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Applying for Naturalisation, but been out of country due to covid

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  • Applying for Naturalisation, but been out of country due to covid

    Hello,

    I am learning how to navigate the forum, so apologies if this might have been already discussed.

    I am a EU citizen - I arrived in the UK at the end of 2012 to begin a PhD, I have then started working in Sept 2017, and received the settled status on April 2019.

    1) I am now making confusion with the lawful residence requirement and the CSI insurance for students.
    While PhD student I didn't have a CSI, probably wrongly assuming to be eventually covered by NHS or the EHIC. Although, having received the Settled Status, I assume that the lawful residence requirement has been met for the previous 5 years. If not, when should I start count it (from the beginning of my employment)?

    2) Now, I am thinking to apply for Naturalisation, but over the past 12 months I have been abroad and unable to travel back to the UK due to pandemic and critical illness of a family member. In total, I should have been out of country for about 9 months.
    Now, my concern is: having been out of country for so long can also break the requirement of the no more than 450 days over the past 5 years?
    How strictly is taken into account the 90 days requirement over the past 12 months, considering this been a pandemic year?

    Overall, how risky would be for me to apply and be rejected?
    If I understand well the about £1330 fee is not refunded if the application is rejected?

    Many thanks

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gino View Post
    Hello,

    I am learning how to navigate the forum, so apologies if this might have been already discussed.

    I am a EU citizen - I arrived in the UK at the end of 2012 to begin a PhD, I have then started working in Sept 2017, and received the settled status on April 2019.

    1) I am now making confusion with the lawful residence requirement and the CSI insurance for students.
    While PhD student I didn't have a CSI, probably wrongly assuming to be eventually covered by NHS or the EHIC. Although, having received the Settled Status, I assume that the lawful residence requirement has been met for the previous 5 years. If not, when should I start count it (from the beginning of my employment)?
    You mentioned having EHIC - I assume you mean EHIC issued by your country of origin. Have you had the chance to read the following info posts?

    about EHIC as CSI

    EHIC cards and CSI - UKCEN Citizenship and Residence for European Nationals and their families
    and

    Evidence of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) - UKCEN Citizenship and Residence for European Nationals and their families

    about the lawful residence issue in general

    Lawful Residence for applicants relying on Settled Status - UKCEN Citizenship and Residence for European Nationals and their families


    Originally posted by Gino View Post
    2) Now, I am thinking to apply for Naturalisation, but over the past 12 months I have been abroad and unable to travel back to the UK due to pandemic and critical illness of a family member. In total, I should have been out of country for about 9 months.
    Now, my concern is: having been out of country for so long can also break the requirement of the no more than 450 days over the past 5 years?
    How strictly is taken into account the 90 days requirement over the past 12 months, considering this been a pandemic year?
    Unfortunately, unlike the settlement scheme (which is mandatory) which provide some allowances for covid related absences, the citizenship application does not.

    This is how we have covered the issues of absences in the past 12 months and commented about the pandemic related absences, you can see here Allowed absences and discretion - UKCEN Citizenship and Residence for European Nationals and their families

    where it says:

    The usual absence allowances are:
    • Up to 90 days in the last 12 months; and either
    • Up to 270 days in the last 3 years if you are married to a British citizen at the time of your application; or
    • Up to 450 days in the last 5 years if you are not married to a British citizen.
    The Home Office has discretion to waive excess absences in individual cases, for example, as a result of your work.

    The individual circumstances of each case will be looked at, including:
    • How long you have lived in the UK;
    • Whether you have established your home and family in the UK;
    • The reasons for your absences.
    There is less discretion when the excess absences have been during the year before the naturalization application.

    Each case is different and will be evaluated on its own merits.

    For full details, see:
    Absences in the final year

    You must only exercise discretion for excessive absences during the final year of the qualifying period under section 6(1)if the future intentionsrequirement is met.

    Where the applicant is applying under section 6(2)or has met the future intentions requirement the following will apply.
    Total absences:
    • of 100 days or less;exercise discretion
    • between 100 and 180 days, where the residence requirement across the qualifying period is met –discretion is only appropriate where the applicant demonstrates strong links through the presence of family, employment and their home in the UK
    • of more than 100 days but not more than 180 days where the residence requirements over the full qualifying period are not met -consider exercising discretion if both the following apply:
      • applicants have demonstrated that they have made this country their home by establishing a home, employment family, property and finances in the UK
      • the absence is justified by Crown service or by compelling occupational or compassionate reasons, including inability to travel becauseof a global pandemic
    • exceeding 180 days where the residence requirements over the full qualifying period are met -consider exercising discretion if the applicant has demonstrated that they have made theUK their home
    • exceeding 180 days where theresidence requirements over the full qualifying period are not met –you must only exercise discretion where the applicant has demonstrated that they have made this country their home and there are exceptional circumstances.
    Note the reference to the inability to travel due to a global pandemic, however, this is likely to cover periods when flights were not available or were cancelled, etc. rather than just periods when the applicant chose not to travel and/or to spend time with their family abroad.

