Q.I have recently arrived in the UK and would like to know; how I would qualify for British citizenship?
A: In most cases, in order to qualify for British citizenship you would be required to complete five years lawful continuous stay on a UK visa leading to permanent residence, and a further 12 months with the status ‘Indefinite leave to remain’ or more commonly known as permanent residence, before you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
UK visas and permits leading to permanent residence include; Tier 1 Visa, Tier 2 Visa, and the Ancestry Visa.
Unfortunately, visas like student visas are temporary visas and do not normally count towards your British citizenship if applying under the five year lawful continuous stay rule.
One exception to this rule is where a person has been in the UK legally for a continuous period of ten years, at which time they can apply for permanent residence under the ‘ten year’ rule. The ten years may include time spent on temporary visas; such as the two-year working holiday visa / youth mobility scheme, student visas and other temporary visas.
In the case where you are married to a British citizen, you may apply for British citizenship after you have lived in the UK for three years on a lawful continuous stay, as the spouse of a British citizen, provided that you hold permanent residence at the time of your application.
Director of Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants Limited
www.bic-immigration.com or [email protected]