How to be a British citizen as a European in the UK?

After Brexit, settled status has become a mandatory requirement for EU nationals to retain their rights to remain in the UK after Brexit. With 3.2million EU citizens based in the UK, this will cause huge problems for those haven’t got a British passport but working in “low skilled” jobs or married to other EU migrants.

If you want to apply for a British citizen you must 

  • be over 18
  • prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
  • prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • show you’ve passed the life in the UK test
  • intend to continue living in the UK
  • be of good character – read the ‘naturalisation’ guidance

But how to meet all of those requirements?  Then we have to talk about three things.

1.Proving you are settled

How to prove you are settled? Applying for EU settlement!

You must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you are

  • an EU citizen* living in the UK before 31 December 2020, or
  • a non-EU citizen living in the UK as a family member of an EU citizen* before 31 December 2020.

2. Length of stay and absence

You should have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application. (If you married to a British citizen must have resided in the UK for three years prior to the date of your citizenship application.) You cannot include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control.

You should also not have:

  • spent more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • broken any UK immigration laws (for example living illegally in the UK)

3. Legality

During the three/five year qualifying period you must not have resided in the UK in breach of the UK’s immigration laws. You could be forgiven for assuming that European citizens, with the right to freedom of movement, are unlikely to breach the UK’s immigration laws.

However, EU free movement law has always required economic activity: work, job seeking, study or self-sufficiency. If studying or self-sufficient, you require Comprehensive Sickness Insurance. This is a requirement many were (potentially still are) unaware of and in practice non-compliance is widespread. But don’t worry, speak to us, we will help you sort it out!

How we can help?

We have a team of experienced immigration lawyers at UK Visa Partners to help you with your application and give you advice. There are many reasons why you may wish to use an immigration lawyer for your application:

  • You are not sure whether or when you need to apply
  • You are too busy to prepare an application yourself from start to finish
  • You are worried about whether you are preparing your application properly. For example, you are not sure whether you are submitting the correct documents or enough evidence to prove your residence in the UK or your relationship to an EU citizen
  • You find the application process confusing

If one of the following situations applies to you, your application is likely to be more complex and you are strongly advised to seek legal advice and assistance before applying:

  • Your family member is an EU citizen who also has British citizenship
  • You have a ‘Surinder Singh’ visa
  • You are a ‘Zambrano’ carer
  • You have had criminal convictions in the UK or overseas
  • You used to be the family member of an EU citizen but that EU citizen has now died or your relationship has ended

Any questions? Talk to us!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add Comment *

Name *

Email *