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If your marriage or partnership breaks down irretrievably due to domestic violence or abuse, you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. For further details click here.

 

However, if your marriage or partnership breaks down irretrievably, but no domestic violence or abuse has taken place, whilst you are resident in the UK with Limited Leave to Remain as a partner under Appendix Armed Forces, then you are required to leave the United Kingdom because the sole reason for your UK residence in based on your relationship with the serving member of HM Forces, who is your sponsor. This is because the Immigration Rules require that your relationship be still subsisting and that you intend to continue living together.

 

Once you have separated from your partner, you are no longer meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules in terms of the residence requirements and your conditions of Leave to Remain or Enter (visa), and you are required to either return to your home country, or to apply for Leave to Remain from within the UK, in a different immigration category.

 

However, if you attempt an application for Leave to Remain in another category, you will be expected to meet the requirements or have your matter considered by the Home Office outside the Immigration Rules and/or under the European Convention on Human Rights; or if you have been in the United Kingdom for at least 10 years, you may apply under the Long Residence Rules.

Alternative Applications for Permission to Remain in the UK after the Breakdown of Your Relationship

Alternative Applications Alternative Applications for Permission to Remain in the UK after the Breakdown of Your Relationship

a. 10 Year Continuous Lawful Residence Route (Long Residence)

If you have had lawful residence and lived in the United Kingdom for at least 10 years, then you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.   However, you need to have been living in the UK legally for the whole of the 10 years. The Home Office UKVI does not currently recognise time overseas on accompanied assignments as residence in the UK under the 10 Year Route. For full Home Office guidance on the Long Residence route to settlement click here.

b. Permission to Remain in the UK on the Basis of being a Parent of a British Child or a child who has been living in the UK for at least 7 Years.

 

Your eligibility to apply for a variation of your residence in the UK, will depend on your personal circumstances.

 

The Immigration Rules

The relationship requirements relating to an application for Leave to Remain as a parent are:

  • The child of the applicant must be-
    • under the age of 18 years at the date of application, or where the child has turned 18 years of age since the applicant was first granted entry clearance or leave to remain as a parent under this Appendix, must not have formed an independent family unit or be leading an independent life;
    • living in the UK; and
    • a British Citizen or settled in the UK; or
    • has lived in the UK continuously for at least the 7 years immediately preceding the date of application.

Either-

  • the applicant must have sole parental responsibility for the child or the child normally lives with the applicant and not their other parent (who is a British Citizen or settled in the UK), and the applicant must not be eligible to apply for leave to remain as a partner under this Appendix; or
  • the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives must be-
    • a British Citizen in the UK or settled in the UK;
    • not the partner of the applicant (which here includes a person who has been in a relationship with the applicant for less than two years prior to the date of application); and
    • the applicant must not be eligible to apply for leave to remain as a partner under this Appendix.
  • The applicant must provide evidence that they have either-
    • sole parental responsibility for the child, or that the child normally lives with them; or
    • direct access (in person) to the child, as agreed with the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives or as ordered by a court in the UK; and
  • The applicant must provide evidence that they are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing.

 

In Summary
  • If you have a British child or a child who is not a British Citizen, but has been living in UK for seven years continuously, then you will have a case and can apply for permission to continue living in the United Kingdom.  You will be eligible to apply for Limited Leave to Remain as a parent if it can be shown that you have sole responsibility for your child; or you have access rights to the child.
  • Your application to remain in the UK on the basis that you are a parent of either a British citizen child, or a child who has resided in the UK for seven continuous years, will either be considered and granted under the five year route to settlement, or under the 10 year route to settlement.  The route you are placed on will depend on whether you meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules:-
  • Five-year route to settlement: you must meet all of the requirements of the immigration rules.
    • You have sole responsibility for the child or access rights to the child. If the child lives with the other parent, then that parent must also be British or have ILR. You must provide evidence of your sole responsibility or that you take an active role in the child’s upbringing
    • You must have a valid visa, which was issued for more than six months, unless that leave was granted pending the outcome of family court or divorce proceedings;
    • You must be able to adequately maintain and house yourself and your child
    • You must meet the English language requirement
    • You must meet the suitability requirements (i.e. you have no criminal convictions)
  • Ten-year route to settlement: you will need to meet the following requirements:
    • You have sole responsibility or access rights to the child. If the child lives with the other parent, then that parent must also be British or have ILR. You must provide evidence of your sole responsibility or that you take an active role in the child’s upbringing.
    • You do not meet the English language requirement
    • You must not be in the UK as a visitor or with leave granted for a period of six months or less; unless that leave was granted pending the outcome of family court or divorce proceedings; or
    • You do not have valid leave to remain – you do not have permission to remain in the UK; or your visa has expired, and you are an overstayer.

