With Brexit looming, EEA nationals who have lived in the UK for 5 years or more are considering requesting British citizenship in order to avoid the hassle of having to apply for the new – and yet unknown- settled status that the Home Office intends to introduce as a replacement of the EEA permanent residence.
In order to apply for naturalisation as British, it is necessary to obtain a certificate of Permanent Residence first. This application is sometimes daunting due to the number of documents that must be submitted, and it is possible to get it wrong. Here are the most common errors that may lead to a refusal.
- Original ID document.
The UKVI will not accept copies of passports or national identity card. An original document must be sent, unless the application is submitted online and you take your passports to a participating local authority where it will be copied, certified and submitted to the Home Office with your supporting documents. Local authorities can certify copies of passports but not national ID cards.
- Insert correct payment details
You must ensure that you fully complete the payment page and pay the correct fee of £65 per applicant. If you pay by card and the Home Office is unable to collect the payment, for example because you have insufficient funds or your card has expired, the application will be returned to you.
- Evidence that you have exercised Treaty rights
You must submit sufficient evidence that you have exercised Treaty rights as a worker or self-employed person, jobseeker, student or self-sufficient person for a continuous period of 5 years. You do not necessary have to refer to the 5 years immediately preceding the submission of the form, you can use any period of 5 years, as long as you can also demonstrate that you have not left the UK for 2 years after such period.
- Medical insurance
If you have lived in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person, you have to demonstrate that you had medical insurance for the duration of your studies or for the entire period you were self-sufficient and that you had enough funds.
- Original documents
The UKVI requires original documents when possible. Do not send copies as the Home Office may attach little weight to non-original documents
- Continuity of residence
Remember that if you have absences for 6 months or more in any 12 months period during the relevant 5 years, you might have broken your continuity of residence and you may therefore be ineligible for permanent residence. If you have long absences, you must explain the reason why you left the UK and, in case of serious reasons, the Home Office may decide to disregard them.
- Check the form, sign and date it
Ensure you have completed the correct parts of the form, including the payment page, and that you have signed and dated it. Failure to do so may lead to a refusal, and you would have wasted a lot of time and the £65 fee.