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Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

British passport: what you need to know before you can apply

PUBLISHED: 30 August 2019

If you are in the UK on a work or business visa and intend to stay here and apply for naturalisation, here is what you need to keep in mind in order to get permanent residence and then British citizenship. Unfortunately, when you just arrive in the country, you don’t think five years ahead when you will be applying for settlement. And you don’t think about it when choosing a visa, if you don’t have an immigration lawyer. Ignorance and lack of preparation can create problems in the future; please pay attention to the following important tips.

If you travel a lot

Irrespective of the type of visa, everyone applying for settlement must count the days when they were absent from the UK. In order to get an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you can be absent from the country for up to 180 days in total during any 12-month period prior to the application. This applies to all family members over 18; however, they can apply for settlement with the main applicant or after.

When it comes to applying for a British passport, all applicants must make sure they are absent from the country not more than 90 days. Start-up visa is an exception; it is valid for 2 years, it is not subject to extension, which means it does not lead to settlement, but you can switch from it to another category. It is strongly recommended to keep track of all your trips outside the UK and not to exceed the permitted number of days.

Work and business in the UK

Foreign employees of British companies can apply for extension and settlement if their employer still requires their services. Besides, you need to keep all payslips and P60s for each tax year. If you quit your job and do not find another one, your work visa will be cancelled automatically.

Entrepreneurs must check that they employ people that have settled status or a British passport. Besides, they must show they’ve been paying all taxes and national insurance contributions.

Small details that make a big difference

When you move to a new address, when you get married or change other personal details, you must also report these changes to the police. You should keep all correspondence from your GP, including medical reports and invoices, as well as letters from government departments, including HMRC.

All documents must be collected and then presented to the Home Office; if any mandatory document is missing your extension or settlement applications can be refused. You will be also refused if you have had any criminal conviction or breached immigration laws. You might be able to appeal, but it will take a lot of time and money.

It is hard to cover all details and key points that you need to bear in mind in order to get a British passport. However, our immigration lawyers will make sure you are on the right track to fulfil your targets and ambitions.

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