 

For further details on the Immigration Rules relating to remaining in the UK as a parent of a child in the UK, click here and then open the drop down on ‘Family life as a parent of a child in the UK’.

 

Decision on Application for Limited Leave to Remain as a Parent

If you meet the requirements for Limited Leave to Remain as a parent, you will be granted Limited Leave to Remain for a period not exceeding 30 months, and subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds.

 

You will be eligible to apply for settlement after a continuous period of at least 60 months and you will placed on the 5 year route to settlement.

 

However, if they do not meet all the requirements, for example, you do not meet the English  language requirement, or you currently do not have valid leave,  you will be granted leave to remain for a period not exceeding 30 months and subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds unless the Home Office  considers, that you should not be subject to such a condition, and you will be eligible to apply for settlement after a continuous period of at least 120 months in the UK and placed on the 10 year route to settlement. You will therefore be eligible for settlement after completing 10 years lawful residence.

c. Not Lawfully Resident in the UK – Private Life route

In the alternative to the parent route, if you do not have lawful residence in the UK, but you have lived in the UK for 20 years, or if you are under 25 years of age and have lived in the UK for half of your life, you may be eligible to apply for Leave to Remain on the basis of your private life.  Please contact NFF for advice regarding an application of this type. For full details of Private Life in the Immigration Rules , click here and then access the ‘Private Life’ section.

 

If you do not meet any of the above circumstances, then you are advised that you may find that your only option is to leave the United Kingdom and return to your home country.

 

However, there are other exceptional circumstances, which may need to be considered. Exceptional circumstances may include:

  • What is deemed in the best interest of a child
  • Length of time you have spent in the UK, including social, cultural and family ties
  • Any compelling circumstances and whether returning to your country of origin would cause undue hardship and whether there are any insurmountable obstacles for your reintegration into your home country

 

Documentary Evidence Required

You will be required to lodge evidence to support an application for Leave to Remain.  Please contact NFF for advice and guidance on the specific documentary evidence required to support your particular application.

 

Application Forms

Partners of HM Forces personnel whose marriage has broken down and you are the parent of either a British child or your child has lived in the UK for seven years or more. You will be eligible to apply for limited leave. If you are eligible, you will need to apply using the requisite online form.  Please click here and follow the guidance as to which form you will be required to complete.

Fee Waivers on Destitution

Destitution means that you do not have adequate accommodation and/or you cannot meet your other essential living needs because you do not have sufficient income.  If you claim destitution, you may be eligible for a waiver of the Home Office fee.

 

What you need to know before submitting your request

You will be eligible for a fee waiver if you cannot afford to pay the Home Office fee because you:

  • do not have a place to live and you cannot afford one
  • have a place to live but cannot afford your essential living costs like food or heating
  • have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing

 

You will need to provide evidence that you are destitute.  If you are still residing in Service Family Accommodation and the rent is being covered by the serving partner, or if you are in receipt of local authority support, but have limited income, you may still be eligible for a fee waiver.  However, merely because you have limited income, does not automatically mean you will be considered as destitute by the Home Office.

 

Before you begin your request for a fee waiver, you should read the guidance which includes information about who is eligible for a fee waiver, what destitute means, how to request a fee waiver and the documents you must send in to support your request. For full details on fee waivers click here.

 

If you make a fee waiver request through the online service and you qualify, you must also apply for your leave to remain application online. You may start your leave to remain application online, but it should only be submitted after you have received a decision on your fee waiver request.

 

If you make a fee waiver request before your current leave expires, and then you make an application for leave to remain, the date of that application will be deemed the date you submitted the fee waiver request. If you make a fee waiver request and you have no leave or your current leave has expired and then submit an application for leave to remain, the date of application will be the date you submit that application for leave to remain, not the date you submitted the fee waiver request.

 

You must provide evidence that you qualify for a fee waiver. This will be different depending on your circumstances, but might include documents such as letters local authorities, or bank statements.

 

You will be asked for details and evidence about yourself, any dependants you plan to include in your application for Leave to Remain and anyone else in your household or who helps you with money, accommodation or meeting your essential living needs.

 

There is no charge for making a request for a fee waiver.

