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Applying for British citizenship & Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI)

Other resources

Useful resources:


Immigration Assistance:


  • EU Settlement Resolution Centre - Webform: eu-settled-status-enquiries.service.gov.uk/start or call 0300 123 7379 between Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm (See call charges)

  • UKVI Resolution Centre Call  0300 790 6268 or from outside the UK: +44 (0)203 875 4669 Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm (See call charges)

  • Postcode finder - to find closest charity / voluntary organisation https://www.gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme

  • Charity / community organisations - the Home Office has funded charity / voluntary organisations to assist vulnerable applicants with their EUSS applications for free, search on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-community-support-for-vulnerable-citizens

  • Identity Scanning Locations - search here for a list of Local Authority locations. (Note that some may still be closed due to COVID-19 so if you can’t use your mobile devices to scan your documents, you may need to send your Identity documents by post)

  • Assisted Digital Service - call 03333 445 675 or text “VISA” to 07537 416 944

  • Settled is a charity providing free immigration advice to EU citizens. You can contact them here: http://settled.org.uk/contact

  • Here for Good, free advice for vulnerable EU citizens, see https://www.hereforgoodlaw.org/get-advice

  • There are many organisations and individuals providing advice on citizenship. In the UK, all immigration advice is regulated, so please make sure you go to someone who is qualified to give you advice on this area of law. On the ILPA website, you can find a directory of members to find an immigration advisor near your area: https://ilpa.org.uk.

What is the current situation with Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI)?

On 10 March 2022, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling which says that where people had access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), they met the requirement for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI).


Just a few weeks earlier, the Government had introduced an amendment to the Nationality and Borders bill, as a result of our campaign, and your letter writing to fix the CSI legacy.


We have now seen a message from the Home Office to the Immigration Law Practioner’s Association (ILPA), dated 21 March 2022 (our emphasis):


“I wanted to update you on the nationality provisions in the Nationality and Borders Bill. The Bill has just completed Third Reading in the Lords and will return to the Commons this week.


I wanted to flag the new provision we have introduced on lawful residence, and to offer to answer any questions you may have.


The new clause relates to naturalisation applications for British citizenship under sections 6(1) or 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981, and applications to register as a British citizen under section 4(2), all of which have requirements that the person should not have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential “qualifying period”.


The lawful residence requirement has been a cause of concern for EEA nationals who were granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) under the EU Settlement Scheme, but had been resident here as students or self-sufficient persons without Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.  As you know, the 1981 Act includes limited discretion to overlook periods of unlawful residence in the UK, and our guidance includes such persons in the examples of when we would normally expect to exercise discretion.  However, that discretion can only be used in the special circumstances of a particular case and so caseworkers often need to ask for further information.  Although no applications have been refused because a person did not have CSI, we are aware that our existing guidance does not give the reassurance that some EEA nationals and their family members would want.


The amendment is intended to benefit all applicants and not just those who acquired ILR under the EU Settlement Scheme. It will mean the Home Secretary does not have to enquire into lawful residence at all where the applicant has ILR or indefinite leave to enter (ILE), however it was acquired. This will, of course, avoid us looking at periods of residence already considered in earlier applications.


We believe the change will additionally provide the certainty which people have asked for; will end the confusion over differing requirements between EUSS and nationality; will reduce the evidence required to be supplied with an application to begin with; and will aid the processing of cases in a fair and sensible manner.


You may have seen that the wording of the amendment is to “allow the Secretary of State to treat a person who has indefinite leave to enter or remain as meeting certain residence requirements”. This recognises that there may be exceptional cases when we chose not to do so. This might, for example, be in cases where new information comes to light that would have affected the original ILR/ILE decision had it been known at the time. However, this is expected to be a very rare occurrence.


The good character guidance will be amended in line with this change, and so that personal immigration transgressions for those already granted ILR or ILE similarly do not lead to an application failing solely on that basis.  But it is only personal immigration history which may be overlooked: issues such as criminality will still be considered. Equally, we will still be assessing the length of absences from the UK during the residential qualifying period.


We will, of course, update guidance and application forms to reflect the change of approach in due course, and hope to be able to share our draft guidance on the new routes with you following Royal Assent.”


It is not yet clear how the UK Government will deal with the European Court of Justice ruling, but this will likely affect many areas including nationality, naturalisation, registration, access to benefits and more.


In the meantime, if you believe you are affected, or you have suffered loss because of past decisions where the Home Office said you did not meet the CSI requirement, please see our campaign-page https://www.csi-justice.org.uk.

How does CSI (Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) relate to being lawfully resident? 

STOP PRESS - See this FAQ for important information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.


Recent developments will likely affect many areas including nationality, naturalisation, registration, access to benefits and more. The answer given below is therefore now out of date.


