Recent changes to the naturalisation application form had brought into question whether or not EEA nationals and their family members could apply to naturalise as British citizens without first obtaining a document to certify permanent residence. The Home Office has now issued clarification and there is quite a sting in the tail!
From 12 November 2015, any EEA national wishing to rely on deemed permanent residence under the EEA Regulations was required to first obtain a document certifying permanent residence, i.e. they had to apply to the Home Office to formally recognise their permanent residence.
Changes to the Form AN introduced earlier in July brought into question whether this requirement was to be maintained or whether EEA nationals could apply directly for citizenship without the intermediary hurdles.
The Home Office has now issued a statement clarifying that the July changes were in error. From 1 August 2016, any EEA national or family member that applies to naturalise as a British citizen but does not hold a document certifying permanent residence will find that their application is taken in for consideration and refused. Only £80 of the £1236 Home Office application fee will be refunded to the unlucky applicant. Previously, the Home Office would sift out such applications and reject them as invalid, thus avoiding the lost application fee for ineligible applicants.
If you are considering applying to naturalise as a British citizen, we strongly recommend that you receive competent legal advice. If you would like assistance with your immigration and citizenship matters, please contact one of our accredited specialist immigration solicitors on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, at email@example.com or via our online contact form.