 

You can only make a fee waiver request if you are making an application to remain in the UK on the basis of family life or private life for the following routes:

  • as a partner or spouse, under the 5 year route, where you do not need to meet the minimum income threshold because your partner is in receipt of one or more specified benefits
  • as a parent, under the 5 year route
  • as a partner, parent or dependant child based on your family life or private life in the UK, under the 10 year route
  • on human rights grounds, including where you were previously refused under the family route but granted “Discretionary Leave” or “leave outside the Rules”
  • to extend your leave as someone who was refused asylum or humanitarian protection and given “Discretionary Leave” instead
  • to extend your leave as a person who was previously granted leave as a victim of trafficking or slavery.

To apply for a fee waiver of the Home Office fee, you must complete the online fee waiver request form.

 

What happens next

If you qualify for a fee waiver, you will be told by letter, which is now usually sent by email. This letter will include a personalised code that you enter in your application for leave to remain that shows which fee waiver you have qualified for when applying for your leave to remain application.

If you qualify for a fee waiver, you will also not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

 

Application for change of conditions of leave to allow access to public funds because your circumstances have changed

If you are granted Limited Leave to Remain under either the 5 Year or 10 Year Route to Settlement, you will be issued with a condition of ‘no recourse to public funds.  Having no recourse to public funds means that you do not have access to a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income.

 

If so, it means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state.

 

However, there are exceptions for some benefits and if you are in any doubt, you should contact the department or agency that issues it. This will often be the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

 

Public funds include a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support. These are:

  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • income support
  • child tax credit
  • universal credit
  • working tax credit
  • a social fund payment
  • child benefit
  • housing benefit
  • council tax benefit
  • council tax reduction
  • domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland)
  • state pension credit
  • attendance allowance
  • severe disablement allowance
  • personal independence payment
  • carer’s allowance
  • disability living allowance
  • an allocation of local authority housing
  • local authority homelessness assistance

 

If you can provide evidence that you are destitute or on serious financial difficulties, or where it can be shown that there are other compelling reasons relating to the welfare of your child and you require financial support, then you may apply to have your conditions of Leave to Remain varied.

 

To apply for a change of conditions of leave to allow access to public funds:

For the application form, click here. If you already have leave granted on the basis of your family or private life and your financial circumstances have changed.

 

You can apply for a change to your conditions if:

  • your financial circumstances have changed since being given permission to stay in the UK and you are no longer able to provide food or housing for yourself or your family
  • your child is at risk because of your very low income
  • you had financial problems when you first applied but you did not provide evidence of this and you now want to provide this evidence

You can only change the conditions of leave which will allow you to access public funds to which you may be entitled with this request.

 

Eligibility

Click here to check your ability before you apply. You are eligible to apply for a change of conditions if:

  • you have leave to remain under the 10 year partner, parent or private life route, where the applicant claims that refusal of that application for leave to remain would breach their rights (or the rights of other specified persons) under ECHR Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life)
  • you have leave to remain on the basis of other ECHR right

 

You can also be eligible to apply if you have leave to remain under the 5 year partner/parent route. If you are accepted, you would be considered to have moved on to the 10 year route to settlement and as such any future applications for leave will be considered under the 10 year route.

 

However, when you come to reapply, if you feel that you again meet the criteria under the 5 year route you should be aware that any leave you had previously accumulated under the 5 year route will not count towards your new 5 year period.

 

For example, if you previously had 4 years leave to remain under the 5 year route to settlement but applied for a change of condition code and were moved on to the 10 year route, when you next apply under the 5 year route you will need to complete a new period of 5 years in order to then apply for settlement.

 

You will qualify for an amendment to your conditions of leave only if:

  • you are destitute
  • there are particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of your child on account of your very low income
  • there are exceptional circumstances in your case relating to your financial circumstances
  • you are at risk of becoming destitute

 

A person is destitute if:

  • they do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it (whether or not their other essential living needs are met)
  • they have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet their other essential living needs
  • they are at risk of destitution if either or both of the above are imminent

If you are eligible to apply you will find guidance on how to complete your application and the evidence you need to provide within the online application.  However, if you are in any doubt, please contact NFF for advice and assistance.

 

What happens next

If you meet the requirements for a change to the conditions of your leave to allow you to apply for public funds you will be told by letter or email. This may include a request that you give biometric information (fingerprints and photograph). You would need to do this at a Service & Support Centre (SSC). Information on how to do this will be provided in the decision. The Home Office will then issue you with a new biometric residence permit.

This application is free of charge.

