The journey from settled status to British citizenship
As UK immigration solicitors we are receiving a lot of questions about when can and when should EU citizens with settled statusunder the EU Settlement Scheme apply for British citizenship. In this blog we answer your frequently asked questions on the journey from settled status to British Citizenship.
If you have questions about settlement in the UK and British citizenship the specialist British Citizenship and immigration teamat London based OTS Solicitors can help you. Call the friendly and approachable immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments can be arranged via video call, Skype or telephone.
Can I apply for British Citizenship without having settled status?
If you are from the EU or an EEA national (from Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein) the rules on British Citizenship say that you must be legally settled in the UK before you can apply for British citizenship. At the moment how you prove legal settlement differs between EU and EEA nationals and non-EEA nationals.
If you are an EEA national you can prove that you are legally settled in the UK through:
How do you apply for permanent residence status?
How do you apply for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme?
You can only apply for settled status if you are an EU national or EEA national who was living in the UK before 11 pm on the 31 December 2020 (or you are the family member of an EU or EEA national). If you are an EU national, you have until the 30 June 2021 to make your settled status application. However, if you know that you want to remain in the UK after the 30 June 2021 it is best to make your application for settled status as soon as you can.
You can apply for settled status using our same day settled status application service or you can apply direct.
To secure settled status you need to be able to prove that you have been living in the UK for five years or more and that you qualify as having been ‘continuously resident’ for five years by the time of your application. If you can't prove five-year residence but you entered the UK to live before the end of free movement for EU citizens on the 31 December 2020 then you can apply for pre-settled status. Once you meet the five-year continuous residence requirement you can then change your pre-settled status to settled status by making an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.
What is continuous residence for a settled status application?
To qualify as having been continuously resident you don’t have to have been exercising EU treaty rights. What ‘exercising treaty rights’ means is that you don’t have to have been working in the UK or studying or have held comprehensive health insurance whilst in the UK.
If you an EU national with a permanent residence document you can apply for British citizenship now provided that you meet all the other eligibility criteria for British Citizenship. Different rules apply if you have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you have settled status when can you apply for British Citizenship?
If you have settled status then you need to wait twelve months from the date of your securing settled status to apply for British Citizenship. If you don’t qualify for settled status but you qualify for pre-settled status then you have to wait for twelve months after you acquire settled status to apply for British Citizenship. The rules are different though if you are married to a British citizen. If you are married to a British citizen you don’t have to wait twelve months after being granted settled status to apply for British Citizenship. You can apply straight away provided that you meet the other eligibility criteria for British Citizenship.
If you have settled status do you need to apply for British Citizenship?
If you secure settled status you don’t need to apply for British citizenship. Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme enables you to live and work in the UK on an indefinite basis. However, if you leave the UK for more than five years you will lose your settled status. If you have pre-settled status you will lose your pre-settled status if you leave the UK for more than two years.
Whilst settled status may mean that as an EU national living in the UK you aren’t subject to Immigration controls and don’t need a work visa or sponsoring employer to find Employment, British citizenship gives you:
- A right of abode
- A right to vote
- A right to stand for election
- The ability to apply for a British passport.
You may think that British Citizenship gives you certainty of abode but technically it is possible for the Home Office to revoke British Citizenship but that only happens in the most extreme of cases, for example, where there are national security concerns.
If you aren’t certain whether you want to convert your permanent residence status or settled status to British Citizenship then it is best to speak to an immigration solicitor about your options and what best suits your personal and family circumstances.
Our friendly specialist London based immigration solicitors can answer your settled status and British Citizenship and immigration questions and look at your immigration options and routes to British Citizenship. For the best advice on settled status and settlement in the UK call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or by telephone appointment.