British Citizenship for EEA Nationals
Being a British citizen enables you to live and work in the UK free of any immigration controls and there are a few different ways for a European Economic Area (EEA) national to become a British citizen. In becoming a British citizen for EEA nationals, you do not need to renounce your existing citizenship as many countries will let you have dual nationality. You should make sure your country of origin allows dual nationality or you may lose your existing nationality or your new nationality may not be recognised.
The most common way is called ‘naturalisation’ and is available to applicants under the following criteria:
1. Being 18 or over
2. Being of good character
3. Planning to continue living in the UK
4. Having completed the knowledge of the UK prerequisites
5. Meeting the residency requirements
You must usually have also lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application, spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years, spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months and not broken any immigration laws while in the UK.
Permanent Residence Document
From 12 November 2015, if a person from the EEA wishes to apply for British citizenship he or she will have to first apply for a permanent residence certificate or card. Where an application for naturalisation is made without a permanent residence document, the application will be refused by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and the fee will not be refunded.
There are some personal reports from applicants stating that UKVI officials will only permit naturalisation applications made within one year of a permanent residence card being issued. This is not listed as a constraint under the current regulations, which only require that the applicant has had this essential documentation for at least 12 months.British nationality law and applications for British citizenship can be extremely complex and using an immigration expert is highly recommended. Any qualifying EEA national thinking apply for UK citizenship for EEA nationals is advised to do it sooner as it might be that further coming obstacles can delay your citizenship.
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.