General advice and support on Separation or divorce

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) has compiled a comprehensive information section on the website. This contains information on:

  • General information on separation and divorce
  • Domestic abuse and divorce
  • Accommodation considerations
  • Support for emotions and wellbeing
  • Legal help and advice
  • Financial advice
  • FAQ’s

 

Click here for a link to this information.

Posted on: 4th September, 2020

British Citizenship – Children Born in the UK (and Overseas)

Any child born to a serving member of HM Forces on or after 13th January 2010 is automatically a British citizen by virtue of Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 (including Reserves subject to Service law by virtue of s.367(2)(a)-(c) of the 2006 Armed Forces act).  If the child’s mother is a civilian and a foreign national, it does not matter whether the parents are married.

 

The requirement to be married to the mother only applies to those who were born before 1st July 2006. The requirement that the child should be born ‘legitimate’ has not been relevant since 01st July 2006.  The requirement to be married to the mother only applies to those who were born before 01st July 2006; in such circumstances, the child can be registered as a British citizen.

A person born in the UK on or after 1 July 2006 is a British citizen if -

Under Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, a person born in the UK on or after 1 July 2006 is a British citizen if, at the time of their birth, one or more of the following applies:

  • either parent is a British citizen
  • either parent is settled in the UK
  • either parent is a member of the armed forces and the person was born on or after 13 January 2010

 

Children born in the United Kingdom to parents who are not British and did not have Indefinite Leave to Remain at the time of their birth and one or both of their parents subsequently enlist into HM Forces after their birth are either entitled or eligible to be registered as British citizens.

  • Children born after 13th January 2010 are entitled to be registered as a British Citizen under Section 1(3A) of the British Nationality Act.
  • They are not eligible for a British Passport until they have been registered.
  • Children born before 13th January 2010 are eligible to be registered under Section 1(3). However, they will now also be entitled to register under Section 1 (4).

 

Applications for children to become British citizens need to be made using either Form MN1 or Form T. This will depend of the child’s personal circumstances, or their parents and will also depend on what Section of the British Nationality Act 1981 they are relying on.  Children are not naturalised, they are registered as British Citizens.

 

As a parent, you must ensure that your child is registered under the appropriate provision. A child with an entitlement should be registered under that entitlement and not by use of the discretion under Section 3(1), unless necessary.

 

Failure to register a child under the appropriate Section of the 1981 British Nationality Act could adversely affect future generations. This is because in some cases registration under section 3(1) would give British citizenship by descent, whereas registration under an entitlement provision would give British citizenship otherwise than by descent.

 

The British Nationality Act 1981 contains several provisions which give children in certain circumstances an eligibility or entitlement to registration as British citizens. A few of them are:

 

  • Section 1(3) and Section 1 (3A) applies to those children who were born in the United Kingdom and their parents have either becomes a British citizen, or settled in the UK or have enlisted into HM Armed Forces
  • Section 3(1) application applies to children who may be eligible and registered at the Home Secretary’s Discretion if they do not meet all the requirements
  • Section 1(4) applies to UK born children with residence in the UK from birth to age 10
  • Section 4D applies to children who were born outside the UK to a parent serving in the armed forces.
Registration Under Section 1 (3): = Form MN1
Requirements for Registration under Section 1(3)

Children are entitled to registration under section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born in the UK;
  • they were not British citizens at birth because at the time neither parent was a British citizen or settled;
  • while they are minors either of the parents has since become a British citizen or settled in the UK, or join HM Armed Forces
  • they are under the age of 18 on the date the application is received
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10

 

Evidence required under Section 1(3)

Applications under section 1(3) must be supported by the following evidence:

  • Child’s full birth certificate showing birth in the UK, parents’ details and registration in the 12 month period following birth
  • Evidence of parent’s British citizenship since the applicant’s birth, such as:
    • a British passport
    • a naturalisation certificate
    • a registration certificate
  • Evidence of parent’s settled status since the applicant’s birth, such as:
    • an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) stamp in a passport
    • a Home Office letter
    • a no time limit stamp
    • a biometric residence permit (BRP) confirming ILR
  • A marriage certificate, if:
    • the parent on whom the claim is based became a British citizen or settled in the UK after the child was born
    • the child was born prior to 1 July 2006 to a father who is a British citizen.

 

Registration under section 1(3) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descent.  This means that your child will pass on their British nationality to future generations.

Registration Under Section 1 (3A): = Form MN1

Requirements for registration under section 1(3A). Children are entitled to registration under section 1(3A) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born in the UK on or after 13 January 2010
  • they were not a British citizen at birth, as at the time neither parent was:
    • a British citizen
    • settled in the UK
    • serving in the UK armed forces

Registration under section 1(3A) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descent.  This means that your child will pass on their British nationality to future generations.

