Citizenship changes

UK citizenship laws are most likely going to get tougher, possibly as soon as later this year, so if you have been in the UK about five years, now is the time to apply.

“Anybody who might be eligible, go ahead and make an application now, while the law is clear, rather than leave it to later,” says Nilmini Roelens, the principal solicitor of The Wimbledon Effect visa specialists.

“The fees will probably go up and because things are getting that much tighter and harder, for example with ‘probationary citizenship’, get it out of the way now.”

What the new rules involve

The Home Office’s proposed changes to citizenship are still being debated by Parliament, but could come into effect this year.

The Home office wants to introduce probationary citizenship. After five years working in the UK, or two if you’re on “further leave to remain” as a partner — you’ll then do your Knowledge of Life in the UK test, have to prove you’re still in a job/with your partner, and be granted ‘further temporary leave’. 

After a minimum of one year and maximum of five on probationary citizenship you can then apply for citizenship. How long you’re in this category depends on whether you or engage in “active citizenship” (most likely through doing volunteer work) or commit a crime. If you want to spend the shortest possible time on probation you’ll need to do volunteer work.