There are different, often complex routes to British citizenship depending on your family’s circumstances – just ask a number of unfortunate Aussie politicians.
Here are some of the ways you can become a British citizen and an idea of just how costly they can be (apart from losing your seat in parliament):
Citizenship by descent
If you were born in or outside the UK to a British parent, you’re either automatically a British citizen, or you can register as one. There are a few different processes depending on when you were born. Paying for your paperwork to be processed can potentially cost between £86 and £1,200 depending on the various letters and certificates you require.
Citizenship by double descent
This route allows you to claim British citizenship through a grandparent. The application for this visa route can be complex as there are specific requirements that deem you eligible. Depending on what paperwork you require, registering through this citizenship route can be expensive with costs from £800 to over £1,400.
Citizenship by naturalisation
UK naturalisation fees are some of the most expensive in the world with the application costing between £1,000 – £1,330. If you’ve been living in the UK for five or more years you’re eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). An application for ILR will cost you £2,389 and you’ll need to hold ILR status for up to 12 months before applying to become a citizen.
Common requirements that can cost you
Of the various requirements for British citizenship, there are some common ones that, if you’re not aware of them, could result in your application being denied.
Holding UK permanent residence for 12 months
Once you’ve been in the UK for five continuous years, you can apply for your permanent residence card. When you receive your card, you’re required to wait an additional 12 months before you start your citizenship application. Some people apply before the required time period which results in a refused application and loss of your fee.
Being over 18 years of age
It’s important that you follow the correct process that corresponds to your age. Applicants must be 18 years or older – different rules apply to anyone younger. Depending on where the child was born and the nationality of their parents, the rules for applications work differently. If you’re unsure how to apply for your child, speak to an immigration expert.
Although most countries allow dual citizenship, in some countries you may be giving up your original citizenship by naturalising as a British citizen. Check what your country’s arrangements are before you apply.
The good character requirement
To get British citizenship you must be of “good character”. You cannot have a serious or recent criminal record or have broken any immigration laws or conditions while in the UK. If you are concerned about any of these factors, it’s better to check how they will affect you before you apply to save yourself wasted application fees.
Knowledge of language and life
To successfully apply for British citizenship, you’ll need to pass two tests that measure your knowledge of British life and the English language.
To prove your English knowledge, you will need an English language qualification at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent. If you don’t have a qualification, you can take a test at an official testing centre. For the “Life in the UK” test, doing your homework is crucial. There’s an official test book to help you practice.
British citizenship law is extraordinarily complex. It’s important to check everything. Someone who has never been through the process before won’t necessarily know how easy it is to make an error or oversight that renders your application denied and leaves you having to pay double fees to reapply or worse. This is where our team can help.
We’ve had a number of instances where applicants have either gone it alone or have not received the correct advice regarding the implications of becoming British for their descendants. In these instances the applicants have come to us and asked us to rectify the issue, and one case we’ve had to get the registration annulled at considerable expense to the client as its extremely complicated to remedy, in some cases there is no remedy at all.
Our consultants are trained to handle complicated British citizenship cases. Years of experience can ensure your application is done correctly the first time around, saving you hundreds of wasted pounds.
If you’re currently looking into whether you have a chance at British citizenship, you may be unaware of the numerous routes available. An immigration expert can assess your situation and advise you on the unique circumstances that apply.
Every family’s circumstances are different. If you think you or your child has a claim, take our British citizenship assessment. One of our registered caseworkers will be in touch to discuss how best to proceed with your application. We’ll help you avoid double fees and ensure your application is a success the first time.
Our consultants can assist you to register for British citizenship – no matter how complex your family’s case. Get in touch with us on +44 (0)20 7759 7581 or [email protected]