 

Evidence required under section 1(3A) Applications under section 1(3A) must be supported by the following evidence:

  • Child’s full birth certificate showing birth in the UK on or after 13 January 2010
  • Evidence of parent’s service in the UK Armed Forces
  • A Home Office stamp showing the holder is entitled to exemption under section 8(4) of the Immigration Act 1971
  • letter from the Ministry of Defence confirming service in the armed forces (including details of the postings at the time of birth and dates of service)
Registration Under Section 1 (4) = Form T
Requirements for registration under Section 1(4): Children are entitled to registration if:

Section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 allows a child to be registered as a British citizen based on the child being born in the United Kingdom and having lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life.   Children are entitled to registration under section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • It will be deemed a child is entitled to registration under Section 1 (4) if:
    • The child was born in the UK
    • The child was not a British citizen at birth as at the time of birth neither parent was a British citizen nor settled in the UK
    • The child is aged 10 years or over on the date of the application
    • The child has lived in the United Kingdom for the first 10 years of their life
    • The child has not been outside of the United Kingdom for more than 90 days in each of the first 10 years of their life
    • The child is of good character

 

Evidence required under section 1(4)

Applications under section 1(4) must be supported by the following evidence:

  • applicant’s full birth certificate to confirm that they were born in the UK and that they are 10 years or over on the date of application
  • evidence of residence to cover the first 10 years of the applicant’s life

 

The evidence of residence will differ for the different periods of a child’s life and therefore the following documents must be provided:

  • current passport
  • any expired passports
  • medical records
  • vaccination records
  • doctors’ letters o personal child health record (red book)
  • letters from child’s school confirming attendance

 

Registration under section 1(4) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descentThis means that your child will pass on their British nationality to future generations.

Registration at the Home Secretary’s Discretion – Section 3(1) application = Form MN1

A child is also eligible to have an application for registration as a British citizen considered on a discretionary basis. It is not possible to cover all circumstances under which the Home Secretary might exercise discretion. However, consideration will be given to:

 

  • The children’s connections with the United Kingdom – the Home Office would expect the children to be free of any restrictions on their stay in the United Kingdom.
  • Where the child’s future is likely to lie
  • The parents’ views
  • The parents’ nationality and immigration status – the Home Office usually expects both parents to be British citizens or one parent a British citizen and the other parent settled in the UK.
  • Whether the child is of good character.
  • The length of time the child has lived in the UK – the Home Office expects at least 2 years residence (particularly if the child is over the age of 13)
  • Any compelling circumstances.
Section 4 (D) of the British Nationality Act 1981: Citizenship for children born outside the UK whilst a parent is posted on an overseas assignment after 13th January 2010 – Form MN1

Section 4D of the British Nationality Act 1981 came in to force on 13th January 2010. This provision gave a new registration route to those born to a parent in serving in HM Armed Forces. However, only those born on or after 13th January 2010 are eligible to have an entitlement apply for citizenship under section 4D.

 

All children born to Foreign and Commonwealth serving members of HM Forces outside the UK whilst their parent was or is on an overseas posting are eligible to apply to be registered as British Citizens.

 

Requirements for registration under Section 4(D): Children are entitled to registration under Section 4 (D) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • A child was born overseas after 13th January 2010
  • Evidence confirming that the parent who is serving in HM Forces was posted/serving overseas at the time of birth, the date and place of birth of the child and the date and place of recruitment of the serving member.

 

Children Born Overseas Before 13th January 2010 to Foreign and Commonwealth Members of HM Armed Forces on an Overseas Posting: – Form MN1

For those who were born before 13th January 2020, the Secretary of State has agreed to routinely exercise her discretion and register a child under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 where:

  • The child was born outside the United Kingdom and the qualifying territories before 13 January 2010; and
  • At the time of the birth, their father or mother was:
    • a foreign and Commonwealth member of the UK Armed Forces; and
    • serving outside the United Kingdom and the qualifying territories
    • consent of both parent’s; and
    • If the person is aged 10 or over on the date of application, the Secretary of State is satisfied that they are of good character

 

Important Note:  the child’s mother does not have to accompany the parent who is serving in HM Forces on the overseas assignment for the child to be eligible to register as a British citizen.

However, if the child was born overseas when the HM Forces parent was serving in the UK, then the child is not eligible to be registered as a British citizen.