    The easiest and safest thing to do when an applicant has exceeded the allowance, particularly in the last 12 months, is just to wait and apply once the excess absences have dropped off the last 12 months, since there's no requirement to be British for any practical purposes other than being able to vote in General Elections unless there are specific circumstances that wouldn't make this possible.

    If you have exceeded the allowed number of absences and are not able to wait until they drop off, you may want to seek legal advice.


    Originally posted by Gino View Post
    Overall, how risky would be for me to apply and be rejected?
    If I understand well the about £1330 fee is not refunded if the application is rejected?

    Many thanks
    As there is no obligation nor practical purpose to become British after obtaining the settled status, we always advise avoiding applying until there is a clear period of lawful residence in the past 5 years prior to the AN application and a period in which the absences do not exceed the limit prescribed by the guidance as explained above. The risk, as you mentioned is losing the whole fees of £1330 and other related expenses for something is not strictly necessary.

    I hope the above info will help you in making the due consideration and in making a wise decision.

    I am the Group Founder and also an Admin, please refer to our Admin Team, Roles and ResponsibilitiesIf you think we have helped in any way, please support us so we can keep helping others secure their status, it is now more important than ever now EEA nationals are subject to the same immigration requirements as non EEA nationals and require proof of valid status in the UK.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello, I am planning to apply for British naturalisation and counting the absenses for the last 12 months and the last 5 years.

      I am thinking about applying in Jan-Feb 2022 if feasible. The fact is that I would need to ask for 2 discretions:
      1) the first because over the previous 12 months I have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days but less than 179 days;
      2) the second because, over the previous 5 years I have been absent for more than 480 days, but considering the previous 7 years I was oversea less than 730 days.

      My initial question would be if it is possible to receive these two discretions?

      I am concerned about this section of the "...Naturalisation as British citizen by discretion", which reads as "Where the applicant has absences of between 480-900 for applications under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, or 300-540 for applications under section 6(2) and otherwise meets the requirements you must only consider exercising discretion where the applicant has established their home, employment, family and finances in the UK, and one or more of the following applies:
      • at least 2 years residence (for applications under section 6(1)), or 1 year (for applications under section 6(2)), without substantial absences immediately prior to the beginning of the qualifying period. If the period of absence is greater than 730 days (for section 6(1)) or 450 days (for section 6(2)) the period of residence must be at least 3 or 2 years respectively..." - I am wondering if for this discretion is assuming that ALL other requirements (included the one of the last 12-month) are satisfied.

      Apart this, I would satisfy the future intentions requirement and I have already got the Life in the UK test with Language certification.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gino View Post
        Hello, I am planning to apply for British naturalisation and counting the absenses for the last 12 months and the last 5 years.

        I am thinking about applying in Jan-Feb 2022 if feasible. The fact is that I would need to ask for 2 discretions:
        1) the first because over the previous 12 months I have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days but less than 179 days;
        2) the second because, over the previous 5 years I have been absent for more than 480 days, but considering the previous 7 years I was oversea less than 730 days.

        My initial question would be if it is possible to receive these two discretions?

        I am concerned about this section of the "...Naturalisation as British citizen by discretion", which reads as "Where the applicant has absences of between 480-900 for applications under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, or 300-540 for applications under section 6(2) and otherwise meets the requirements you must only consider exercising discretion where the applicant has established their home, employment, family and finances in the UK, and one or more of the following applies:
        • at least 2 years residence (for applications under section 6(1)), or 1 year (for applications under section 6(2)), without substantial absences immediately prior to the beginning of the qualifying period. If the period of absence is greater than 730 days (for section 6(1)) or 450 days (for section 6(2)) the period of residence must be at least 3 or 2 years respectively..." - I am wondering if for this discretion is assuming that ALL other requirements (included the one of the last 12-month) are satisfied.

        Apart this, I would satisfy the future intentions requirement and I have already got the Life in the UK test with Language certification.
        Morning,

        I have moved your new post to your previous thread, where I note that this issue had previously been addressed by my colleague above.

        To clarify, it's not a matter of "two discretions", the application does rely on discretion when the applicant exceeds the allowed numbers. Discretion means exactly that, it's at the discretion of the caseworker to approve or refuse the application. There is also less discretion regarding absences in the last 12 months than with the overall total over the last 5 years.

        I have to fully agree with what my colleague said above:

        Originally posted by ClaudLatina View Post
        As there is no obligation nor practical purpose to become British after obtaining the settled status, we always advise avoiding applying until there is a clear period of lawful residence in the past 5 years prior to the AN application and a period in which the absences do not exceed the limit prescribed by the guidance as explained above. The risk, as you mentioned is losing the whole fees of £1330 and other related expenses for something is not strictly necessary.

        I hope the above info will help you in making the due consideration and in making a wise decision.

        I am the Site Manager and Webmaster, please refer to our Admin Team, Roles and Responsibilities. If you think we have helped in any way, please support us so we can keep helping others secure their status, it is now more important than ever now EEA nationals are subject to the same immigration requirements as non EEA nationals and require proof of valid status in the UK.

        Comment

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