In the meantime, if you believe you are affected, please seek legal advice. If you have suffered loss because of past decisions where the Home Office said you did not meet the CSI requirement, please email us at info@the3million.org.uk .

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CSI stands for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance and it was a requirement for certain people to have it to be considered lawfully resident in the UK. 


EU citizens had been living in the UK under freedom of movement rules. These rules no longer apply to the UK because the UK decided to end freedom of movement as part of leaving the European Union.


To be able to live in another EU country, after an initial period of 3 months, EU citizens had to be a ‘qualified person’ under these freedom of movement rules to reside in the UK lawfully. The main categories were worker, self-employed, jobseeker, student or self-sufficient. 


The latter two categories (student and self-sufficient) had to be financially self-sufficient and also have this ‘CSI’ to exercise to be considered lawfully resident.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

What does ‘continuous residence’ or ‘continuity of residence’ mean?

Continuous residence, or continuity of residence, simply means living in the UK. However, too much absence from the UK can break continuity of residence.

The rules are different depending on whether you are applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, or for British citizenship.


EU Settlement Scheme:

To be eligible for settled status, you usually need to have been ‘continuously resident’ for at least 5 years. If you have been ‘continuously resident’ for less than 5 years, you will instead be eligible for pre-settled status (as long as you fulfil all other eligibility requirements).


You are allowed six months’ absence (with some exceptions*) from the UK out of any 12 month period before breaking your continuous residence.


‘Six months’ actually translates to 180 days, rather than six calendar months.


The ‘out of any 12 month period’ is trickier to calculate than you might think, because you really do have to look at any 12 month period, not just checking each calendar year. For example, if you are away for 4 months between August and November in one year, and then 3 months from February to April the next, you might think that you didn’t break your continuity of residence. Unfortunately you did, because you were away for 7 months between July of the first year and July of the second.


To help you calculate your greatest total absence in any rolling 12-month period, we have created an ‘absence calculator’ for you. Click here to see the calculator and find out more about absences.


* Longer absences are allowed for some specific reasons (some examples are pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, compulsory military services). The Home Office has updated their Covid-19 guidance for the EU Settlement Scheme, which includes concessions for longer COVID related absences not breaking continuity of residence in some cases, and allowing people to apply for a further grant of pre-settled status where necessary to achieve five years’ continuous residence. For full details, see the definition of “Continuous qualifying period” in the EU Settlement Scheme caseworker guidance.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless you are applying to the EU Settlement Scheme as a joining family member, your eligibility for (pre-)settled status depends on continuous residence which needs to have started before 31 December 2020.


ONCE YOU HAVE BEEN GRANTED SETTLED STATUS: You then no longer need to maintain ‘continuous residence’ as described above. You will be able to leave the UK for up to five years without losing your settled status (see this FAQ for more details).


British citizenship

See this question on allowance absences when applying for British citizenship. The requirements are stricter than for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Do you need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) for settled status?

No. The CSI requirement was scrapped for EU Settlement Scheme applications. 


To apply for pre-settled or settled status, you do not need to demonstrate that you are in one of the ‘qualified person’ categories (worker, self-employed, jobseeker, self-sufficient with CSI or student with CSI). 


The EU Settlement Scheme checks for your residence in the UK. 


To be eligible for settled status, you you usually need evidence that you had been living in the UK for at least 6 months out of every 12 months for a continuous period of 5 years, and this period started before 31 December 2020.  For more information see: https://www.the3million.org.uk/absence-calculator

Why does being ‘lawfully resident’ matter?

Those wishing to become British citizens by naturalisation will need to show that they were lawfully resident for a period of time in the UK. 


If you were not lawfully resident, your application to become a British citizen might be unsuccessful. If you have concerns that you might not have been lawfully resident in the UK for the period you want to rely on in your naturalisation application, you should contact an expert. 


the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


There are many organisations and individuals providing advice on citizenship. In the UK, all immigration advice is regulated, so please make sure you go to someone who is qualified to give you advice on this area of law. On the ILPA website, you can find a directory of members to find an immigration advisor near your area: https://ilpa.org.uk.

What does it mean to be self-sufficient?

STOP PRESS - See this FAQ for important information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.


Recent developments will likely affect many areas including nationality, naturalisation, registration, access to benefits and more. The answer given below is therefore now out of date.


In the meantime, if you believe you are affected, please seek legal advice. If you have suffered loss because of past decisions where the Home Office said you did not meet the CSI requirement, please email us at info@the3million.org.uk .

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You are self-sufficient if you are not employed or self-employed and you rely on your own savings or others’ income to live in the UK. 


For example, an EU student whose parents send them monthly payments for their living costs, but who does not work, is a student who is self-sufficient. An EU citizen who is relying on a partner’s income and staying at home with children is self-sufficient. 


Self-sufficient people need CSI to exercise treaty rights.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

Do voluntary National Insurance payments count as CSI?

