It is undeniable that the political events of the past few months have put a dark light on the future of Europeans living across the UK, no matter how long ago they arrived.
My husband had been considering applying for citizenship much before all of this happened, he even passed the ‘life in the UK’ test in August 2014. But because our daughter was a baby at the time and we did not get much sleep at night, we kept on pushing back filling out all the forms for him to apply for British nationality, providing the traveling diary requested which was the longest job to put together with all the papers requested.
At the time we were blindly convinced that Brexit would never happen, so we did not rush things until the end of 2015. When we tried to apply then, the law had just recently slightly changed in Nov 2015 (with also a fee increase of 33% from £900 to £1200). So now, before applying for citizenship itself, first he had to request a permanent residency card (despite using our EU rights of residency and free movement) for which he had to provide an even longer winded list of documents than the ones needed for the nationality. We thought ‘let’s wait and see what happens in June’.
However a couple of months before the referendum, in April 2016 I had a gut feeling and decided to send all the papers to request British passports for our kids at least. The papers are quite straightforward as the entitlement for a child of EU member to be British is to have been born on UK soil and after at least 5 consecutive years of one EU parent living and working in the UK before their birth (for which P60s are sufficient as proof).
On the morning of the 24th of June we woke up aghast, full of fears about what the event we were just witnessing live in front of our eyes would mean for the future of Europe and what cultural impact it would have on our lives in the UK and across the globe altogether, but also feeling resentment for politicians’ lies and the ridiculous campaign that now opened a can of worms on hidden xenophobia across the whole country we had chosen to live our adult lives in.
In July 2016 I had my application ready for the permanent residency which I received in November and we just sent off my husband in Jan 2017 which has come back very quickly after only 6 weeks!
You do not have to apply for it to stay at present, article 50 has not even been triggered yet. However these are the reasons why we did it straight away:
– It only costs £65.
– On our cards there is no expiry date and it proves officially I arrived and have been working and living here much longer before Brexit.
– Our kids are Brits but we are not, if the UK leaves Europe procedures may change when going abroad on holidays to be able to enter the country again at passport controls.
– Processing times have gone up from 3 months up to 6 months on average now, even if my husband received his back quite quickly (and it took us 8 weeks to put our papers together to send our applications, even considering I am very well organized with all the documents I keep).
– My husband still wants to apply for citizenship without having to loose his original nationality, we are not sure if UK leaving the EU may have an impact on that as well so we want to speed up this process too.
The form you can download here has 85 pages, which really put us off in Nov 2015, however we realized only after you may not need to fill all of them in, it is much simpler if you are not applying through a sponsor for instance, but as an EU member entitled directly to permanent residency.
Main documents to provide are as follow (relevant period means at least 5 previous consecutive years – you may need 6 years if you want to apply straight away for citizenship or you will have to wait an extra year from receiving the residency card):
- Original ID for all the nationalities you hold (so it’s ideal to have an ID card to send whilst you wait for the application to be completed so you can still travel with your passport):
- Proof of address for the relevant period (Council Tax or Water bill);
- P60s for the relevant period;
- Self assessments for the relevant period if you are (also) self employed;
- Certificates if you were a student but also how you were self sufficient financially and how you had comprehensive sickness insurance (bursary or savings, private health insurance or European Health Insurance card from country of origin);
- Evidence of looking for work and in receipt of job seeker allowance if unemployed;
- Any other benefits you received from UK government (child benefit, tax credits, ecc.).
You will also need to provide:
- Letter from current employer stating you are in employment with them (especially if in a permanent position);
- List of all your employers since you arrived in the UK;
- List of all your collages and universities since you arrived in the UK;
- Travel diary of all the times you left the UK stating dates and numbers of days out as closest to reality as possible (try to retrieve from your inbox e-mail confirmations from different air and ferries companies, Eurostar, Eurotunnel, ecc).
Good luck with your applications fellow Europeans!