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Applying for British citizenship

(36 Posts)
chocorabbit Wed 10-Jun-15 10:14:44

I am trying to find information. My husband has e-mailed the relevant department who have just e-mailed back some general, useless and totally unhelpful FAQs instead of actually answering our questions, saying "IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ AS YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANOTHER RESPONSE" angry Moreover, they never answer our calls even after having waited for 1 hour on the phone! I would appreciate any help!

- I am an EU citizen (my country joined the EU in the 80s I think?)
- I have lived in the UK for more than 15 years. (Initially did my BSc, MSc)
- I have been married for more than the 3 years required.
- We have 4 children
- I have never worked for an employer (which sadly could prove that I have lived in the UK)
- I have never claimed any benefits, including child benefit because my husband does (which again could have proved that I live in the UK?)
- No bills are in my name
- If I follow the marriage route they need my ..ILR. I obviously do not have ILR because as an EU citizen I don't need one and I thought that would make matters easier for me but then other sources say that I need a residence card!?
- Do I need to apply for an EU residence card?
- What proofs of address could I use? My husband's tax credits letters from the HMRC have my name as well on them. Do they count? Council tax letters? Council's rent agreement? Mortgage agreement?
- I am mentioned as a secretary in my husband's company's letters from the HMRC. Do they count as proof of address?

My husband has told me that any lawyers that he knows only have experience in Asian people/visas and not EU nationals and that they refuse to take up my case.

Thank you for reading this and any help will be greatly appreciated!

SavoyCabbage Wed 10-Jun-15 10:22:16

So you want to apply? Or your husband?

chocorabbit Wed 10-Jun-15 10:35:48

I am sorry for the confusion, it's me applying.

SavoyCabbage Wed 10-Jun-15 10:51:39

The whole applying for citizenship thing is beyond confusing sometimes. We resorted to reading the training manuals online as the info on the ordinary website is too general. And it's totally useless asking any actual questions, as you have found out for yourself.

You could start by getting some paperwork in your own name. Child benefit for example.

Your case should be not too bad though. It sounds like your husband is making it more difficult than it needs to be. Perhaps it would be better if you took it over yourself . Have you done the online questionnaire?

chocorabbit Wed 10-Jun-15 11:02:53

No, I have not done the online questionnaire, I don't know what it is. I am terribly bad at navigating websites, even at looking for my own clothes in my own wardrobe blush That's why I ask my husband or my sister when I can't find things right under my nose! It's not that he is bossy.

I guess I could change some letters into my name but then would I need to wait for another 3 years? When the UK might have pulled out of the EU? I know so many people who cannot even speak English properly but have used their spouse IRL and got citizenship within a few years. I should have chased it up a lot earlier. I was foolish to believe it would always be so easy for me.

SavoyCabbage Wed 10-Jun-15 11:07:47

At least you are doing it now. We didn't bother for my dh and now we are in an absolute nightmare of a visa situation where we can't get dh in to the UK at all despite us being married for 14 years, having two British dc and owning a house there!

So, is your main issue that you can't prove that you have been living on the UK for mire than three years?

Yokohamajojo Wed 10-Jun-15 11:15:54

If I were you I would join some facebook groups of your countrymen! Eg. Danes in England etc. I am as you an EU immigrant from a country who joined the EU in the 90s. Have been here for 15 years, married for 10, two kids, own house etc. I am part of lots of my homecountry groups on facebook and it is always someone who has gone through the same things and have up to date advice on how to do it! I am not planning on becoming a British citizen though. Even if UK leave the EU I don't believe they will throw me out. I have always worked here though so have no problem proving I have been here for that time

Archfarchnad Wed 10-Jun-15 11:22:38

Just a few idea which might help prove residency for the entire time:

Did you do your two degrees at British universities while you were living in the UK? They will have proof of address listed, surely.

Did you get married in the UK or in your home country?

I would say ANYTHING with your name and address would count, if they accept bills - including tax credits and council tax letters.

Are you registered to vote for local and European elections, as is your right if you are a EU citizen?

I don't know much about UK taxes, but aren't you mentioned on your husband's tax form as a dependent, if you don't work?

