After you have lived legally in the UK for a certain length of time, you may be able to apply for permission to settle in the UK. The rules for settlement can vary depending on what visa you hold and have previously held. After being granted Permanent Residence, Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you may be able to apply to naturalise as a British citizen thereby obtaining a British passport.
Settled Status (EEA Nationals & Family Members)
EEA nationals and their family members, who hold Pre-Settled Status may be able to apply for Settled Status after they have lived in the UK for 5 years. There are a variety of reasons where you may be eligible; for example, you may apply if you are the family member of an EEA national who is a ‘qualified person’ and you are residing with them in the UK or you may apply if you came to the UK as the family member of an EEA national and then you retained a right of residence.
EEA Residence documents (granted under the EEA Regulation) are no longer be valid since 30 June 2021 and Applicants are therefore urged to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to convert their leave to Pre-Settled or Settled Status.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
The Immigration Rules allow for certain visa holders to apply for ILR after a 5 or 10 year period (depending on what visa route you have been on). The rules can be quite complex especially due to the Home Office’s constant changes to their guidance.
The following are examples of when you may be eligible for ILR:
- Ancestry Visa – 5 years;
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Investor visa routes – 2, 3 or 5 years depending on the eligibility requirements;
- Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa routes – 5 years;
- Innovator visa – 5 years;
- Partner visas (i.e. Spouse Visa and Unmarried Partner Visa) – 5 years (depending on when you obtained your visa);
- Long residence – if you have held valid visas for continuous period of 10 years. This can be a combination of different visa routes; and
- Unlawful residence – you may be able to apply for limited leave to remain after 20 years which will then place you on the 10 year route to settlement.
In addition to the number of years you have resided in the UK, you must also satisfy other requirements such as you must pass the Life in the UK test and have a speaking and listening qualification. Your application must also demonstrate that you have strong ties to the UK and have made this your home for the time you were here.
Our immigration solicitors are regularly instructed by clients who have made the decision to make the UK their permanent home and as such wish to explore their options of obtaining a British passport. A recent study quoted by the Independent, found that British passports were ranked the fourth most powerful in the world allowing its holder to visit 174 countries visa-free. This can be a great advantage to business people who frequently travel the world searching for opportunities.
In order to make an application to naturalise as a British citizen, you must have held Permanent Residence, Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for at least 12 months. Generally, there are a number of requirements applicants must satisfy in order to make a successful application. Once you have completed five years of lawful residence in the UK and you have held Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for at least one year, you can apply for naturalisation as a British Citizen.
If you are married to a British Citizen, you can apply for naturalisation as soon as you have completed three years residence in the UK and you have ILR. If successful, it will mean you will no longer be subject to immigration control and you would be free to live and work not only in the UK but anywhere in the EEA. We can help with your naturalisation application and queries. Our expert team of lawyers can assist you with the preparation of your application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rules, we will ensure that all key points are substantiated with documentary evidence thereby leading to a successful application and avoiding unnecessary expense of re-submitting your application to the Home Office
Qualifying Criteria for British Citizenship
There are a number of requirements that one has to fulfil in order to make a successful application for British citizenship:
- Minimum age of 18;
- Sound mind;
- Intention of having your home in the UK;
- Sufficient knowledge of English Language;
- Sufficient knowledge of life in the UK;
- Good character;
- Residence requirements; and
Those wishing to apply for naturalisation should consult with a member of our expert immigration team so we can consider the eligibility criteria and explore whether among other requirements, they meet the good character and residency requirements.
Expert Immigration Solicitors for Settlement and Naturalisation Applications
Our immigration lawyers have extensive experience in preparing Permanent Residence, ILR and naturalisation applications for applicants. Our immigration team can offer the following service:
- Consultation with an immigration lawyer who can advise on the eligibility criteria of such an application;
- Provide the applicant with a bespoke supporting documents list which will assist them in collating documents required for the application;
- Prepare the relevant application form and detailed legal representations to accompany the application; and
- If required (and available) accompany the applicant to the visa centre so they can submit the application in person and in most circumstances, receive a decision on the same day.
If you wish to discuss your options, contact a member of our team today so we can consider your options with you.
We are a UK law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our professional personal immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.