Is it possible to live permanently in the UK without applying for British citizenship?

02 Aug 2023, 30 mins ago

For some individuals, obtaining British citizenship is a goal they have worked towards since first applying for a visa to come to the UK. For others, however, British citizenship may not be desirable for various reasons, even though they still wish to live permanently in the UK.

If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status (through the EU Settlement Scheme) in the UK, you are free from ‘immigration time restrictions’, meaning that there is no limit to how long you are permitted to be in the UK (unlike for those who are in the UK on a visa or as a visitor). You are therefore able to permanently live in the UK without having to apply for British citizenship.

Indefinite Leave to Remain and Settled Status can be revoked in certain circumstances, including criminality, deportation, or the use of deception in a previous application.

In addition, you may lose your Indefinite Leave to Remain, if you are absent from the UK for a period of 2 years. Similarly, your Settled Status may be revoked, if you are absent from the UK for 5 years. The Home Office also retains the right to withdraw Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain, where they determine that the individual is no longer ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK. In such circumstances and provided you have retained strong connections with the UK, it may be possible to submit a Returning Resident application to re-instate your Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status in the UK.

The powers of the Home Secretary to deprive someone of their British citizenship are much more limited than those to revoke Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status (although the former have been exercised more frequently in recent years). Primarily, a person may be stripped of their British citizenship, if it is determined that they have obtained nationality through fraud (for example, by having lied on their citizenship application), or where deprivation of citizenship is deemed to serve  the public good (for sufficiently serious reasons, such as national security).

British citizenship will not be removed from a person for simply relocating to another country, unless it is found that they were dishonest when stating to the Home Office that they intended for the UK to remain their permanent home upon obtaining citizenship, as this is a requirement for some citizenship applications.

How Gherson can assist

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The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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