Do I have the right to obtain British citizenship if I have been granted Settle Status in the UK?

For those who think that the answer for the question above is automatically yes, here are some clarifications. 

An update to the British naturalisation policy, published on Friday, May 15, by the British government, will hinder the requests for naturalization from European citizens who are living in the UK and who had acquired the Settle Status trough the Settlement Scheme – the system incorporated to the British law due to the UK has withdrawn from the European Union. 

According to the document, even if the person was granted the Settle Status, and thus proved that was at least a resident of the UK for 5 consecutive years, from now, in the moment of the application, it will be necessary to prove that the person has lived here legally. Which means that the European citizen will have to prove that he lived in the country exercising Treaty Rights as a qualified person following the European law. The person must have been working here as an employee or self-employed (paying taxes for the 5 consecutive years), was a student, self-sufficient, retired or incapacitated person (and with full health insurance).

What can cause doubts and confusion is that none of this was clear when the applications were submitted. Many people have been granted Settle Status just by proving that they have lived in the country for 5 consecutive years. Even because proving work was never required, neither to make an application nor for its approval, was only necessary to prove that they were living in the country for 5 consecutive years.

The only requirement implemented in the new system since the beginning, and which differs from the European law, is that the person has to wait for another 12 months from the date that the Settle Status was granted to apply for naturalisation, even though the person has lived here for more than 6 years. While in the European law, valid until the end of this year, the application can be done soon after the person is granted permanent residence, assuming that the person has live here for more than 6 years. In this case, the Home Office would send a letter confirming that that person is already entitled to a permanent residence in the year x (in the 5th year).

Therefore, the Home Office says that when applying for naturalisation, additionally to all the requirement already in place, it will be necessary for the applicant to present evidence that he had complied with the requirements related to the right of residence following the European law. 

Even though this is applicable only for those who wish to request the British naturalisation, taking into account that there are people that acquired the Settle Status but have no intention to requested it and will, therefore, for now, continue to have the right to live in the UK, it is important for all to take into consideration the new requirements in order to be prepared in case of a future application for the British naturalisation.

Vitoria Nabas, founding partner and Roberta Tiberi, Legal Assistant to Vitoria Nabas and The International Team, gunnercooke

Vitoria is the head of the Immigration team at Vitoria Nabas and the International team, part of the Gunnercooke group. Her work covers immigration for both businesses and international corporations in several jurisdictions who seek advice on how to move abroad, and once moved, work lawfully and effectively in the UK, EU and Americas. She is qualified in Brazil, Portugal and England & Wales. She has more than 25 years of experience working in law firms and financial institutions in Brazil, New York and London. Vitoria has an impressive network which keeps her at the forefront of international commerce. She is a director of Law in Britain, a co-founder and treasurer of Lex Anglo-Brasil, the Coordinator of the UK Brazilian Citizen Council, Counsellor of the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in London and the President of the Legal Committee of the British Colombian Chamber of Commerce. 

Vitoria is also involved in voluntary work including being Student Supervisor at Queen Mary University – Legal Advice Centre (having been honoured with a fellowship for this work) and helping vulnerable people in diverse communities in the UK in Casa do Brasil. Her aim in life is very simple, to help people daily.