Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Immigration Corner | I want to become a British citizen

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2017 | 1:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

Would you please tell me under what conditions I may be able to live in the United Kingdom as a child of a British citizen?

- G.S.

Dear G.S.,

With respect to who is considered a 'parent' by the United Kingdom immigration authorities, 'parent' means: a natural (biological) parent; an adoptive parent; or a step-parent, where the biological parent has died.

If the child was born in the United Kingdom but is not a British citizen and his or her birth parents are unable to look after him or her, anyone who takes on parental responsibility will also be considered a parent.

If the child lives with the parent, he or she will need to have either sole parental responsibility, shared responsibility, and the child's other parent will need to be a British citizen or settled in the United Kingdom.

If the applicant has a partner and he or she is eligible to apply under the five- or 10-year partner routes, he or she must apply through those routes and not apply through the parent route.

If a person applies as a parent when eligible to apply as a partner, the application as a parent will be refused and the fees will not be returned.

If the child lives with his other parent or caregiver, the parent or caregiver who the child usually lives with must be a British citizen or settled in the United Kingdom.

In addition, the applicant parent must have access to the child in person as agreed with the other parent or caregiver or by a court order. The same condition stated above applies and bears repeating that if he or she has a partner and is eligible to apply under the five- or 10-year partner routes, then the application must be done through those routes and not through the parent route.

Persons must be able to prove that he or she and the child are both living in the United Kingdom; the child is under 18 years old or was under 18 when the application for a 'family of a settled person visa' to join them was made; and he or she is continuing to take an active role in the child's upbringing.

The necessary details may be read in the Guidance for Parents if the child lives with the other parent or caregiver, specifically at chapter eight of the immigration directorate instructions, which deals with family applications made after July 9, 2012.

If applying under 'Family life as a parent (five-year route)', the child must be a British citizen or settled in the United Kingdom, and he or she must meet the eligibility requirements for the parent routes and you must also be able to prove that the applicant must have enough money to adequately support and accommodate him or her and the dependants without relying on public funds and have good knowledge of English if 18 years or older.

Regarding the 'Family life as a parent (10-year route)', persons can also apply in this route if the child has lived in the United Kingdom continuously for at least seven years; he or she must meet the eligibility requirements for the parent routes; and must also prove that it would not be in the child's best interests to leave the United Kingdom.

An application may also be made under 'Private life in the UK (10-year route)'. If applying under this category, the applicant must be able to prove that he or she is between 18 and 24 years of age and has lived continuously in the United Kingdom for more than half of his life; or be 25 years old or over and has been in the United Kingdom continuously for 20 years; or be 18 years or over and has spent less than 20 years in the United Kingdom but would find it hard to live in another country. For example, the person would have no friends or relationships there; or be under 18 years old and has lived in the United Kingdom continuously for at least seven years, and it would be unreasonable to expect the applicant to leave the United Kingdom.

If the applicant is a child, he or she may be eligible to settle in the United Kingdom if his or her parents are settled. It would also be prudent to check if he or she can apply as a family member.

- 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 (U.K.). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com