The Home Office has decided to make it more difficult for European residents to become British citizens. EU citizens with settled status who apply for naturalisation may now have to provide evidence that they have been living in the UK legally, according an update to government nationality policy released on 15 May.
One of the requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen is to have lived in the UK for five years (or three years if married to a Brit). Time living here in breach of UK immigration law doesn’t count. The Home Office has long taken the view that EU citizens physically present in the UK but who do not have a right of residence under EU law are in breach of UK immigration law. Unknowingly lacking a right to reside is surprisingly common — many people without comprehensive sickness insurance were caught out by this in the past.
But when people with settled status come to apply for citizenship, the Home Office is now saying that the right to reside issue must be dealt with in their application. Simply having settled status is not enough, in this context. Settled status will serve as proof of being free of immigration time restrictions (another of the naturalisation requirements) but will not do in terms of showing that the person’s residence up to the point of getting settled status was in accordance with immigration law.
Shortened article from “Free Movement Weekly Newsletter”.