Getting through the citizenship application process in a country like Britain is a tough job. According to statistics, 19074 citizenship applications were received in 2022. This was an increase of 9% over the number of applications received in 2019. Thus, it will not be wrong to say that there is a steady increase in demand for British citizenship.
However, the number of foreign nationals granted British citizenship yearly is quite limited. The immigration authorities are quite strict in processing the application process. Hence, if you are serious about receiving British citizenship, you must be well aware of all the rules and regulations. You must read up and learn about all the does and don’ts that must be adhered to when sending in your application for British citizenship.
Things To Keep In Mind When Applying For A British Citizenship
Know The Eligibility Before You Apply
You can apply for citizenship if you meet certain preset criteria of the immigration department. One of the easiest ways to get citizenship is by naturalisation. However, only if you are an adult above eighteen years of age and have already moved to the UK or were born there you can apply through naturalisation.
Also, things become easier if one of your parents is already a citizen. Alternatively, if you have overseas citizenship in the UK, that also makes things easier. Any connection with territories that were once a part of the British territory could also help. For instance, if you are or were a citizen of Gibraltar, it can hasten your application process.
Do Not Travel Abroad For Long Durations Before You Apply
The authorities closely monitor who has travelled to which country immediately before applying for citizenship. So staying within the country for at least ninety days before the application process is better. Moreover, if your spouse is also not a British citizen, you should not travel abroad for more than four hundred days during the five years preceding your application process.
However, the authorities allow some exceptions to the above rules if you have any genuine health-related reasons.
Try To Avoid Having A Criminal Record
A criminal record is always in a negative light by the immigration authorities. So if you are planning on applying for British citizenship, it is best to have a clean track record. However, if you do have a conviction, it is best not to hide anything. Trying to hide details about your conviction could make the authorities all the more suspicious.
If you do have a criminal conviction, you must preserve all the paperwork related to the same. So the reason for conviction, the time when the punishment period ended, the details of the crime, etc., should all be preserved. If you are ever questioned on the conviction, you can use the documents to convince the authorities that your crime was not a serious offence.
Be Up To Date With Your Taxes
The immigration authorities are concerned about your ability and willingness to pay taxes once you become a citizen. So having all your tax papers ready shows that you are a perfect candidate for being a citizen, and the chances of rejection are reduced to a great extent.
Have Solid Proof To Back Your Residential Address
When applying for citizenship, you must convince the authorities that you can pay for yourself and have a house to live in. Thus, when you provide a residential address, make sure that you give enough proof to convince people that you actually stay there. Around three to four items of correspondence to your residential address in a year is sufficient to strengthen your case.
Also, you must be able to prove that you have stayed in Britain for at least five years before the date on which you apply for citizenship.
Preserve All The Original Documents
The immigration authorities will want to verify the credentials of all the documents that you provide to back your case. So original birth certificates, degree certificates, marriage certificates etc., should be readily available.
Make Sure You Fulfil All The Language Requirements
If you wish to be a citizen, you must be able to communicate in the local language of that country. So when applying for British citizenship, you must be fluent in English. The immigration authorities accept B1 grade level (minimum) in any accredited English course.
However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. And in case you have a mental health condition, you may be exempt from producing a certification that proves your English speaking/ reading skills.
Get References To Back Your Case
You need to give details of two referees who will back your claims. The Home office verifies your information through the referees. So make sure that you know someone who can back your claim before the Home office. Usually, professionals like doctors, teachers, and members of professional bodies are the most suitable referees.
Pay The Fees And Provide Biometric Information
The application fee is 1330 pounds. You must pay the application fees in time to avoid any unnecessary glitches. Also, you must be willing to submit your biometric information, like your fingerprints and your photo, to the authorities when you are applying.
The immigration authorities are understandably quite strict when it comes to the citizenship application process. They check for age proof, residential proof, marriage-related certifications, and English proficiency to ensure the candidate is well-suited to be a British citizen. Apart from this the letter from referees who back your claim are vital as it proves the validity of your claims.
It is a tough job to get UK citizenship in one go, but it is definitely not impossible. If you have all the documents and you are honest all through the application process, you will be granted citizenship, and that too without any hassles. Moreover, there is a tracking facility so you can always stay updated about the status of your application.