With Brexit delayed for now, many EU/EEA citizens currently residing in the UK may be looking at their future options. For those who have been in the UK for long enough, British citizenship offers an excellent option. For those from a nation that allows dual citizenship (see the section on dual nationality below), there is an even bigger benefit that can be gained from settling in the UK permanently. This means they will not have to lose the benefits of being a citizen of their country of origin. With lots of questions still remaining over the future of Britain's relationship with the European Union, we are going to look at what EU/EEA citizens can do now to protect their long-term future in the UK.
There is, in essence, only one way to get a British passport: become a British citizen.
For many EU citizens, their stay in the UK will allow them to quickly apply to become a British citizen. As long as you have lived in the UK for at least 5 years (you will need to have not spend more than 450 days outside of the UK in that time - you must also not have left the UK for more than 90 days in the previous 12 months), you will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence Document. This document is extremely similar to the Indefinite Leave to Remain option that is offered to those from outside of the EEA who have entered the UK on an eligible visa. The document solidifies your status to remain in the UK and is a key part of applying for British citizenship.
Once you have your Permanent Residence Document, you will need to remain in the UK for a further 12 months. At the end of this 12 month period, you can apply to become a British citizen. In order to apply for British citizenship, you must meet the eligibility criteria laid out below:
As long as you fit this eligibility criteria, you can make an online application. The application for British citizenship costs 1,330 and will need to be paid at the point of application. You must also pay to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken. You will be informed on how this process works at the end of your application. Once accepted, you should have an answer anywhere between 8-12 weeks (depends on Home Office workload). Once you have been granted British citizenship, you will then be able to apply for a British passport.
A Permanent Residence Document is required if you wish to formalise your stay in the UK, and is also required if you wish to apply for British citizenship. Eligibility is automatic if you have lived in the UK for 5 years and are in one of the following situations:
If you have close family members with you in the UK then you can also add them to your application. These close family members are spouses or civil partners, children or grandchildren and parent or grandparent. There are also options for applying for a Permanent Residence Document for extended family members, but these rely on them being dependent on you.
As long as you fit the criteria as laid out above, you can make an online application which will need to be printed and sent to the address specified. The fee for making an application is currently 65.
Many people believe that if you take British citizenship, you have to renounce your existing nationality. For many countries inside the European Union and EEA this is not true. Listed below are the countries in the European Union and EEA that allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship:
As you can see, the vast majority of EU/EEA countries allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship. This can offer citizens a raft of benefits, and means that they do not need to renounce their citizenship of the country that they have come from. For many this is an ideal situation. It gives citizens the best of both worlds and lets them benefit from the changing relationships that happen around the world. As we become ever more globalised, dual citizenship is likely to become more and more popular.
Our team of immigration specialists have been helping EU citizens to settle in the UK for years. So get in touch today and let our team help you to settle your future in the UK.
If you need help with getting a British passport or immigration services in general, then please get in touch and our team will be more than happy to help.
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