Moving to the UK may be a lifelong dream, a business opportunity, or a necessity for family obligations. Whatever the reason you’re contemplating British citizenship, the road can be long, confusing, and expensive. Making even simple mistakes along the way can cost money and time. Working with a UK immigration lawyer in USA will help smooth the road to your ultimate goal.
The Brexit Effect
At the beginning of the Brexit process, there was some confusion about the status of UK citizens living in the EU. Pre-Brexit, as members of the EU, UK citizens enjoyed the freedom to live anywhere within the European Union. An EU identity card or passport was enough to prove a citizen’s right to work or pay rent in another EU country. June 30, 2021, was the cutoff date for those privileges.
Currently, UK citizens are not automatically eligible for citizenship and must abide by each individual country’s immigration laws.
This is a big consideration for Americans whose emigration plans included the dream of living, working, and traveling through the EU unhindered as a UK citizen. While those options are still possible, Brexit has limited the unfettered freedom UK citizens formerly enjoyed.
If traveling extensively through other European countries was part of your plan, you need to stay updated on the changes Brexit is bringing.
Options for Citizenship
The most common way for immigrants to the UK to gain citizenship is through naturalization. To be eligible for naturalization, applicants must:
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Be of good character with no serious criminal record.
- Live in the UK for the required amount of time (At least 5 years in most cases).
- Be able to meet English language knowledge requirements.
- Pass a citizenship test.
- Never have broken any UK immigration laws.
After applying for citizenship, you’ll receive an identification number from the immigration office. The office will contact you if there is information missing from your application. Don’t expect to hear a status update in fewer than six months. You can use your ID number to visit the UK government website and check for updates on your case.
Marrying a UK citizen is another path toward citizenship, but it isn’t a guaranteed route. Several legal requirements need to be met, including the five-year residency requirement, the English language requirements, and the citizenship test.
Applying for citizenship isn’t complicated, but can be confusing as there are three different ways to do it. As an individual, you can apply as a naturalized citizen or through the Nationality Checking Service. If applicable, a representative from a private company can apply on your behalf.
You don’t have to give up citizenship from your home country to become a UK citizen. Dual citizenship allows a person to hold legal citizenship in more than one country. Not every country in the world allows for dual citizenship, but the UK does.
Do I need a UK Immigration Lawyer in USA?
It’s possible to get citizenship without the help of an immigration lawyer, but it is not advisable. Working with someone who already understands the laws and regulations can save you time and money in the long run.