Lifestyle

Is is Really That Hard to Become British?

Become British: parade on the Mall

With the national obsession with Brexit now fast approaching 4 years, you would honestly think that the United Kingdom had suddenly become the most unwelcome place in Europe to live!

The mainstream media probably have a lot to do with this. The Brexit focus inevitably seems to have been mainly placed on the issue of immigration. Numerous scandals, such as the Windrush saga, have rightly hit the headlines since the Brexit referendum took place. We have had so much uncertainty about the future of non-British UK residents and undoubtedly some will have been put off coming to live in the UK as a result.

But with all the talk about national pride, sovereignty and remaining true to British values we have heard in the last few years, one question seems to have evaded much attention. Is it really that hard to become a British citizen?

So Is It?

Not to sit on the fence, but the answer, as you’d probably expect, is “it depends!” We all have our own set set of unique circumstances that dictate our prospects of success in anything we turn our mind to. But the (very!) good news is that Britain is not by any means the unwelcoming country many have recently sought to paint it as. In fact, the United Kingdom as a whole great pride in what it can offer to those who would like to become a British citizen. And it most certainly prefers people to become British than be undocumented or unable to live in the UK with close family because of visa issues.

Naturalisation is the ideal way to apply to become a British citizen. You may already quality for citizenship depending on where and when you were born, your parents’ circumstances and your UK Ancestry. But if you don’t, there are a few conditions you’ll need to abide by in order to apply to be a British citizen.

The most important of these is that you have lived in the United Kingdom for at least the last 5 years, which is known as the residency requirement. There are others of course, such as being of good character, having a good command of English and intending to continue to live in the UK. But you may be somewhat surprised to learn that there aren’t any new conditions to applying for British citizenship that have arisen from the Brexit conundrum. In other words, it’s no more difficult to become a British citizen now that it was before the EU Referendum.

My Situation…

This is all pretty sweet music to my ears. I’m a US ex-pat, but have always been a massive “Anglophile”. My other half James is British (he is from Gibraltar) and for a few years now I’ve toyed on and off with the idea of applying for British citizenship. I suppose I haven’t had a huge incentive to apply yet as a United States passport is, like a British passport, a pretty good one to have. 

I’ve thought about dual US/UK citizenship a fair amount of late too. Now wouldn’t that be cool? I’ll admit I haven’t yet looked into the ins and outs of dual citizenship but it does sound fascinating!

There are a few things to consider, such as what responsibilities I may still have back home if I become British, whether or not I cease having a US passport. But having made the firm decision not to return to the US to live, at least for the foreseeable future, I can definitely say that pretty soon is going to be British citizenship application time

If you, as I will, need help making a British citizenship application, there are a few great options out there that will make the process smoother. In my view it’s always a good idea to spend a little more to make sure that you do things properly. Although I hear that there are even immigration solicitors these days who help with citizenship applications on a “no win no fee” basis. I suppose my thinking is that it’s really worth having someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side who can help you over any bumps in the road. 

Have you ever applied for British citizenship, or know anyone who has? It would be great to hear from you in the comments!

 

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