The Home Office have reported a huge surge in the number of applicants applying for British citizenship following Brexit decision. In this blog post, Kelsey Wilson considers the pros and cons in applying for a British passport now.
Factors to consider
Before making the decision to naturalise (the process by which adults become British citizens), you should weigh up all the factors.
Does your Country of origin allow dual nationality?
Whilst many countries within the EU allow you to have dual nationality, you must be aware that some countries do not. The countries which do not allow you to have dual nationality are: Austria, Estonia, Lithuania,Netherlands, Norway, Poland & Slovakia. For nationals of these countries, applying for a British passport may make little sense, given that being a British citizen no longer means citizenship of the European Union.
Are there any tax disadvantages to becoming British?
If you have concerns about your tax position, you should seek independent financial advice.
Could you be British already?
There have been some recent positive developments in the law in respect of both those born overseas to British mothers and those born illegitimately to British parents. This is quite a complex area of the law, if you fall into this category, we would recommend that you arrange a consultation with one of the partners within our experienced immigration team.
Impact on non EU family members if you become British?
As with the positive developments there has also been some negative developments which must be considered. The UK Government now says that the family members of dual citizens cannot benefit from EU free movement law. This means that any family members from outside the EEA would lose their right of residence in the UK if their EEA family member naturalises as British.
For those without these issues, there remain strong benefits to naturalising:
1) Once naturalised as a British citizen, there are only very limited circumstances where you can lose your British citizenship – there are situations where it can be revoked – for example the Home Office can revoke your British citizenship if it is found that it has been obtained by fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact, it can also be revoked if it would be in the public interest to do so.
2) You will no longer be subjected to immigration control.
3) There will be no need to worry about keeping up to date with any changes in Immigration legislation.
4) British nationality can be passed on automatically to children.
5) You can apply for your British passport
6) You can leave the UK for any length of time and still retain the right to reside in the UK.
7) You will have access to consular assistance abroad from British consulates and high commissions
8) You will be entitled to vote in all elections - subject to residency
9) By being registered on the electoral role, you will potentially have a better credit score.
Although the naturalisation application process can be quite lengthy, it may be beneficial for you to apply for British citizenship before Brexit, given the current uncertainties. Further, in recent years, the costs of naturalisation, as with all other types of applications, continue to rise sharply, if you meet the requirements now, why wait?
Thinking about applying?
You can contact any of the immigration team on the following email addresses provided below.