 

As of 1 April 2015 children born to non-British parents serving on an overseas assignment can be registered as British at public expense. For further information refer to 20150408 DIN ‘Family Migration Rules for UK Armed Forces family members who are Non-British’.

British Citizenship – Acquisition by Naturalisation as an Adult

Becoming a British citizen (Naturalisation) is a significant life event. As a serving member of the Armed Forces, naturalisation is not needed for service reasons therefore it is a personal choice for the service person to make. All costs associated with naturalisation are a personal responsibility (as stated in BR 3 Chapter 19 para 1914).

 

The requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen differ depending on whether or not you are applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen. There are two routes for naturalisation, under s6(1) BNA 1981) or, where the applicant is the spouse of a British citizen, s6(2). In addition to this, if you are applying as a Serving Member of the RN or RM and from a Commonwealth Country, see the section on  “Crown Service”.

Naturalisation if Married to or the Civil Partner of a British Citizen (Section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981)

A person who is married to or the civil partner of a British citizen is not automatically entitled to become a British citizen by naturalisation. A decision can only be made to grant citizenship if the individual is living in the UK and can satisfy the legal and residence requirements outlined in Booklet and Guide AN and Application to Naturalise as a British Citizen. The details are outlined below –

 

The Legal requirements you should meet before you apply are that:
  • Are aged 18 or over when you apply
  • Are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen on the date of application
  • Are of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking (but see the section on those who are not of Sound mind)
  • Can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level
  • Have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK
    • You can demonstrate your knowledge of language and life in the UK by:
    • Are of good character
      • You should read the guidance in the booklet carefully. More detailed information can be found here
    • If you have a non-custodial criminal conviction, then you will be unable to apply for citizenship until three years after your conviction. Non-custodial convictions include court-imposed fines for drink-driving and speeding, as well as fines for assault, battery etc. Fines imposed through a summary hearing or courts marshal also result in a non-custodial criminal conviction
    • If you have a custodial sentence of up to 12 months, you won’t be able to apply until 10 years after your conviction. Custodial convictions include time spend at MCTC Colchester
    • For information on which military offences are considered to be criminal click here
    • Breach of Immigration Law
      • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration law during the residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
      • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
    • Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before you apply and meet the following residence requirements:

 

The Residence Requirements
  • You must have been physically present in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 3 years before the application is received by the Home Office.
  • For example, if your application is received on 05/05/2021, you should have been physically present in the UK on 06/05/2018.
  • Most applications that fail do so because applicants have applied even though they cannot satisfy the residence requirement to be present in the UK at the beginning of the residential qualifying period.
  • You must not have had more than 270 days outside the UK in the 3-year period before making the application (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12-month period before making the application, (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must be free from immigration time restrictions on the date of application.
    • Usually there is a stamp or sticker in your passport, or you have a biometric residence permit, saying that you have indefinite leave to enter or remain or no time limit on your stay. But you may have a letter from the Home Office saying that you are free from immigration conditions. (but see the table in the section on Immigration Time Restrictions in this guidance).
  • Breach of Immigration Law
    • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration laws during the 3-year residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
    • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
Naturalisation If you are NOT married to or the civil partner of a British citizen (Section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981)

Naturalisation if not Married to or the Civil Partner of a British Citizen. A person who is not married to or the civil partner of a British citizen is not automatically entitled to become a British citizen by naturalisation. A decision can only be made to grant citizenship if the individual is living in the UK and can satisfy the legal and residence requirements outlined in Booklet and Guide AN and Application to Naturalise as a British Citizen.

 

The Legal requirements you should meet before you apply are that
  • Are aged 18 or over when you apply
  • Intend to continue to live in the UK, or to continue in Crown service, the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member, or the service of a company or association established in the UK
  • Are of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking (but see the section on those who are not of Sound mind)
  • Can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level
  • Have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK
  • You can demonstrate your knowledge of language and life in the UK by:
  • Are of good character
    • You should read the guidance in the booklet carefully. More detailed information can be found here
  • If you have a non-custodial criminal conviction, then you will be unable to apply for citizenship until three years after your conviction. Non-custodial convictions include court-imposed fines for drink-driving and speeding, as well as fines for assault, battery etc. Fines imposed through a summary hearing or courts marshal also result in a non-custodial criminal conviction
  • If you have a custodial sentence of up to 12 months, you won’t be able to apply until 10 years after your conviction. Custodial convictions include time spend at MCTC Colchester
  • For information on which military offences are considered to be criminal click here
  • Breach of Immigration Law
    • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration law during the residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
    • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
  • Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before you apply and meet the following residence requirements:

