Citizenship campaign - remove the barriers
For years, EU citizens have made the UK their home. Today, many identify as British and wish to officially become citizens 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. Many others will soon obtain settled status and the chance to apply for citizenship.
However, many EU citizens, like other migrants, face obstacles to obtaining 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 or want to become British for practical reasons should be able to do so with confidence.
Watch our webinar “British Citizenship - is it worth it?” for information on the advantages and potential downsides of applying for British citizenship.
What are the barriers to citizenship?
1. Comprehensive Sickness Insurance
UPDATE! Following our campaign work and your letter-writing efforts, CSI is becoming less of a burden on EU citizens’ path to citizenship. Please read the legal update here: https://www.the3million.org.uk/faq-1/csi
For reference, here is a little bit more information about CSI:
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, many EU citizens fear applying for naturalisation and having their application refused. If an EU citizen who is affected by the CSI requirement applies for naturalisation on discretion grounds and has their application refused, the application fee of £1,330 is lost. Many are unprepared to take that gamble.
Until recently, CSI also affected naturalised EU citizen’s rights to family reunion.
However, following a successful House of Lords debate, the Government made a concession and from 6 April 2022 the Immigration Rules state that past gaps of comprehensive sickness insurance will be ignored when naturalised British-EU citizens wish to sponsor family members in future.
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. This does not even include lawyer fees which many EU citizens choose to use when making an application.
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.