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How to apply for British Citizenship after Settled Status

If you have been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship after 1 year if you meet the criteria for naturalisation in the UK. If you are married to a British citizen, you can apply for British citizenship as soon as you have EU Settled Status. However, a person granted pre-settled status is not eligible for British citizenship as they are not yet considered to be settled in the UK. If you hold pre-settled status, you will need to apply for settled status after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK first in order to apply for British citizenship.

Holding British citizenship provides benefits over EU Settled Status. British citizens have the right to remain indefinitely in the UK without being subject to immigration control or limits on the amount of time that can be spent outside the UK. It is also possible to apply for a British passport as a UK citizen. In this article, we will explain how to apply for British citizenship with Settled Status.

Settled Status to British Citizenship requirements

In order to make a successful application for British citizenship after Settled Status, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Have held EU Settled Status for at least one year and have lived in the UK during this time
  • Have been in the UK for 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application for citizenship
  • Meet the language requirements for English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • Have passed the Life in the UK test
  • Be of good character

5-year residency requirement

The Home Office guidance on British citizenship states that applicants must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date their application is received. It is not possible to include time spent in the UK as a diplomat, member of a diplomat’s staff or household, or a member of visiting armed forces.

Applicants must also not have lived outside the UK for more than 450 days during this 5-year period or 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months prior to applying.

Language requirements

To meet the language requirements, applicants must have either an approved English qualification at CEFR level B1, B2, C1 or C2 or a degree that was taught or researched in English. Nationals of certain countries will be accepted as majority English speakers for naturalisation purposes.

Good character requirement

Those applying through naturalisation for British citizenship must be able to prove they are of good character. Good character means that you have continued to show respect for the rights and freedoms of the UK, observe the law, and met your obligations as a UK resident of the UK during your time here. Factors that may count against you when determining if you are of good character include:

  • Criminality - minor infringements such as fixed penalty notices are not normally considered unless you failed to pay or you have received 3 or more. It is essential to disclose all criminal convictions from inside and outside the UK. Those who have spent 4 Years or more in prison will normally be refused citizenship. This is also the case for those who have been jailed for between 12 months and 4 years imprisonment within the last 15 years and those jailed for up to 12 months within the last 10 years.
  • Making a false declaration on your application
  • Breaching the immigration rules
  • Not meeting your obligations to pay income tax and National Insurance contributions.

How to apply for British Citizenship after Settled Status

To apply for British Citizenship with Settled Status, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the online application form
  2. Pay the application fee of £1,330
  3. Book an appointment with your nearest UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometrics (i.e. your fingerprints and a photo).
  4. Upload any documents required to support your application
  5. Attend your UKVCAS appointment (you can ask UKVCAS to scan and upload your documents for you).

If you are applying for your children, you will need to submit a separate application for each child.

How long does it take to become a British Citizen after Settled Status?

You can apply for British citizenship 1 year after being granted Settled Status. Once you have applied for British Citizenship, in most cases, you can expect to receive a decision from the Home Office within 6 months. By submitting a carefully prepared and thorough application, you can keep the processing time to a minimum.

What happens after you have applied for British Citizenship?

If your application for British citizenship is approved, you will be advised in writing of the outcome. You will also be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. You will normally need to attend your citizenship within 3 – 6 months (depending on the rules that apply at the time). There is no fee to attend your ceremony. You will be asked to make an oath of allegiance or an affirmation and a pledge that you will respect the rights, freedoms, and laws of the UK. You will then receive your certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack at the end of the ceremony.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards specialises in all aspects of British citizenship and will make the transition from EU Settled Status as easy as possible for you and your family members. Our immigration Solicitors can:

  • Confirm your eligibility for citizenship
  • Advise how to overcome any problems with your citizenship eligibility
  • Handle your citizenship application on your behalf
  • Check your citizenship application prior to submission
  • Advise on the best strategy if your citizenship application is refused

For assistance on applying for UK citizenship as a person with EU Settled Status, please speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

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