 

The Residence Requirements
  • You must have been physically present in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 5 years before the application is received by the Home Office.
  • For example, if your application is received on 05/01/2022 you should have been physically present in the UK on 06/01/2017.
  • Most applications that fail do so because applicants have applied even though they cannot satisfy the residence requirement to be present in the UK at the beginning of the residential qualifying period.
  • If you are a current or former member of the UK armed forces, you may not have to meet this requirement, if you were serving outside of the UK on the date 5 years before applying.
  • You must not have had more than 450 days outside the UK in the 5-year period before making the application (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12-month period before making the application, (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must be free from immigration time restrictions on the date of application and have been free from immigration time restrictions for the 12-month period before making the application
    • Usually there is a stamp or sticker in your passport, or you have a biometric residence permit, saying that you have indefinite leave to enter or remain or no time limit on your stay. But you may have a letter from the Home Office saying that you are free from immigration conditions. (but see the table in the section on Immigration Time Restrictions in this guidance).
  • Breach of Immigration Law
    • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration laws during the 5-year residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
    • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
Applications for Commonwealth personnel (Crown Service)

For serving members of HM Armed Forces who are from a Commonwealth Country, the application process differs slightly to the routes for civilian applications. This is in recognition of the fact that the Residential Requirements are often not met due to the fact that the serving person may have been out of the UK on Operational or other duties for a significant amount of the 5 year qualifying period. It is only an alternative to the requirements about residence in the UK: you must still satisfy the requirements about character, language skills, knowledge of life in the UK and future intentions.

 

A Commonwealth serving member of the RN/RM;

  • CAN apply for citizenship whilst serving as long as they have lived in UK (or on overseas assignments for five years
  • CAN count any time spent legally in the UK prior to joining the RN/RM. This includes time spent on visit visas
  • DO have to have served for a minimum of 12 months prior to applying
  • DO have to include a unit letter to confirm date of enlistment and that time spent overseas was due to military Service.
  • DO NOT need Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) first
  • DO have to meet the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement (KoLL), regardless of how long they may have served for (refer to the main requirements section above)
  • DO NOT have to meet the requirement to have been in the UK on the first day of the five-year residential qualifying period
  • DO have to meet the good character requirement, including the requirement to have been lawfully resident for the previous 10 years. Please refer to the ‘main requirements’ section above
  • DO have to pay the fee
  • DO NOT have to send your passport in, a scan of your passport can be sent in along with the other supporting documents

 

NOTE – from 1 December 2013 it no longer matters if the serving person becomes a British citizen prior to the spouse applying for ILR. The serving person’s nationality will no longer affect a spouse visa application.

 

Application Process

It is now necessary to apply online for citizenship if you are in the UK.  You can access the form and guidance here.

  • You should write down all of your trips outside the UK – under ‘reason for trip’ you should write ‘Crown Service’ (unless you went outside the UK for non-Service reasons).
  • Where it says ‘do you meet these residence requirements’ you should select no
  • The next question states ‘please tell us which of the requirements you do not meet and the reason you do not meet them.’ You should write in the box: I do not meet the residence requirements because I have spent more than 450 days outside the UK due to Armed Forces Service. I have provided a letter which confirms this.
  • The from will then ask the about your Crown Service, you should select Yes and then complete the rest of the form.
  • You should provide a unit letter to confirm that your time out of the UK was due to Crown Service.

 

Biometric enrolment

As part of your application, all applicants are required to enrol their biometric details for the purpose of identity verification. This includes those who are “Exempt from Immigration Control” as a member of HM Armed Forces

Where you give your biometric information depends on how you’re making your visa or immigration application.

You’ll be told where to go after you’ve applied

Your application may be rejected as invalid if you do not enrol your biometrics when requested. For more information about enrolling biometrics and the current fee. For more information on Biometric Residence Permits please click here.

HM Forces: Criminality
HM Forces: Criminality – Meeting the Good Character Requirement

 

Good Character

To be of good character you should have shown respect for the rights and freedoms of the UK, observe its laws and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident of the UK. Checks will be carried out to ensure that the information you give is correct.

If you are not honest about the information you provide, and you are registered on the basis of incorrect or fraudulent information you will be liable to have British citizenship taken away (deprivation) and you may be prosecuted. It is a criminal offence to make a false declaration knowing that it is untrue. For full details see the guidance here.

