Saturday 11 May 2013

How to become a British Citizen

Becoming British

Attaining that coveted maroon passport

It's easy.

All you need to do

is to fill in about 100 hundred forms

submit evidence numerous times to prove who you are, where you live and have lived, where you've worked, where your mother was born, where your grandfather was born, who got married to who

i.e. track down birth certificates and marriage certificates - ORIGINALS MIND YOU - this task becomes even more fun when your family is spread out over four continents.

Pass a citizenship test - where you will be asked to learn all sorts of information that no average British person knows, like the percentage of ethnic minorities and religions that make up the UK, how parliament is run, etc.

In the mean time, make sure you are never stopped by the police for anything, make sure you don't apply for benefits that you are not allowed to apply for, make sure your visa is always up to date, make sure there's no reason for citizenship not to be granted, worry while your passport (with visas in) is not with you, worry each time you've sent everything off about whether it will be accepted, worry about how to pay for everything, like....

pay for a visa (the type of visa depends on your nationality and your immigration status e.g. ancestral visa, marriage visa, etc)
pay for a solicitor to help you get your visa as laws often change and if you get one thing wrong you'll have to start over again
pay to send your documents off safely
pay to have them sent back safely
repeat above two points several times over
pay to take a citizenship test
pay again for a citizenship test if you don't pass it the first time
pay to apply for permanent residency
pay solicitors to help you apply for permanent residency
pay to apply for citizenship
pay solicitors to help you apply for citizenship
pay your county of origin to let you have dual nationality
pay Britain to let you have dual nationality
pay for a passport

and if you want to you can pay for a special certificate at the end of it.

If you're wondering, that comes to well over £2,000.



But, amazingly, thanks mainly to some very generous family members, we have got there.  My South African hubby is now also British.  He can now apply for a British passport and travel around Europe and elsewhere without going through a lengthy visa application process.  The lady at the citizenship ceremony yesterday said his South African passport looks well travelled.  Wrong.  In 10 years he's only been back to SA once, and other than that not left the country.  His passport has travelled more in the post than in his hand.  But now, the world is being opened up.  And this is the main reason he went through the above process.  Lots of people stick with permanent residency, as you can access most benefits that citizens do, and you don't have to pay the extra grand or so.  But we don't think we'll be here forever, so i reckon a British passport will come in handy.  Also, it's not totally random as his grandfather was English. AND he's married to me. I think it would be weirder if there were no connection at all.

The ceremony in Truro Town Hall yesterday was interesting.  It's where about 20 people were officially made citizens, as they pledged their allegiance to the Queen and country.  I'm not sure that many British-born people would be that happy about doing that!  There was a massive portrait of the Queen and of Prince Charles at the front of the room.  Almost comical.  The other people were from all different nationalities - American, Chinese, Philipino, Indian and others.  Many of them were married to British people and had young children, which made a serious ceremony kind of funny, as there were 2-year-olds shouting out and running around throughout!  There was a talk from a lady with a big gold medallion on, who mainly spoke about Cornwall and the council!  But everyone was very friendly and welcoming and it was a positive event. They even served scones and jam afterwards!

We got home to be greeted by Union Jack flags decorating our house which was funny!  But now I'm a bit embarrassed and I think they'll be coming down soon.  Can't say i ever expected to 'be one of those people with flags on their house'!!  Not really that patriotic you see... which is why yesterday was a little odd.  But it's a massive relief for both of us not to have to spend any more pennies or fill in any more forms.

We did it!!! :-)


Ariel said...

Just wondering how long the ceremony lasted? Mine is tomorrow, and I'm wondering what time we should plan to meet people at the pub!

Also - how formal is 'formal'?

Unknown said...

Hi Ariel,
Sorry I only just saw your comment! So it's too late now... I hope everything went well for you :-)