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Immigration and citizenship

 

If you live in the UK, or want to become a British citizen, you must be aware of the citizenship law that applies to your particular circumstances.

What is citizenship?

Citizenship is enshrined in the British Nationality Act 1981 that defines six types of British citizenship:

  • British citizenship
  • British overseas citizenship
  • British overseas territories citizenship
  • British national (overseas)
  • British protected person
  • British subject

You should also be aware that citizenship law is influenced by your immigration status. The Immigration Act 1971 gives details of those people that have the right to live and work in the UK. You should always use citizenship law and immigration law together when determining your status.

Granting citizenship

Under the laws of immigration, citizenship is only granted with precaution. Not only are foreign nationals required to take citizenship tests but they must also prove:

  • An ability to speak English
  • That a UK corporation or association employs them
  • That they are of good character

There are also restrictions on how much time foreign nationals can spend abroad within their six years of living in the UK, which is again different for those married to a British citizen. Any offences committed in the UK within the foreign national’s residence in Britain will affect their rights to apply for citizenship.

Immigration into the UK is strict and anyone found not in compliance with the rules could face deportation and may be prevented from residing or even entering the UK again. To avoid legal pitfalls when applying for immigration citizenship it is wise to consult expert legal advice to assist you on how to become naturalised in the UK.

Proving your citizenship status

Generally, under citizenship law in the UK, you can prove your British nationality with a UK passport. However, you should be fully aware of the documents you need to produce in order to apply for the UK passport.

The Identity and Passport Service can give you more details about these supporting documents. If you do not have the required documents, you can apply for a nationality status certificate.

If your status comes into question, the help and advice of an immigration and identity solicitor can be invaluable. They can help you fight any case that has been brought against you that could seek to revoke any citizenship status you may have at the moment, and deport you from the country.

Always contact a qualified solicitor as early as possible as this will give your case the best chance of a successful outcome. Applications to the court may have time constraints and by contacting a solicitor at your earliest convenience, you are giving the solicitor as much time as possible to prepare your case.

For further guidance, see our information page on immigration and naturalisation.

Do you want to apply for British Citizenship but don’t know how? Contact Law works with a number of immigration experts, specialising in filing these kinds of applications. Please call us on 0800 433 4846 or complete the web-form above.

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