 

Military Conviction or Criminal Conviction

Behaviour which is not a crime in civilian life can be a disciplinary matter in HM Forces. There are two types of non-criminal conduct (disciplinary offences):

  • Offences listed on Schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Armed Forces Order 2009), for example, misconduct towards a superior officer or using force on a sentry. These offences will appear on a criminal record and can be considered by the Home Office when undertaking a broader consideration of character, conduct and association requirement of the suitability requirements in Appendix Armed Forces.
  • Non-criminal conduct (disciplinary offences) which are not listed on Schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Armed Forces Order 2009), for example, disobeying an order or being untidily dressed. These offences must not appear on an applicant’s criminal record and if they do they must not be considered for immigration or nationality purposes.

A disciplinary or conviction in a military court (whether a Summary Hearing or Courts Martial) is not necessarily considered to be a criminal offence and therefore may not affect an application for settlement or Citizenship.  However, it is prudent to take advice prior to applying for either Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship if an applicant has a criminal conviction or a service related offence.

 

Offences against military service law are set out in the Armed Forces Act 2006 and fall into two categories:

  • criminal conduct offences
  • non-criminal conduct (disciplinary) offences.

 

The Home Office will consider any criminal conduct offence imposed under service law in the same way as one imposed by a civilian court.

However, a non-criminal conduct (disciplinary) offence will not be treated in the same way as criminal convictions and should be disregarded by the Home Office for immigration and nationality purposes.  However, non-criminal conduct (disciplinary) offences, may be considered when considering character and conduct requirements under the suitability requirements of Appendix Armed Forces.

Please note, that absent without leave (AWOL) is considered a non-disciplinary offence and is therefore not normally recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC), but time spent AWOL and any punishment received, must be disclosed to the Home Office.

 

Offences dealt with in the Armed Forces (Minor Punishments and Limitation on Power to Reduce in Rank) Regulations 2009, must also be disclosed by applicants as criminal convictions.

Single criminal conduct offences which have attracted the following sentences will be disregarded by the Home Office as a conviction for immigration and nationality purposes:

  • restriction of privileges
  • stoppage of leave
  • admonition (caution or warn)
  • reduction in rank.

However, if an applicant has numerous minor punishments, particularly over a short period of time, the Home Office will consider these in line with the character, conduct and associations aspects of the suitability criteria.

 

Types of Non-criminal (disciplinary) offences – Armed Forces Act 2006

Convictions for the offences detailed below should not be recorded on the PNC and should not be treated as criminal convictions or considered when the Home Office assesses good character.  Convictions for these offences need not be disclosed by the applicant on the application form unless they include any punishment received for a period of absence without leave (AWOL).  However, it is not advisable to withhold information from the Home Office.

 

Contrary to Armed Forces Act 2006 Part 1 – Offences

Section 1 – Assisting an enemy

Section 2 – Misconduct on operations

Section 3 – Obstructing operations

Section 4 – Looting

Section 5 – Failure to escape

Section 6 – Mutiny

Section 7 – Failure to suppress mutiny

Section 8 – Desertion

Section 9 – Absence without leave

Section 10 – Failure to cause apprehension of deserters or absentees

Section 12 – Disobedience to lawful commands

Section 13 – Contravention of standing orders

Section 15 – Failure to attend for, or perform, duty

Section 16 – Malingering

Section 17 – Disclosure of information useful to an enemy

Section 18 – Making false records

Section 19 – Conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline

Section 20 – Unfitness or misconduct through alcohol or drugs

Section 21 – Fighting or threatening behaviour

Section 22 – Ill–treatment of subordinate

Section 23 – Disgraceful conduct of a cruel or indecent kind

Section 25 – Misapplying or wasting public or service property

Section 26 – Definition of public property or service property

Section 31 – Hazarding of ship

Section 32 – Giving false air signals

Section 33 – Dangerous flying

Section 34 – Low flying

Section 35 – Annoyance by flying

Section 36 – Inaccurate certification

Section 37 – Prize offences by officer in command of ship or aircraft

Section 38 – Other prize offences

Section 39 – Attempts

Section 41 – Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring.

 

Useful information and Links

For more information see related links to:

  • Appendix Armed Forces here
  • HM Forces Criminality here
  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1981 (Armed Forces) Order 2009 Schedule 1 here
  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1981 (Armed Forces) Order 2009 here
  •  (Minor Punishments and Limitation on Power to Reduce in Rank) Regulations 2009 here

For information on how to contact UKVI regarding Citizenship applications here.

To request your documents to be returned here.

Posted on: 3rd September, 2020