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British Citizenship Principal Home Requirement

Applying for British citizenship requires the Home Office to check out certain prerequisites. One of the factors in check for British Naturalisation is your principal home. As an applicant, you must demonstrate that your principal home will be in the UK. Then certain requirements and criteria are checked during the principal home verification.

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    The British Nationality Act 1981

    The British Nationality Act of 1981 is the regulation that guides becoming a British citizen. The Act details the eligibility criteria for British Naturalisation in sections 6(1) and 6(2). All applicants for British Naturalisation must be aligned with this act before checking for other requirements, such as a principal home.

    In section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act, you are qualified to apply for British Citizenship if you have lived in the UK for the past 5 years and obtained ILR for at least 12 months. The section also states that EU residents who have attained a permanent residence status for 12 months are qualified.

    Section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act states that you are eligible for British citizenship if you are married to a British. You are required to have lived in the UK for the last 3 years. A non-EEA citizen is expected to have received ILR, while EEA nationals are expected to have permanent residence.

    Section 6 (2) also states that anyone with a British parent is eligible with the same criteria as above. Likewise, anyone with other types of British Nationality, such as British Nationality Overseas BN (O) status, is also eligible.

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    What Is The British Citizen Principal Home Test?

    The British Citizenship principal home test is a check done by the Home Office to ascertain that an applicant of British Naturalisation is committed to residing in the UK. Commitment to the United Kingdom through residency is a necessary qualification you must demonstrate to earn British citizenship. Nevertheless, there are scenarios where Home Office caseworkers can exercise discretion when applying some rules. There are certain aspects of the residency requirement that can be waived.

    As a result, it is best to consult with an expert before going ahead with your application. You can call London Immigration Lawyers on 020 4502 8582 to find out about your eligibility status. This is also necessary to help you work around your travel, study, and any other plan you have outside of the UK without sabotaging your plan of becoming a British citizen, even if you plan to have your principal home abroad.

    Also, the Home Office has a specified UK requirement for the two categories of applicants. That is, the requirements expected of applicants that fall under section 6(1) are slightly different from that of applicants under section 6 (2) of the British Nationality Act of 1981.

    Principal Home Residency Requirement For 5 years British Citizenship Applicant

    The British Nationality Act 1981 section 6(1) is for applicants who have lived in the UK for a period of 5 years. Applicants under this category are expected to demonstrate the following:

    • You must have been in the UK for a period of 5 years which must end on the date of your British Citizenship applications.
    • You must not have been absent from the UK for more than 450 days in that 5-year period or 90 days in the last twelve months ending on your British Citizenship application date.
    • You must not be subject to restriction under any immigration law as of the date of your British Citizenship Application and in a period of twelve months ending on the date of your application.
    • You must not have breached any of the UK immigration laws in the 5 years of your stay.
    • You must have been in the UK from the beginning of this 5 years period, except your absence was because of serving in the HM forces.
    • You must be free from time restrictions under immigration law as of the time of your application.

    Certain requirements above can be waived by Home Office caseworkers using discretion. However, it is imperative that the applicant is free from restrictions and has not breached any immigration law.

    Also, there is an exemption for certain people from being in the UK from the start of their qualifying period. People in the following circumstances are exempted:

    • An applicant applying on the ground of Crown service.
    • An applicant who is a member of the UK armed forces.
    • An applicant who is married to a British Citizen in Crown service or serving the country overseas.

    Aside from the above-mentioned applicants, you must be physically present in the UK from the start of your 5 years qualifying period.

    Principal Home Residency Requirement For 3 years British Citizenship Applicant

    Section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act of 1981 also makes provision for applicants who have stayed for a period of 3 years. Below are the requirements for such applicants as expected by the Home office:

    • You must have been in the UK for a period of 3 years which ends on the date of your British Citizenship Application.
    • You must not have been absent in the UK for a period of 270 days in the 3 years period or 90 days in the final year, which ends on the date of your application.
    • You must not be under restrictions by any immigration law through the period of your stay in the UK.
    • You must not at any time during your stay breach any immigration law.

    Home Office guidance allows caseworkers to exercise discretion in waiving some of the residence requirements. Nevertheless, the applicant under this route must not be under any restriction on their UK period of stay at the time of their application.

    What Home Office Caseworkers Check For In British Naturalisation Application

    There is an official Home Office guidance caseworkers follow when accessing your application. The guidance features advice on actions to take after an applicant met the established residence requirements. The following are taken into consideration:

    • The applicant’s presence in the UK at the beginning of his or her qualifying for British Naturalisation.
    • The applicant’s absence during the 5 or 3 years qualifying period.
    • The applicant’s absence from the UK during the period of the final year of the qualifying period.
    • The applicant’s technical absence, such as admission to the hospital.
    • The applicant breaches immigration law during the qualifying period before the application.

