Today, it was reported that a 46 year old woman who has lived in the UK for 30 years has to go through the naturalisation process to become a British citizen. Glenda Hyde, who was born in the US was adopted at the age of 3 years old by a British couple. The couple along with Glenda moved to the UK in 1974, when Glenda was just 7 years old. Glenda was told that she was not recognised as British, as her parents did not register her when she was a child.
Legal Representative: Life in the UK Test do not allow Exemption on the Grounds of Long Residence
Glenda has lived in the UK since she was 7 years old and insists that she has only been abroad once. She obtained a national insurance number and got married to her first husband when she was 20 years old with no hassle. She has three British born children from this marriage and was widowed in the year 2000. Glenda married for the second time and found that despite residing in the UK for the majority of her life, she could face deportation:
“We applied to the local register office and was told I couldn’t marry there because I wasn’t a British citizen as I had an American birth certificate, and after being passed between immigration and the passport office the conclusion was that I could face deportation,” she said. Fortunately our church in Welburn agreed to marry us, but it was at this point that I realised there was an issue.”
Glenda was told that she was not recognised as British, as her parents did not register her when she was a child due to Immigration Rules being very different. In order to prove her right to stay in the UK she would have to apply for naturalisation. One of the requirements of the naturalisation process is to sit a ‘Life in the UK’ test, to show that they have sufficient knowledge of the English language. This test costs £906, however, individuals may be exempt from this requirement based on medical grounds.
Glenda is said to have a number of heart issues, high blood pressure and is wheel chair bound, but was still required to take the test. She attended a testing centre in Leeds and found the whole situation very distressing. Glenda forgot her photo ID and ended up passing out, as a result she was unable to sit the test. Due to not sitting the test, Glenda lost her booking fee and was told she could not sit the test until August.
Glenda’s legal representative refused to comment on allegations that they had been in touch with the Immigration Minister to be exempt from the ‘Life in the UK’ test, but still stated:
“The rules around the Life in the UK test do not allow exemption on the grounds of long residence, but they were surely not brought in to penalise a person like Mrs Hyde, adopted by British parents in 1969 and living in the UK since 1974 and suffering from severe health problems.”
Glenda is considered by the Home Office to be in the UK legally and her naturalisation application is currently be processed.
Applying for Naturalisation
In order to make an application to naturalise as a British citizen you must have had Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least 12 months. The only exception is EEA citizens and their family members. Upon five years continuous residence in the UK ending on or after 30 April 2006, EEA citizens who have continuously exercised ‘treaty rights’ (as a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person or a jobseeker) and their family members automatically acquire permanent residence status.
Once EEA citizens and their family members have had permanent residence status for a period of at least 12 months they are then entitled to apply to naturalise as a British citizen.
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
Contact us for a successful Naturalisation application
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone consultation even if you wish to consider other advisers.
Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 0845 8622 529.