How Do You Apply for British Citizenship?

23 May 2022 - Category: Blog /
British Nationality

If you’re interested in settling down in the UK there is plenty for you to consider. So, where’s a good place to start? Well, what about looking into the application process for British nationality?

If you want to live in the UK and if you want to send money back home to your loved ones, we bet you’ve got a few questions. Learning a little about the nationality application process is a great place to start. That's why in this blog we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about applying for British citizenship.

Below you’ll learn about:

  • Why apply for British nationality?
  • Indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • How to secure an ILR
  • What about your family?
  • How you can send money overseas

Why apply for British nationality?

If you’ve relocated to the UK for education or career purposes, then you may be finding it hard to leave. Whether you are enjoying the fast-paced life in bustling cities like London, Leeds, Manchester or Birmingham, or you’ve settled down in the countryside somewhere like Devon or Yorkshire, there are a few administrative things you’ll need to get sorted out.

If you study in the UK, then you most probably know that soon after your course is over, you need to get a job and also find a sponsor for your visa. This is the best way to continue to stay in the UK for the long term.

To get this process started you’ll need to get hired by a reliable and trusted company — one that is capable of, and is willing to sponsor your Tier 2 General Visa or Skilled Worker visa. A requirement of this kind of visa is that companies can only hire expats for a job that no other British citizen can do in a better manner. This requirement is in place to ensure that British citizens don’t lose out on employment opportunities. Therefore to make the most of your career in the UK you may find it useful to apply for British citizenship.

Alternatively, if you or family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and started living in the UK before 31st December 2020 you can start the citizenship process by applying to the free EU settlement scheme.

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK

The most common term that British citizenship aspirants want to hear is: ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ or the ILR. This is the crucial step to getting your British citizenship. Once you have the ILR you will be halfway through the process and well on the way to settling down in the UK.

Once you’ve secured the IRL all you need to do is hold on to it for the next 12 months. After 12 months you can then apply for British citizenship. So, the biggest hurdle that you need to cross is the ILR, and that is what we shall focus on.

How to secure an ILR

The answer to this question depends upon the type of visa that you currently hold. There are different rules for different types of visas. Broadly speaking, there are two routes to qualify for an ILR — the 5 year route and the 10 year route.

Let’s take a look at the routes that are most relevant to those who have relocated to the UK for their education or career…

The standard process

If you are working in the UK and are on a Tier 2 General Visa, this visa will be good for 5 years and 14 days. However, if you wish to stay in the UK beyond that period, then you need to apply for an ILR.

This is easier said than done, because unless you hold the same Tier 2 General visa for 5 continuous years, your only option is the 10 year route. The standard 10 year route requires you to stay in the UK for a continuous period of 10 years, although you may do so on different visas.

Additionally, 540 days is the maximum time that you can spend away from the UK during this entire 10 year period. Equally, you must not have stayed outside the UK for 180 days or more, at a stretch, during this period. This can be a difficult requirement for people who love to spend time with their family and love to return to their family home. If you want to obtain British Nationality via this standard process this is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome.

The fast-track process: the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

The Exceptional Talent Visa puts you on the fastrack to ILR. With a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa you only need to be in the UK for only 3 years to become eligible to apply for an ILR.

As you may be able to tell from the name, getting this type of visa is not easy. You’ll need to have solid recommendations, and fall under the ‘Exceptional Talent’ category. Even if you qualify but fall under the ‘Exceptional Promise’ category then you’ll need to wait for 5 years before you can apply for an ILR.

What about your family?

If you’ve been working in the UK long enough to be eligible to apply for an ILR, then you may also have a family based in the UK. If you are not sure of how the paperwork goes for them, then here’s some useful information.

If you have dependent children younger than 18 you do not need to worry much about their ILR eligibility status because children have the same status as their parents.

When you qualify for ILR you have to make sure that all of your dependent family members apply at the same time. This is something worth paying attention to because if you get it right from the beginning then your children won’t have to go through the grind that you did to secure your British citizenship. An added bonus is that your children can skip paying the heavy international student fees at university, if they get their citizenship early.

How can I transfer money overseas once I’ve got my ILR?

With an ILR, you can begin to enjoy most of the benefits that the British citizens are entitled to. You no longer have to hold a visa to stay in the UK, and can travel abroad as many times as you please. Also, you gain access to public healthcare, and several other benefits meant exclusively for citizens.

Then after holding your ILR for 12 months, and staying in the UK without any breaks, you can apply for your British Citizenship. Once you’re settled then you may want to start sending more money home to your loved ones.

It is quick and simple to send money with Small World’s easy and effective money transfer service. Now that you know more about obtaining British nationality you can start planning to support your family and friends. This is where Small World can help

With Small World you can send money through a variety of services including bank deposit, cash pickup, home delivery, mobile wallet, and mobile top-up. This will help to get your money in the hands of family and friends as quickly and securely as possible. So if you need to support your loved ones overseas, choose Small World!

Your first transfer online is always free of fees!

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