We did citizenship the 'other way round' last year - I'm a British citizen who took on citizenship of another EU country. It was made a lot easier because our country has central registration of addresses and you get a piece of paper as official confirmation of where you live (obligatory for all foreigners too). Even so, we had to produce just about every piece of paper known to mankind, including our water bills at one point (apparently to prove that our income was sufficient to pay our utilities!). I just basically gathered every single piece of paper I could find about anything - I would do the same in your position, it's up to them to determine if it's relevant.

Are you supposed to just send everything off by post when you make an application, or do you make an appointment with someone in an office? Here in Germany we made an appointment and the woman told us: you need this, this, this, not that, etc., which really helped.

This lawyer seems to specialise in citizenship law for EU citizens, maybe give them a call.

MaliceInWonderland78 Wed 10-Jun-15 11:27:50

A friend of mine is married to a woman who was born outside of the UK (but in the EU) and could not get British Citizenship despite her having lived here since she was a very small child.

It wasn't really the end of the word; save for the fact that she had to go to Manchester or London to get her passport, and her visa arrangements when travelling were sometimes different.

chocorabbit Wed 10-Jun-15 12:02:48

I finished my studies in 2002-3 so this would not prove anything about me having lived here since I finished my studies then apart from bank statements or other letters like council documents, tax documents etc.

So I guess from what archfarchnad and others have said I will have to provide any document as proof of address and hope they accept some of them.

Then I am not sure which route I should follow in order to apply. As an EU citizen but then I would have to provide evidence that I have lived here for 5 years OR as married to a British citizen and provide evidence for only 3 years? Can I combine them, i.e. use marriage but leave the IRL out as it doesn't apply and provide as many proofs of residence, letters, documents etc as possible?

I am going to have a look at the lawyer's website too, thanks smile

There is some facility that the LA offer who check your documents but they say that they can't advice you as to what could actually be better from what you actually have. I guess because the system is as complicated as everybody else is saying.

titchy Wed 10-Jun-15 15:58:05

Surely you have something that proves your address? Why aren't you on the electoral role? Don't you have a mortgage or tenancy in your name? Nothing? What if your husband was run over by a bus? How would you prove your entitlement to benefits?

chocorabbit Wed 10-Jun-15 16:50:03

I am on the electoral register like everybody else I guess but they still want proof of residence.

What I don't understand is the part talking about EEA nationals who don't have ILR. How and WHY would an EU national need or have an ILR? It doesn't mention any exceptions.

If you are a national of a member state of the EEA and do not have indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, you will need to have been resident in the United Kingdom for at least five years even if you are married to a British citizen.

2.4 - 2.6 If you are a national of a member state of the EEA, or a family member of an EEA national, and do not have indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom you should complete these sections.

crabbyoldbat Wed 10-Jun-15 17:41:20

The EEA (European Economic Area) is not the same as the EU - it's a bit bigger, including countries that are not part of the European Union, so I'd guess that the advice you've found applies to the countries that are in the EEA, but not the EU.

As your country is in the EU, it probably doesn't apply

chocorabbit Wed 10-Jun-15 19:03:18

I understand that crabbyoldbat and it really puzzles me because when I read the information that they provide there is no differentiation between EU and EEA as to how they apply the law and they refer to EEA nationals or non-EEA nationals. I was trying to find the part where they might say something about EU nationals but there is nothing that I have seen so far.

ChickenLaVidaLoca Wed 10-Jun-15 20:18:25

EEA nationals who are in the country on that basis have permanent residence, not ILR. You automatically acquire it after 5 years exercising your Treaty rights. I think that's what they're referring to. The 3 years thing is for people who were on a spousal visa issued under the old, pre July 2012 rules. I suppose there are probably a few EEA nationals who had ILR before their country joined and haven't yet become British, that'll be what they mean. Like if you were Romanian and you came as a spouse and got ILR in 2003 or whatever, and you haven't used your EEA rights at all because you've been a SAHP.

And I can't imagine you wouldn't be able to find a solicitor who's dealt with citizenship applications from EEA people. Where do you live?

