Wed | Jan 20, 2021

Immigration Cornner | Applying for British citizenship

Published:Tuesday | July 30, 2019 | 12:18 AM
Passport
Passport

Dear Mr Bassie,

What specifically are the ways under which someone can apply for British citizenship? I will look for your response.

G.L.

Dear G.L.,

There are various ways to apply for British citizenship based on the circumstances.

If persons were born in the United Kingdom, they would not necessarily automatically get British citizenship. It would depend on when they were born and their parents’ circumstances. However, persons may be eligible to apply for citizenship if they were born in the United Kingdom and are not British citizens.

If persons moved to the United Kingdom, they may be able to apply for citizenship by ‘naturalisation’, depending on their situation. If eligible in more than one way, persons can choose which way to apply.

If married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen

To apply as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen that person must have lived in the United Kingdom for the last three years and they 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 that they have permanent residence status;

If they meet the requirements, they will be eligible to apply for citizenship immediately.

Persons can usually apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after they have lived in the United Kingdom for five years. To apply for citizenship with ILR, persons must usually have lived there for at least 12 months after receiving it.

Please be aware that if the person or a family member are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they usually get permanent residence status automatically after living in the UK for five years.

To apply for citizenship with permanent residence status, persons must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting permanent residence status. Those persons 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, persons will be able to apply for citizenship as soon as they get their permanent residence document.

If a person and their family members are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they can apply for ‘settled status’ after they have lived in the UK for five years.To apply for citizenship with settled status, persons must usually have lived there for 12 months after getting it. Please be aware that 'Settled status' is also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’.

Other ways persons can be eligible

Persons may be eligible to apply for citizenship if:

•They have a British parent;

•They have another type of British nationality;

•They are stateless;

•They previously gave up (renounced) their citizenship.

Just to be complete, if persons are Commonwealth citizens they may be eligible to apply for citizenship under the 'Windrush Scheme' if both:

•The applicant or one of his/her 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, they must have either:

•Been born in the United Kingdom

•Arrived in the United Kingdom before he/she was 18 years old.

Also, Some Commonwealth citizens have ‘right of abode’ in the United Kingdom. This means they can live or work in the United Kingdom without immigration restrictions.

All the best.

John S. Bassie

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: lawbassie@yahoo.com.