British Naturalisation for Refugees

If you are looking to apply for naturalisation, either for yourself or your child, then we are able to provide legal assistance.

Becoming a British citizens grants you unrestricted rights to live, work and exercise democratic rights in the UK.

As a refugee, you will need to submit an application to become a British Citizen. This is done by passing the requirements needed for British naturalisation.

ARE YOU A REFUGEE AND WANT TO APPLY FOR BRITISH NATURALISATION?

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How to Become A British Citizen

Assuming you have had refugee status, you would be in possession of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This an official form of identity, confirming that you are permitted to work and live in the UK.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

brp card for refugees

The BRP would normally allow refugees validity to remain in the UK for up to 5 years. The BRP card would say 'Leave to Remain' under the 'Type of Permit' label as shown above. The key  points here are:

  • The BRP has an expiry – make sure you know when this is
  • If you do not extend your leave you will become an ‘overstayer
  • Once you become and overstayer, You could be detained or removed from the UK

How to Extend Your Stay in the UK

Once you have been lawfully in the uk for 5 years, you will then need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This status needs to be awarded and held for a minimum of one year before you can then proceed to apply for naturalisation.

Before you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you could look to apply for Family Reunion. This can be done at any point during the 5 years that you have refugee status.

extend your stay in the uk

Applying for Settlement: ILR

After 5 years of refugee status, Limited Leave to Remain (LLR), you may be able to apply for

settlement, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The key things to remember here are:

  • You MUST apply 28 days before your BRP expires
  • All dependents must also be included in your application - this includes children born in the UK
  • You must surrender your travel document
  • You must declare any convictions or civil penalties

Applying for British Citizenship

You will also need to meet certain conditions to apply for naturalisation:

  • Applicants must be over 18
  • Less than 450 days spent outside the UK during your first 5 years in the UK
  • Had at least 1 year in the UK under Indefinite Leave to Remain status
  • Less than 90 days spent outside the UK in the last 12 months under Indefinite Leave to Remain status
  • Prove you have a knowledge of English and pass the life in the UK test
  • Intend to continue to live in the UK
  • Be of good character and not broken any immigration rules e.g. working illegally

British Naturalisation Cost

As of 2019, the Home Office fee for naturalisation is £1,330.00. The cost of this application has increased every year and is unlikely to decrease. We have seen it increase an average of £200 per annum over the last 15 years as shown by the graph below.

naturalisation fee chart

Good Character & Disclosures

Your application will either be refused or your temporary leave extended if you have:

  • Criminal Offences (including driving)
  • Civil Order (relating to conduct)
  • Dishonesty in relation to public funds
  • Debt: All applicants will be credit checked
  • Failure to disclose (all of the above and more)

Most Common Issues for Denial or Delays

Your application will either be refused or your temporary leave extended if you have:

  • DRIVING OFFENCES: Speeding, no insurance, faulty vehicle, incorrect or expired license
  • DEBT: CCJS, most commonly via rent arrears and credit agreements. (In order to avoid this you must speak to your landlord / creditors if you have any issues with paying)

What Next?

Immigration rules change constantly hence you should always seek advice from an accredited advisor. In addition, as indicated from the Home Office fee chart above, the rules are likely to get more difficult and more expensive.

As an OISC certified organisation, we are qualified to give advice and assistance to our clients that need guidance on Naturalisation, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.