United Kingdom; or
• arrived in the United Kingdom before he/she was 18years old.
Please be aware that there are some Commonwealth citizens who have ‘right of abode’ in the United Kingdom. This means that those persons can live or work in the United Kingdom without immigration restrictions. Those persons should check if they can apply to prove that they have right of abode in the United Kingdom.
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org