Barriers to Citizenship - Write to your MP
For years, EU citizens have made the UK their home. Today, many identify as British and wish to officially become citizens of the UK and want to see their UK-born children have citizenship as well.
Approximately six million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme were made by EU citizens. About half resulted in settled status. For many, this form of indefinite leave to remain provides a welcome and clear route to British citizenship.
However, too many EU citizens, like other migrants, face obstacles to citizenship.
See our new parliamentary briefing below, or at https://www.the3million.org.uk/fixing-csi-legacy
the3million campaigns to remove as many barriers as possible from the path to naturalisation or registration. Those who feel British and want to become British should be able to do so with confidence.
What are the barriers to citizenship?
1. Comprehensive Sickness Insurance
Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) is an obscure requirement that still affects EU citizens who had periods of not being ‘economically active’ before receiving (pre-)settled status - for example if they were students or self-sufficient.
Freedom of movement means that people can move to other EU member states to live, work, and study, but if they are studying or self-sufficient, they need CSI. Most EU citizens moving to the UK were never told about this requirement. Nonetheless, absence of CSI can hinder someone’s ability to naturalise as a British citizen. Similarly, children born in the UK to EU parents who are settled would usually automatically be a British citizen. CSI, however, can affect that right.
Although discretion can be applied in naturalisation applications, the CSI problem lingers on by affecting the family reunion rights of a newly-naturalised citizen.
You can learn more about CSI here and see the examples from EU citizens like Lara who faces the CSI barrier to naturalisation coupled with loss of family reunion rights, and Roberto who was suddenly told his UK-born child was not British after all, due to a lack of CSI in the past.
Many organisations also support our call to fix CSI and have signed an open letter in support.
An amendment seeking to address the issue of CSI was tabled to the Nationality and Borders Bill (see NC3 on page 40). The issue was debated in Parliament (at committee stage) in November and you can watch the debate here: https://youtu.be/7FZNghDxjMk.
2. The cost
An adult pays £1,330 in application fees alone to obtain British citizenship by naturalisation. Most applicants have to pay additional fees, which include a £50 Life in the UK test, around £150 if the applicant has to do an English test, as well as travel expenses and provision of biometric information.
A child who applies for British citizenship pays £1,012 in fees. The cost for a family to apply for citizenship can be a great barrier.
The actual administrative cost for the Home Office to process the citizenship application is £372. This means a substantial economic win on each application, and shows that the Home Office could reduce the cost to applicants at no burden to themselves.
The cost of a naturalisation application should be reduced to more accurately reflect the cost of processing. No one should be shut out from British citizenship because they can’t afford the high fee.
You can read more about our research on the cost of citizenship here.
3. Dual nationality
Some EU countries apply restrictions on dual nationality. Countries such The Netherlands and Slovakia create barriers to obtaining dual citizenship, while some EU countries don’t allow their citizens to take on another nationality.
While we cannot campaign for changes in other countries, we seek to explain them here.
Applying for British citizenship can be complex to navigate. We seek to demystify the application process through regular Citizenship Q&A webinars.
Our friends at PRCBC also have a useful guide to help understand if a child born in the UK is a British citizen here.
What can I do?
Are you affected by any of the barriers to citizenship? Tell your story here.
Write to your MP asking them to support our CSI amendment in Parliament.
Share the campaign with friends on social media. You can share the latest Parliament debate on CSI here.
Volunteer with us to do research, talk to politicians, and promote policy change. Volunteer here.