How can EU citizens apply for British Citizenship?

How can EU citizens apply for British Citizenship
Legally reviewed by: Nisha Leel In: Immigration

British Citizenship for EU Citizens

As an EU citizen who has made your home in the UK, the increasing confusion surrounding Brexit is likely making you nervous about your future plans. More than ever we receive questions about Brexit, and how EU citizens can get a British passport or apply for citizenship. With our straightforward advice, we can help put your fears to rest.

Get in touch with our immigration solicitors to start your British citizenship application as an EU citizen.

How can I Become a British Citizen as an EU National?

There are two good options that allow you to apply for citizenship as an EU citizen.

Firstly, you must either have permanent residence status, or you must have obtained indefinite leave to remain under the EU settlement scheme. Once you have qualified for either of these, you can then apply for British citizenship once you have continued to live in the UK for a further 12 months with this status.

Permanent Residence and Settled Status for EU Citizens

As an EU national, you will automatically qualify for the right to permanent residence in the UK (and any other EU country) if you have lived here legally for a continuous period of five years. Although it is not compulsory at this point to apply for a permanent residence card, it can helpfully provide proof of your official status that will mean that you can:

  • Travel in and out of the country more quickly when you go abroad
  • Easily prove to employers that you are allowed to work in the UK
  • Prove that you qualify for certain benefits and services provided to permanent residents in the UK

In order to apply for this permanent residence card, you need to provide supporting documents with your application that will prove you have been living in the UK for 5 years.

These could include:

  • Utility bills and rental contracts
  • Payslips, P45, P50, bank statements, or tax returns

If you are an EU citizen and you have been living in the EU for less than 5 years you can apply for pre-settled status first. Once you have been in the country for 5 years you can then apply for settled status.

Indefinite Leave to Remain under the EU Settlement Scheme

Alternatively, if you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and obtain settled status. The government has attempted to simplify this process by providing an android phone app called ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check.’ An app for iPhone will also be available by the end of 2019. You can use this to scan your documents if you have:

  • A valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport or ID card, if it’s biometric
  • UK-issued biometric residence card

If you don’t have these, you will have to send your documents by post.

Under the EU settlement scheme, if you are granted pre-settled status for a stay of under 5 years, you will still have to wait until you have stayed for 5 years to apply for full settled status. After a further year, you will then be eligible for a British citizenship application.

Read more about applying for settled status under the EU settlement scheme

Applying for British Citizenship with Permanent Residence Status

Once you have been in the UK under a permanent residence status, and have obtained your permanent residence card, you are eligible to apply for British citizenship.

You must also:

  • Be over 18
  • Prove you were in the UK over five years before the day that the Home Office receives your application
  • Prove that you can speak an acceptable level of English
  • Prove that you’ve passed the life in the UK test
  • Intend to continue living in the UK
  • Be of ‘good character’

Bear in mind that you may have lost your permanent residence status if you have been away from the UK for more than two years at any time since you were granted leave to remain. You also cannot have spent more than 90 days outside of the UK in the last 12 months, and you cannot be found to have lived illegally in the UK at any point.

How Much does it Cost to Become a British Citizen?

The Home Office British citizenship application fee is £1,330, and you must pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.

As permanent resident status does not require you to apply for documentation, you may already have unknowingly qualified if you have been in the UK for more than five years as an EU citizen. Because our solicitors have a proven track record in helping our clients obtain the right documents for each individual case, we can help you become a British citizen as quickly as possible.

Applying for British Citizenship with Indefinite Leave to Remain/Settled Status

This process is also called applying for British citizenship by naturalisation. Whilst you are allowed to make an application yourself, the government is careful to state that ‘naturalisation is not an entitlement,’ and it is widely recommended that you use a trained representative in order to get the most desirable outcome in this very strict process.

The British citizenship application fee is £1,330, and you must pay £19.20 to have your biometric information taken. You will be required to attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) appointment to provide this biometric information and the suitable documents. A chat with our trained immigration solicitors can help you to best prepare and have all of the best document proof ready to be assessed. We can assist you fully in getting the outcome that you and your family really want.

How can Cartwright King help me Apply for British Citizenship as an EU National?

With the cloud of Brexit looming and creating plenty of uncertainty, obtaining British citizenship is something that we fully understand is a priority for so many of our clients.

We want to be able to offer as much of our professional help as we can and urge anyone with uncertainties to contact us for a chat about their situation. If you are an EU citizen living in the UK, and you are uncertain about how to ensure you can stay in the UK after Brexit, get in touch.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.