Two Routes to Becoming British
There are two routes to becoming a British citizen: by means of a naturalisation application or by means of an application to register as a British citizen for EEA nationals. Different criteria are involved in each case. However, the most salient distinction is that anyone applying for naturalisation must have established their indefinite leave to remain at least 12 months prior to their application. Registering as a British Citizen, in contrast, requires some sort of family or historical connection to the UK (e.g. a British father, or British mother – if born before January 1st 1983).
In both cases, the number of applicants is striking. In 2014, the Home Office received 88,825 naturalisation applications; in 2015 the figure rose to 107,805. The corresponding figures for applications to register as a British citizen were 38,445 and 42,980 respectively. With an additional surge in applications reported in the run up to the Brexit referendum the figures for 2016 are predicted to show a marked increase.
It is important to note that that the number of applications is somewhat ameliorated when the number of refused and rejected applications is factored into the figures. For example, 14,615 applications for British citizenship by naturalisation were refused in 2014 and 2015 and 690 were found invalid. The refusal rate for registering as a British citizen was 3,985 applications in these two years, with 985 found invalid.
No Formal Appeal
In the event that an application for British citizenship is refused it may be possible to request UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to reconsider an application. This will usually be upheld only in cases where it can be shown that the original decision was not based on ‘sound law, practice or procedure’. As is also the case with naturalisation rejections, there is no formal appeal mechanism beyond this legal challenge to the basis on which the original decision was based. Inevitably, overturning a decision in this way requires a highly detailed knowledge of the law, as well as UKVI’s practice and procedures. There are two routes to becoming a British citizen, but in either case, professional representation is the only reliable means to seek to overturn an application refusal.
YDVISAS specialise in all visa categories and are specialist immigration lawyers in the UK. Please contact the expert team at YDVISAS, should you need any professional help with your visa application.