STOP PRESS - See this FAQ for important information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.


Recent developments will likely affect many areas including nationality, naturalisation, registration, access to benefits and more. The answer given below is therefore now out of date.


In the meantime, if you believe you are affected, please seek legal advice. If you have suffered loss because of past decisions where the Home Office said you did not meet the CSI requirement, please email us at info@the3million.org.uk .

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No. You need CSI for the period you were a student or self-sufficient and you cannot make payments for past periods. 


However, if for instance, you were a student and also worked during your studies, you may be able to treat this as being a worker rather than a student. 


You can qualify as a ‘worker’ if the Home Office considers your work ‘genuine and effective’. This is a complex area of law and the nature of the work is assessed on a case by case basis. To give you a broad picture, a student working 20 hours a week at Sainsbury’s throughout her studies could apply as a worker, whereas the work of a student who only worked a couple of hours a month in the Students’ Union bar would likely not be considered to have been doing ‘genuine and effective’ work.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

Is CSI required by all EU citizens applying for British Citizenship or self-sufficient and students only?

STOP PRESS - See this FAQ for important information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.


Recent developments will likely affect many areas including nationality, naturalisation, registration, access to benefits and more. The answer given below is therefore now out of date.


In the meantime, if you believe you are affected, please seek legal advice. If you have suffered loss because of past decisions where the Home Office said you did not meet the CSI requirement, please email us at info@the3million.org.uk .

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You do not need CSI if you can evidence you were a worker or self-employed for your qualifying period. 


However, even if the citizenship application asks you for 5 years of evidence in the first instance, there are cases where caseworkers check further in your history in the UK. 


The Home Office can also apply discretion on your case, for instance if you had some gaps in your record. 


However, please see our FAQ Can I lose my family reunion rights if I am granted citizenship by discretion for not having CSI in the past?


If you are in doubt about your status in the past, it is a good idea to seek immigration advice on your particular application. 


There are many organisations and individuals providing advice on citizenship. In the UK, all immigration advice is regulated, so please make sure you go to someone who is qualified to give you advice on this area of law. On the ILPA website, you can find a directory of members to find an immigration advisor near your area: https://ilpa.org.uk.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

What is the qualifying period for residence for citizenship applications?

It’s 5 years unless you are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen in which case it is 3 years. 


If you are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, you also need to wait 12 months from the date of your settled status decision. 


For example, Dana is a Romanian citizen married to a Greek citizen. Dana has been in the UK from 2010 and received settled status on 2 April 2019. Dana will have to wait until 2 April 2020 before being able to apply for citizenship. If she applies in April 2020, the citizenship application will ask to evidence the last 5 years, so April 2015-April 2020. However, the Home Office may check whether Dana was lawfully resident before 2015 as well.


the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.

What evidence can I use to prove my CSI?

STOP PRESS - See this FAQ for important information on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.


Recent developments will likely affect many areas including nationality, naturalisation, registration, access to benefits and more. The answer given below is therefore now out of date.


In the meantime, if you believe you are affected, please seek legal advice. If you have suffered loss because of past decisions where the Home Office said you did not meet the CSI requirement, please email us at info@the3million.org.uk .

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Some EU citizens may have had private medical insurance during the period they were self-sufficient or a student. This can be used as CSI.


There are also other ways to prove CSI. This depends on your country of citizenship and your arrangements. In some EU countries, students abroad were covered by specific national-level policies, whereas some students can still count on their parents’ insurance. An EHIC card issued by an EEA member state other than the UK can also be used. Form S1 (or its predecessor forms E109 or E121) and form S2 (or its predecessor form E112) and form S3 are also accepted. Form E104, however, is not mentioned in the Home Office’s guidance.


A useful resource about Forms E104 and S041 can be found here: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/eu-rights-clinic/csi-form-e-014-s041/. This is a very complex area of law and those wishing to rely on it should consider getting legal advice.


Note: this question, like other FAQs on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI), relates to applications for British citizenship, when considering whether periods of past residence were lawful. the3million’s Young Europeans have published a very useful document on key Citizenship facts which you can find here: http://www.t3m.org.uk/t3m_YE_KeyCitizenshipFacts.


CSI is not required to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Also, once pre-settled or settled status has been granted, you are lawfully resident, and you do not need CSI.

My children were born in the UK, are they British?

There are three main categories of British citizens: those who are automatically British by birth, those who can apply for registration as a British citizen and those who can apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. 


Each of these categories has many sub-categories. For children specifically, we recommend reading the information on the PRCBC website (https://prcbc.org/our-work/),in particular this useful infographic: https://prcbc.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/children-and-their-rights-to-british-citizenship-march-2019.phttps://prcbc.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/children-and-their-rights-to-british-citizenship-march-2019.pdfdf.