PR, ILR and Settled Status mandatory to apply for naturalisation

It is mandatory to have either PR, ILR or Settled Status to apply for citizenship, and to have held the status for at least 12 months unless married to a British national.

In order to apply for citizenship, EEA nationals and their family members must have either:

  • A PR card or document certifying Permanent Residence;
  • ILR; or
  • Settled Status.

PR cards will continue to be valid till the end of December 2020.

If you have a PR card and apply for settled status, you can still use the PR card to apply for citizenship, as long as the application is submitted before the end of December 2020.

There is no need to rely on settled status, nor wait 12 months from the date it was granted, if you use your PR card to apply for citizenship.

You must choose the PR option on the AN form to apply on the basis of PR rather than settled status.

Please note that the checklist generated by the form refers to this as "Freedom from immigration time restrictions". Proof of PR or ILR, including settled status is proof of freedom from immigration time restrictions.

Non-EU nationals who are not here as family members of EEA nationals, get ILR rather than PR, but it fulfills a similar function. If they meet the naturalization requirements, then they can naturalise. EEA nationals who have been living in the UK before 2006 may have been issued with ILR. This is valid for naturalization without the need for a PR card.

Citizenship applications are very costly the fee is not refunded if your application is rejected, so it pays to make sure you are sending the right documents.

The most common cause for rejections on the group has been applying with the wrong document, usually a Registration Certificate instead of a PR Card.

You can apply with a PR card or ILR regardless of how long ago they were issued, they do not expire. However, due to Brexit, PR cards will only be valid till the end of 2020.

PR certification, Settled Status or ILR is STILL REQUIRED even if you apply based on marriage to a British national. The rule applies to everyone.

Although it is possible to obtain settled status in less than five years in certain circumstances, for example, applying as the child (under 21) of a parent with settled status, it is still necessary to have lived in the UK for at least 5 years in order to apply for citizenship.

Registration Certificates and other residence documents can look similar to the PR certification card, you must ensure you’ve got the right document. The vignette will indicate the relevant document, not the blue card it is in.

Make sure you have the right document

If you have a blue cardholder, you need to look inside to make sure there is a PR card in there and not a registration certificate or another residence document. All the blue cardholders look pretty much the same from the outside.

Non EEA nationals who are here under a different route other than as family members of EEA nationals are issued with BRPs (Biometric Residence Permits); not all BRPs show the holder has Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), it is important to make sure the document does show SETTLEMENT/INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN.

Additional requirements

  • You will also need additional evidence of residence for the last 5 years, or the last 3 if applying on the basis of marriage, unless you apply with old ILR or your PR card is over 5 (or 3) years old, in which case you need evidence from the issue date of your PR card or ILR stamp.
  • Unless you are married to a British citizen, you need to have had PR status or ILR for at least 12 months. If using Settled Status, you need to wait at least 12 months from the date you obtained the status. There is no deadline to apply with ILR or Settled Status but you can only use PR certification till the end of 2020.
  • You also need to satisfy the language requirement and pass the Life in the UK Test as well as meeting the Good Character and absence requirements.

Applying without a valid biometric residence card (non EEA family members)

Biometrics centres are closed until further notice.

Applicants who are not able to use the app cannot submit an EUSS application.

Non EEA family members can apply if they have a valid biometric card (BRC).

At the moment, it's not possible to apply without a valid biometric card due to the closure of the biometrics centres.

At the start of the online form, there is the option to apply either using the app or By post.

Non EEA nationals without a valid biometric card must choose the "By post" option rather than the app. This doesn't mean having to send the passports by post, as they get checked at the biometrics appointment.

You will receive an email asking you to book an appointment for biometrics, giving you a time frame in which to do so.

You will need to create an account with the Home Office's commercial partner Sopra Steria to enroll biometrics.

At this appointment, your passport will be checked and copied.

Sopra Steria UKVCAS appointments are released early morning every day, this is the best time to book them and there is a range of prices from free appointments (which go very quickly) to premium appointment which are very costly. If you cannot find a free appointment, you can log out and log in the day after, repeat this if necessary.

You are advised to take note of the username, password and codes to log in to the Sopra Steria system.

You will receive a biometric card in the post, the quoted timescale is 10 working days after your decision email.

At the moment, it's not possible to apply without a valid biometric card due to the closure of the biometrics centres.