Dear Home Office,
Please can you clarify when ( / how long before) a non-EEA spouse who holds an EU Residence Card issued prior to 25 November 2016 under Regulation 9 is eligible to apply for British citizenship (naturalisation)?
Due to the ECJ C-291/05 Eind case law, as the non-EEA spouse's right to reside in the UK is not dependent on the British citizen (BC) to carry on any effective/genuine economic activity upon the BC's return to his/her country of nationality (i.e. the UK), could the non-EEA spouse be granted British citizenship after 3 years of continuous residence in the UK (providing the non-EEA spouse has not spent more than the allotted time out of the UK) in line with the British Nationality Act 1981?
Naturalisation Booklet AN states that an applicant who is a spouse of a BC must have been free from immigration time restrictions on the date of his/her application. There is further guidance stating that if the British naturalisation applicant is an EEA national spouse of a BC, they would first need to complete a qualifying period of 5 years. However, as the spouse of a BC, a non-EEA naturalisation applicant's state of immigration time restrictions / requirement of a qualifying period is unclear as the BC's economic activities in the UK are of no consequence to the non-EEA spouse's right to reside in the UK in accordance with Eind case law. Therefore, the question remains if a non-EEA spouse residing lawfully in the UK under Regulation 9 has any immigration time restrictions and if the non-EEA spouse would be eligible for British citizenship after 3 continuous years of residence in the UK.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this request.
Please be aware that we have decided to handle your correspondence of 3 November outside the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. This is because it does not meet the criteria for a Freedom of Information request, as it does not ask for recorded information.
Below is a link to the ICO guidance for the criteria for valid requests under the Act:
We will provide an answer to your query, but it will be answer outside of the provisions of the Act. You should expect to receive a response in due course.
Dear Mx Gar
Thank your for your enquiry.
Depending on your current citizenship or nationality, you may be able to apply in several ways. You should read the requirements for each type of application that is relevant and decide which is best for you. If you are unsure if you meet the requirements, you may want to take professional advice from a solicitor or from an immigration adviser registered by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:
• you’re 18 or over
• you’re of good character, e.g. you don’t have a serious or recent criminal record
• you’ll continue to live in the UK
• you’ve met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements
• you’ve been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national) - this means there’s no specific date that you have to leave
• you meet the residency requirement
And you must usually have:
• lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application
• spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
• spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
• been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national) - this means there’s no specific date that you have to leave
• had indefinite leave to stay in the UK for the last 12 months (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national)
• not broken any immigration laws while in the UK
There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.
If you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, or you are the family member of such a person, you will automatically have permanent residence status if you have exercised EEA free-movement rights in the UK for a continuous five-year period ending on or after 30 April 2006. You do not need to apply for leave to remain. You should have held permanent residence status for 12 months before you apply for naturalisation.
Further information regarding naturalisation as a British Citizen can be found at the following website links;
Please note that as the onus is upon the individual to ensure that he/she satisfies the requirements set out in the guidance material that accompanies each and every application form, the Nationality Group is not able to give, indicate or advise upon the outcome of any such application prior to it being correctly submitted and being given full and careful consideration. Therefore, you are advised to read through the guide prior to submitting a future application.
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