EU nationals and the difficulties of becoming a British National

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice. 13 October 2020

On 30th September 2020 the Home Office updated its “good character” policy for naturalisation to make it even harder for EU nationals to become British citizens.  In a nutshell EU nationals who apply for British nationality on the basis that they have exercised treaty rights as students of self-sufficient have to demonstrate that they have been lawfully in the UK for 10 years preceding their application for British citizenship.  That means that if they were in the UK and did not have comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI) or European Health Insurance issued by an EU country, their residence in the UK might not be considered lawful and they will not be able to apply for naturalisation as they will not be satisfying the good character requirements. 

What is a good character requirement?  Anybody over the age of 10 who applies for naturalisation as a British citizen needs to be of good character. It is a mandatory requirement and if a person is not of good character then his or her application for citizenship will be refused.  One reason for refusing citizenship on character grounds is non-compliance with immigration requirements and therefore if a self-sufficient European or EU student does not have comprehensive sickness insurance then they are not compliant with immigration requirements.  It is important to understand that even if a person obtains settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme without having to demonstrate that they have exercised treaty rights in line with the EU Regulations 2016, they will have to satisfy all of the EU Regulation requirements when they apply for naturalisation.  

We believe that obtaining immigration advice from the outset is very important and most importantly those EU nationals who wish to naturalise as British citizens must make sure that they satisfy the requirements to have a CSI from the outset.  Please note