ChickenLaVidaLoca Wed 10-Jun-15 20:20:40

Thinking there are probably also a smattering of EEA nationals who got ILR as refugees back in the Iron Curtain days and haven't naturalised. Say if you fled communist Poland due to political repression.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Wed 10-Jun-15 20:28:24

You have to meet the requirements in full: you can't chop and change between the different routes. So you need to decide whether you are applying as a spouse of a British Citizen or as an EEA / EU national

Have you really got nothing in your name? No bank account / savings? More generally you might want to do something about that - you ought to have some kind of footprint here.

Are there any helpful entry stamps on your passport?

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 10-Jun-15 20:48:31

www.gov.uk/eu-eea

There won't be any difference for the purpose of acquiring citizenship.

Now it's 20 years (almost exactly!) since I worked in the Nationality Office but we accepted all kinds of evidence of residence. Unfortunately when EU citizens first began exercising treaty rights (early 90s) it was a bugger because of course, all applicants had to submit their passports for us to check the absences, and suddenly, EU ppts were no longer stamped with exit and entry so we had to start looking for other stuff.

You'll be surprised if you think about it how many things have your name and address on. Doctors letters? How long have you been registered with a GP? Are you sure with all those years you have nothing? Bank accounts? A NI number? I think the other things you mentioned, HMRC letters naming you, would be considered. Remember that it is only the last 3 yrs up to the date of appn you need to cover.

I think, but as I said, it was a long time ago, if you can be naturalised as a BC by virtue of your marriage to a BC then you have to do it that way, rather than the 5 yr route. (that might be wrong though, or things may have changed)

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 10-Jun-15 20:49:54

I agree with the last post too, when you've sorted this c/ship thing out, get your name on some stuff. You never know.

ChickenLaVidaLoca Wed 10-Jun-15 20:51:56

Yes GP and dentist letters confirming how long you have been registered with them and that they have seen you regularly during that period can be very helpful. With four children, I'm guessing you're a regular at the surgery. Something from HV confirming the same too?

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 10-Jun-15 20:55:27

Knowing how doctors operate they probably have a letter for the HO confirming residence on their "menu" of extras you can pay £25 for!

tracyreader Thu 11-Jun-15 09:56:05

You can try asking your MP, it's the sort of thing they help with.

NorahDentressangle Thu 11-Jun-15 10:07:47

Just wondering about you being a secretary on your DH's tax form.How many years did he do that???

Shame you never put in a tax return, spose DH implies you earned less than minimum. But if it is stated as you being paid and employed by him there should be something at HMRC.

Maybe DH doesn't want the work of going back over his old tax returns. Or worse admitting he didn't actually employ you. (that might be fraud). But maybe he didn't name you, but can you do that nowadays?

We still receive paper copies of electric and phone bill especially for use as proof address - any money transference needs it now, ISA, new savings acct, money to DCs.

chocorabbit Thu 11-Jun-15 10:38:01

I do have documents and correspondence in my name but I got scared when I had come across their requirements regarding proof of residence because they only seemed to accept either ILR or Home Office documents that the applicant had received confused

What concerns and puzzles both me and my husband is which route to follow in order to apply. I understand what everybody else is saying that some EEA nationals might have had restrictions upon them which I have never encountered and that's what I have been thinking all along. However, there is no distinction or clarification on their side and instead everybody is lumped up in EEA nationals which they explain is everybody, even the oldest EU members. That's why I asked in case any of you here knew any more details.

It seems that we certainly need to find an immigration lawyer.

Thank you all for your input. I will gather anything, council tax, HMRC, tenancy agreement with my name on it and they should better accept them!!

chocorabbit Thu 11-Jun-15 10:52:18

Haha, funny Norah now that I am thinking about it how my husband's "accountant" (he was a fraud) messed him up and he had to pay so many fines because of that idiot angry So yes, if he does go through his tax returns there might be something else that the accountant hadn't filed God knows when and he might get in trouble as it has always been with the accountant always claiming to have filed everything on time but when the fine arrived "but no ... the website was down" REALLY? AND IT WAS NOT IN THE NEWS ALONG WITH MANY OTHER TAX PAYERS COMPLAINING? hmm

He is still in the process of deciding when to dissolve the current company and trying to sort out everything with a new and REAL accountant.

But I am certainly mentioned in his working tax credits/returns or something like that by the HMRC as we have children and he gets tax returns so that should be ok.

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