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Can I live in the UK permanently without British citizenship?

The short answer is yes! Let’s see how this is possible.

For some individuals, obtaining British citizenship is a goal they have worked towards since first applying for entry clearance to come to the UK. For others, however, British citizenship may not be desirable for various reasons, even though they still wish to live permanently in the UK. The potential reasons include double-citizenship restrictions in some of the states, double taxation, or simply being content with having just one citizenship.

If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status (through the EU Settlement Scheme) in the UK, you are free from ‘immigration time restrictions’, meaning that there is no limit to how long you are permitted to be in the UK (unlike for those who are in the UK on a time-limited visa, such as a Skilled Worker or Visitor visa). You are, therefore, able to live permanently in the UK without having to apply for British citizenship.

However, Indefinite Leave to Remain and Settled Status can be revoked in certain circumstances, including criminality, deportation, or the use of deception in a previous application.

British Citizenship

In addition, you may lose your Indefinite Leave to Remain, if you are absent from the UK for a period of 2 years. Similarly, your Settled Status may be revoked, if you are absent from the UK for 5 years. The Home Office also retains the right to withdraw Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain, where they determine that the individual is no longer ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK. In such circumstances and provided you have retained strong connections with the UK, it may be possible to submit a Returning Resident application to re-instate your Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status in the UK.

The powers of the Home Secretary to deprive someone of their British citizenship are much more limited than those to revoke Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status (although the former have been exercised more frequently in recent years). Primarily, a person may be stripped of their British citizenship, if it is determined that they have obtained nationality through fraud (for example, by having lied on their citizenship application), or where deprivation of citizenship is deemed to serve the public good (for sufficiently serious reasons, such as national security).

British citizenship will not be removed from a person for simply relocating to another country, unless it is found that they were dishonest when stating to the Home Office that they intended for the UK to remain their permanent home upon obtaining citizenship, as this is a requirement for some citizenship applications.

Contact us if you would like to discuss your application for indefinite leave to remain or naturalisation.


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