You may think that 2020 is the year to apply for British citizenship. That may be because other family members are already British citizens or because British citizenship has been a long-held goal and you have been counting down the months to meet the British naturalisation application eligibility criteria. In this blog our British citizenship solicitors look at what British citizenship means and some of the factors that may tempt you to apply for British nationality if you are still undecided over whether 2020 is the year of your British citizenship application.
British citizenship solicitors
Applying for British nationality is an important step in anyone’s life so you need expert help from British citizenship solicitors to make sure your application stands the best chance of success. Call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
What is being British?
Being British isn’t just displaying a stiff upper lip at times of trouble or frequently apologising for something that isn’t your fault. Some people see themselves as ‘British’ even though they are subject to Immigration control whereas others don’t feel truly British even after making a British naturalisation application.
Whilst Immigration solicitors can't change how you feel about being British they can explain what it means to be British from a legal perspective to help you make the best choice for you or your family when it comes to deciding whether to apply for British nationality.
British citizenship is a legal status. The definition of a British citizen is contained in the British nationality Act 1981. The 1981 Act says that you can be an automatic British citizen (for example, by birth and therefore have no need to apply for registration or to make a British naturalisation application) or that you can apply for British citizenship if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Some people assume that they are ‘British’ by virtue of their long residence in the UK but that isn’t necessarily the case. You only have to read about Windrush to realise that there is a whole generation of people who thought of themselves as British but were not classed as legally British by the Home Office,
If you are not a British citizen then simply living in the UK will not make you into a British citizen, you need to take positive steps to apply for British nationality.
EU citizens and British nationality
With Windrush and now Brexit the question of should non-UK residents apply for British citizenship is becoming an increasingly common query put to Immigration solicitors. After the end of free movement for EU citizens it is anticipated that the number of enquiries from EU nationals living in the UK and wanting information about applying for British nationality will steadily continue to rise.
EU citizens do have the option of applying for Permanent Residence or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Neither of these labels confer British citizenship on the EU applicant but do give Immigration status and security.
If you are an EU citizen and you know that you want to stay in Britain and want ‘security of tenure’ through British citizenship then if you haven’t already applied for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme then the option of Permanent Residence will potentially make your application for British citizenship quicker. If you are not sure about the best post Brexit Immigration status options for you then speak to Settled Status and British citizenship solicitors as they can talk you through your best route to British citizenship.
EU to British citizenship solicitors
The options, as an EU citizen, of applying for Settled Status, Permanent Residence or British nationality can appear overwhelming and highly confusing. For expert help from EU Settled Status and British citizenship solicitors call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
Is British citizenship for life?
Many people who express an interest in applying for British citizenship assume British nationality is for life and, once granted, cannot be undone but that isn’t the case. Your British citizenship can be revoked if:
• You decide to apply for a new nationality and you either chose not to apply for dual nationality or the country that you are applying to for nationality does not permit dual nationality
• The Home Office acts to revoke your British citizenship on specified grounds, for example, if you obtained your British citizenship by deception or it is thought that revocation of your British citizenship is conducive to the public good.
What does British citizenship give you?
British citizenship gives you a right to live in the UK. That right is not restricted so you are not subjected to Immigration control on entering and returning to the UK. The right to live in the UK is also referred to by Immigration solicitors as a ‘right of abode’.
The legal concept of right to abode is defined in section 2 of the Immigration Act 1971. The 1971 Act says the right of abode is the right to ‘live in and to come and go into and from the UK’. Until Brexit and the end of free movement, EU citizens have a right of abode in the UK under EU treaty rights.
A right of abode is not restricted to those who have British citizenship (or until Brexit those EU citizens who are exercising treaty rights). Other types of Immigration status (for example indefinite leave to remain) give a right of abode but the right of abode may be more restricted.
British citizenship isn’t just about a right of abode or even about ease of securing unrestricted Employment, voting rights or a British passport. Any British citizenship solicitor will tell you that whilst they can give you the best legal advice on a British naturalisation application only you can decide if you want to be British and what being British means to you in 2020.
British nationality solicitors
If you are considering applying to naturalise as a British citizen it is best to take expert Immigration law advice from British citizenship solicitors on your Immigration and citizenship options before making the decision to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.
OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law and British nationality. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the leading law directories, Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors also have Law Society accredited solicitor status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK Immigration application, contact OTS Immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
We are one of the UK’s top firms for Immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of Immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, Student Visas, Work Permit Visas, indefinite leave to remain, EEA Applications, asylum and human rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, Entrepreneur Visas and Investor Visas.
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Posted on: Monday, 06 January, 2020