United Kingdom has always been an attractive immigration destination for people from all over the world. The general standard of living and the overall quality of life makes UK one of the most sought after places to settle down. Their education system, health and social security system, their culture and liberal mindset, and respect for every religion, all contribute towards attracting people from around the world to go there and settle down and obtain UK citizenship. Many Indians immigrate to the UK every year.
However, it is not all that easy to obtain UK citizenship. For immigration to the UK, there are certain criteria and procedures to follow under the United Kingdom Immigration Services in order to get the citizenship. Some important things that you should know if you wish to obtain UK citizenship have been explained here.
1.Ways to obtain UK citizenship
There are different ways to become a British citizen and the most common is by way of naturalization. There are certain conditions that you must fulfill before you apply for citizenship. These include:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must have lived in the UK continuously for five years prior to the date of application
- Must not have spent more than 450 days in the last three years and 90 days in the last one year outside UK
- Must have a good moral character without any criminal record
- Must pass the English language proficiency test
- For children below 18 years of age, either of the parent has to apply on his/her behalf. For EEA nationals, permanent residence status in the last 12 months with a permanent residence card is required.
2.Citizenship by Marriage
When you marry a British citizen and wish to obtain British citizenship, you will have to apply as spouse of a British citizen. In this category the residency requirement is a bit less stringent as compared to that of naturalization process. You must have lived in the UK for three years prior to your application and have not spent more than 270 days outside UK in those years and also not spent more than 90 days outside UK in the last one year. All other requirements are the same as in the case of naturalization.
3.How to Apply for UK Citizenship
To apply for British citizenship by naturalization, you can do so by any of the three methods mentioned below.
- Apply as an individual by filling the Form AN- application for naturalization as a British citizen. The guidance notes and the requirements booklet that come along with the application form, helps you in properly filling up the application form and also indicate what additional documents you would need to furnish.
- Apply through the Nationality Checking Service (NCS), which are managed by local councils.
- Apply through an authorized agent who is officially registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.
You will also need to provide your bio-metric information. For more clarification on the immigration process you can seek help from the United Kingdom Immigration Services.
4.‘Life in the UK’ Test
For your citizenship application to be processed, you need to pass an exam called the ‘Life in the UK’ test. You can book your exam online by paying a fee at least three days before you wish to take the exam. For any help you can contact the ‘Life in the UK’ Test helpline at 08000154245.
5.Exceptions for the Citizenship Test
People under the age of 18 and over the age of 65 are exempt from taking the test. Also, if you’ve passed the test earlier while completing your settlement application, you don’t need to take the test again. Persons who have had a prolonged physical or mental condition are also exempted from taking the test. However, they have to furnish proof of their medical condition.
Dual citizenship is permitted in the UK. This means that you can continue to retain the citizenship of your home country even after obtaining UK citizenship, unless of course your home country does not permit dual citizenship.
7. Where to apply for citizenship
Application for UK citizenship can be submitted at the UK consulate in your area, or you may send the application form along with the prescribed fees and the necessary supporting documents to the following address:
- Department 1
- The Capital
- Liverpool L3 9PP
8.The Application Process
Once you’ve applied for citizenship, you’ll get a confirmation letter within four weeks. A decision about the application typically takes about six months. You’ll be notified if any additional documents are required. In some cases applicants are asked to attend an interview. Though interpreters are allowed, your lack of fluency in spoken English can adversely affect your chances.
Once your citizenship is approved, there is one last formality that remains to be completed-handing over of the certificate of British citizenship. You have to attend a citizenship ceremony, organized by the local council, where a certificate of British citizenship is given to you along with a welcome package. During the ceremony you’ll have to take an oath of allegiance and pledge to respect and abide by the laws of the United Kingdom.
You have to return your bio-metric residence permit back to the Home Office after you receive your certificate of British citizenship. The certificate has to be returned within five working days of attending your citizenship ceremony or upon receiving your certificate. The proper procedure to return the bio-metric residence permit is to cut it into four pieces and seal it in a windowless envelope. A note indicating the reason for returning the permit should be included. Your name, date of birth and the document number should be mentioned in the note. If there is a delay in returning the permit, a fine of up to £1000 will be levied.
Many people from India immigrate to the UK every year. For immigration to UK from India, there are agencies like UK visa immigration service, immigration service UK, or United Kingdom visa and immigration that facilitate their immigration.