UK: Naturalisation Changes

Key changes have been introduced by the Home Office following the release of the latest naturalisation application form.

Naturalisation applicants will now be expected to return their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) when they have had a naturalisation application approved by the Home Office. The Home Office have provided that BRP cards must be returned within 5 days from the date the applicant attended a Citizenship ceremony or in the alternative the date the applicant was issued with a certificate of naturalisation, whichever is sooner.

Home Office guidance states “…Please cut up your BRP and return your/your client”s cancelled permit in a windowless plain envelope, with a covering note, which clearly explains the reason for return or an explanation for not returning the card…”

There is a provision for the Secretary of State to impose a fine of up to £1,000 if the BRP is not returned within five days, or a suitable explanation for any delay provided.

Following a grant of citizenship the applicant”s BRP will be cancelled, making any immediate international travel problematic. Carriers may refuse to accept the cancelled BRP as evidence that the applicant is entitled to reside in the UK.

Individuals wishing to travel to and from the UK following the grant of British Citizenship are now required to either obtain a British passport or a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode endorsement in their foreign passport. The above changes will undoubtedly impact recently naturalised individuals travel plans as right of abode applications can take up to six months to process and British passport applications take between 4-6 weeks to be finalised.

It is therefore imperative that naturalisation applicants be made aware of the potential disruption to their international travel plans following the approval of the nationality application. It is vital the submission of the application and, where applicable, scheduling of the Citizenship ceremony are carefully co-ordinated to minimise disruption to international travel plans.

If you have any further questions concerning naturalisation applications please contact us.

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