    How The Home Office Assess Your Absences From The UK

    The number of times you have been absent from the UK is a major consideration in the UK naturalisation application. Caseworkers take evidence from some of the absence forms you will be submitting to review the number of times you have been absent. Details of your days of absence will be taken from the following:

    • Your passport and other travel documents that show your date of arrival in the UK and departure from other countries.
    • Your travelling records with the Home Office.
    • Official letters from an employer, HMRC office, or other official correspondence can also be considered without travel documents.

    While reviewing any of these documents, the guidance allows the caseworker to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt when the number of absences is within the limit the Home Office allows. Meanwhile, such applicants must have met up with other requirements where necessary.

    Home Office guidance states that an applicant can use a letter from a doctor as confirmation of principal residence. Such a letter must be honoured in a situation where there is no other evidence and there is proof that the doctor sees the applicant regularly.

    Also, in a situation where an applicant cannot provide independent evidence of residence during the 3 or 5 years qualifying period, the Home Office guidance allows a caseworker to accept any documents or information that proves that the applicant could not have travelled at any time during this period as a result of a physical or mental condition.

    How To Count Residence Requirement Date?

    The Home Office has a way of calculating applicants’ days of absence from the UK. The rule applied here states that only a whole day’s absence from the UK should be counted. As such, the day of departure from the UK and the day of arrival from the UK will not be counted regardless of time.

    The immigration rule also demands that an applicant is physically present in the UK or must have spent a substantial proportion of their life in the UK to meet the residence requirements. However, this does not mean that you have to be domiciled in the UK or habitually resident in the UK.

    Home Office Discretion On Absence Of Applicant

    The Home office caseworkers can exercise discretion when an applicant for British nationality under 5 years qualifying period has spent more than 450 days outside of the UK. Likewise, discretion can be exercised for an applicant under the 3 years qualifying period who has spent more than 270 days outside of the UK. This discretion is applied if, and only if, the applicant has met other requirements for British citizenship.

    In a case where the applicant has only exceeded the permitted absence of 450 days and 270 days by 30 days or less, the Home Office caseworker is allowed to exercise discretion, except if there are other justifiable reasons to disqualify such applicants.

    However, the discretion becomes complicated when the applicant under a 5 years qualifying period has been absent from the UK for a period of 480-900 days and an applicant under a 3-year qualifying period has been absent for 300-540 days.

    In such complicated cases as above, the Home Office Caseworker is allowed to exercise discretion if other eligibility criteria have been met and the applicant has established their home, family, employment or business, and finances in the UK.

    The Home Office may also subject the applicant to considerable eligibility criteria as follows;

    • At least two years of residence without a substantial absence for an applicant under the 5 years qualifying period and 1-year residence without substantial absence for an applicant under the 3 years qualifying period.
    • Absence as a result of posting abroad on the Crown service assignment under the UK government or when the applicant who is married to a British accompanies his/her spouse who has employment abroad.
    • If the excess absences result from the applicant’s career while working with a multinational company that requires staff to engage in frequent overseas trips.
    • If there are any exceptionally compelling reasons of occupational and compassionate nature to grant such an applicant British Citizenship.

    Future Intentions Requirement

    In order to ascertain the applicant’s commitment to the UK, the Home Office will also seek to verify the future intentions requirement. If the applicant will be travelling for more than 6 months after the application, the guidance requires the caseworker to refuse such an application, and the applicant can reapply upon return to the UK.

    However, the application can be granted based on the following reasons:

    • If the applicant is engaging in a voluntary service overseas.
    • If the applicant is undertaking studies, training, or is employed overseas, such engagement is necessary for the fellow to pursue a UK-based profession in future.
    • If the applicant’s intended absence is an established pattern due to employment or other justifiable reason, it must be established that the applicant is based in the UK.
    • International celebrities who move in and out of the UK. Such a person must, however, demonstrate a personal connection with the UK. The applicant’s future intentions will be judged using UK tax and the number of properties in the country.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers receive assistance on British Citizenship Principal Home. Contact us

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      How Can London Immigration Lawyers Help?

      The British Naturalisation application has many checklists applicants must tick to be successful. Applicants without sufficient knowledge will jeopardise their chances of becoming British citizens. The principal home requirement seems to be the most tedious of all, considering the number of days of absence and future intentions requirement. As a result, a careful analysis of your eligibility criteria by a professional immigration lawyer can help save you the stress of denied application.

      You can call our London Immigration Lawyers on 020 4502 8582 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We are here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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