Giambrone’s UK immigration team advises and assists EU citizens aiming to adopt British citizenship in a wide range of applications leading to dual nationality. Immigration law is complex and changes continuously and now, more than ever, impacts significantly on the lives of European Union citizens living in the UK. Our lawyers’ well-deserved reputation and breadth of specialist knowledge combine to make Giambrone one of the leading immigration service providers. Giambrone's immigration teams can also assist with Italian immigration and Spanish Immigration
The UK is often the country of choice for many young Europeans hoping to expand their experience and forge a career, countless Italian and Spanish citizens have made Britain their home. Since Brexit and the loss of freedom of movement and residence in Britain for EU citizens, the possibility of dual citizenship has become a serious option.
Giambrone can help guide you as to the best route for you and your particular circumstances, helping you with the challenges and taking you step by step through the process ensuring that your application is sound and will not fail due to an avoidable error or breach.
If you have had an application rejected due to incorrect documentation, we may be able to assist with a re-application.
Why choose Giambrone?
The lawyers in our immigration teams have years of experience in advising and assisting EU citizens with all aspects of the steps to dual British citizenship. Our lawyers offer pragmatic solution-based advice based on your individual circumstances, including assisting with navigating complex applications.
Where necessary, our immigration team can draw on the expertise of our lawyers in associate practice areas and also those in our European offices. Giambrone’s lawyers are multi-lingual and can discuss your situation in your own language to ensure complete clarity and avoid misunderstandings. We ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of all the requirements that need to be met to achieve British citizenship, including the supporting documentation necessary.
Our lawyers take a realistic approach and have a track record of satisfactorily resolving complicated issues for our clients, including managing discretionary waivers. We fully recognise that the situation has changed between the EU and Britain and our clients need to be certain of their position to enable them to remain in the UK.
The first step to achieving British citizenship is to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. EU citizens also EEA, (which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).and Swiss citizens can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to remain living in the UK after 30 June 2021. Your dependent family can also be included in the application. Giambrone’s immigration lawyers will assist you with your application and ensure that all your documentation is in order.
To make an application you will require the following evidence:
- Proof of your identity - EU, EEA and Swiss citizens are required to produce a valid passport or valid national identity card as well as a digital photograph of your face.
- Proof of continuous residence - in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least six months in any 12 month period for five years in a row. Evidence such as a valid permanent residence document or indefinite leave to remain in or to enter the UK. Or, if you arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020, you can give your National Insurance number to allow an automated check of your residence based on tax and other records.
You must declare all criminal convictions, even those committed overseas. The Home Office will check anyone over the age of 18 years to establish whether you have committed serious or repeatedly committed crimes and whether you are considered to pose a security threat.
However, “spent” convictions do not require disclosure, nor do “warnings” or alternatives to prosecution such as fines. You will be checked against the Home Office database. Minor crimes will not count against you and you will still be eligible for pre-settled or settled status. However, if you have been to prison, your five years continuous residence starts from the day you were released.
If successful, it will result in receiving either pre-settled or settled status. The status you receive depends on how long you have been living in the UK.
If you have pre-settled status you can upgrade to settled status enabling you to remain in the UK for an additional five years from the date your status was granted. You will need to apply again to the EU Settlement Scheme, this must be done before your pre-settlement status expires.
If you left the UK for more than six months in a 12 month period during your period of pre-settled status you may not be eligible for settled status.
The five year period that you may remain in the UK begins from the first day you arrived in the UK
Rights under Pre-settled and Settled Status
You are permitted to:
- Work in the UK
- Access the NHS free – if you able to do so already
- Study or enroll in education
- If eligible, access benefits and pensions from public funds
- Freely travel in and out of the UK
Additional Rights under Settled Status
You will have the right to remain in the UK and to apply for British citizenship.
You can spend five years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status.
UK Permanent Residence Document
If you have a valid UK Permanent Residence Document in the form of a certificate inside your blue ‘residence documentation’ booklet (or pink if you’re a Swiss national) or a certificate inside your passport, your application to the EU Settlement Scheme will not require proof of five years continuous residence in the UK.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
There are a number of conditions attached to ILR. Giambrone’s immigration team will be able to establish whether any of the qualifying criteria apply to you, The following are examples:
- Long residence – legal residence for ten year
- Exceptional compassionate circumstances – a detailed explanation will be required
- Retired person visa – the capacity to demonstrate financial independence will be required
- Returning to permanently reside in the UK
- Discretionary leave
- UK ancestry visa
If you have ILR you can remain living in the UK. The advantage of applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is you can spend up to five years living outside the UK as opposed to two years under ILR.
You are eligible to apply for British citizenship following five years legal continuous residence in the UK and also have, in the past 12 months, had one of the following:
- Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- Settled Status
- Indefinite Leave to enter the UK
From 1 January 2021 if you had permanent residence prior to obtaining Settled Status the time under permanent residence can count towards the 12-month requirement following five years permanent residence.
There are a number of criteria for application for British Citizenship, as follows:
- You must be over 18 years old
- You must be able to give evidence that you were continuously in the UK for a minimum of five years before the day the Home Office receives your application
- You must be able to prove your capacity with the English language by either an English qualification at B1, B2, C1, or C2 level or having a degree that was taught or researched in English.
- You must pass the Life in the UK test. In order to do so, you should study the handbook of Life in the UK and you will be tested over 45 minutes to answer 24 questions about British traditions and customs.
- You must intend to continue living in the UK
- You must be of good character
Other ways leading to British citizenship are:
- You have at least one British parent
- You have an alternative type of British nationality
- You previously had British Citizenship which you renounced
- You are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
Giambrone’s immigration teams can discuss your individual situation with you and advise you on the best route to British citizenship. If your application is not straightforward our lawyers will be able to assess your circumstances and provide a realistic assessment of your situation and likelihood of success.
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