While living in Britain has its issues and its negative parts, like any country in the world, there is no getting away from the fact that many people consider Britain to a country where they want to live. This means people from all over the world are looking to settle in the United Kingdom. There are also plenty of people who once they have enjoyed living in Britain for a number of years decide that they want to become a British citizen.
This is a step taken by many immigrants who have bene living in the UK for a number of years and anyone that is interested in this would be advised to call on the services of a solicitor with experience and expertise with respect to immigration. There are many areas of British law, and lawyers tend to have a specialist focus on a particular area of law. You may find that a solicitor that specialises in motoring offences and driving laws is highly intelligent but they may not be much use to when it comes to sorting out British citizenship.
Specialist Solicitors can provide with Applications
This means you should take your time to find a specialist solicitor who can provide you with the specialist focus and assistance you are looking for when you decide to become a British citizen. The process of becoming a British citizen is referred to as “naturalisation” and there is a number of criteria that a person must meet before they are allowed to become a British citizen.
The person must be aged 18 years or older and they must be of a “sound mind”. This means that the applicant has to be able to make independent decisions, or at least be able to appoint someone who can do so on their behalf. The person must be deemed to be of good character, they must intend to live in the United Kingdom and they should be able to communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic. There are language requirements associated with becoming a British citizen so this is an area that people may want to focus on if they are looking to ensure they pass the qualification.
A Test is Part of the Application Process
There is also a “Life In The UK” test which applicants must have passed or they must have completed an English for Speakers of Other Languages, an ESOL, test. There is also a need to undertake citizenship classes. The Life In The UK test is based on British customs and traditions and it also provides the applicant with the opportunity to showcase their English language skills. It is not aimed at being a history test or placing the applicant under severe pressure, it is set up in a way to ascertain what a person has learned and picked up in their time in the United Kingdom.
The applicant must have been living in the United Kingdom for at least five years by the date of their application, although there are exemptions if they have a spouse or civil partner that is classed as a British citizen. In the five year period, the maximum amount of time that a person is allowed to have spent outside of the United Kingdom is 450 days. In the 12 months prior to the application, the applicant is not permitted to have spent more than 90 days outside of the UK. There are exemptions for time that has been spent working as a diplomat or serving in one of the armed forces.
The applicant must have indefinite leave to stay in the United Kingdom, which means that there is no signified date that they have to leave the UK or the applicant must have been provided with permanent residency if they hail from an EEA member state. The applicant must also have had this indefinite leave to remain for the prior 12 months and the applicant must have abided by all immigration laws during their time in the United Kingdom.
While it is natural that applicants will feel stressed about dealing with the application process, help is available. There is an abundance of immigration solicitors who can provide specialist support to applicants, which means that help is always at hand.
Becoming a British citizen is a major step in life for many people and help is on offer for people looking to head down this path.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.