USA and the UK
The benefits of a British passport
If you decide to acquire British citizenship and become a British citizen you will enjoy many benefits including the ownership of a British passport. The UK passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world with visa-free travel to 139 countries, travel to 7 countries where travel authorization is obtained online, and travel to 38 counties where you will be granted a visa upon arrival. In addition, you can travel freely in and out of the United Kingdom without having to pass immigration controls.
Of course, you can not acquire a British passport without British citizenship which carries with it many benefits as well.
The benefits of British citizenship
If you decide to acquire British citizenship, you will be entitled to the same rights as all other UK citizens such as:
The right to live, work and study in the UK indefinitely – As a British citizen, you will not be subject to any immigration restrictions and therefore can live in the UK free from immigration restrictions.
A right to a British passport – As a British citizen, you will be free to enjoy one of the most powerful passports in the world. The British passport will not only allow you hassle-free entry into the UK on your return but you can also use it to visit many different countries around the world visa-free.
The right to vote in elections – In addition to voting in referendums, national and local elections, British citizens also have the right to run for public office if they choose to do so.
A right to free healthcare – All British citizens enjoy access to free healthcare through the UK’s national health service (NHS).
A right to claim public funds – All British citizens have access to a variety of benefits provided by the UK government.
The ability to pass your British citizenship off to your children-your children will be British citizens if they are born in the UK with a parent who has Indefinite Leave to Remain, Settled Status, or permanent residence. However, if they are born outside of the UK, they can only receive British citizenship if they are the child of a British citizen.
Who is eligible for British Citizenship?
There are a number of ways to gain British Citizenship if you are an American. Amongst the most common ways to become a British citizen include the following:
If you have lawfully lived in the UK for at least six years with at least one year under Indefinite Leave to Remain status, then you may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship.
British citizenship by birth or by decent
You may automatically have British citizenship by birth if you were born in the UK after January 1st, 1983. In addition, you could also be eligible for British citizenship if one of your parents or grandparents was a British citizen when you were born.
Spouses and civil partners of British citizens may be able to apply for British citizenship by marriage. In order to be eligible for this, you must have spent at least 3 years living in the UK. You may apply for UK citizenship once you have a permanent residence document, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite leave to enter the UK.
Regaining British Nationality after renouncing it
British citizens who renounced their citizenship in the past may be able to reclaim their UK citizenship.
What are the requirements for British citizenship?
According to the British Nationality Act 1981, you must meet the following requirements to be eligible for UK citizenship:
- You must be 18 years old or over
- You are of sound mind (that is of full mental capacity)
- You must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a British citizen or settled person)
- You must have held Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least twelve months
- You must not have spent more than 450 days outside the UK during your qualifying residency period
- You must pass the Life in the UK test
- You must be able to demonstrate that you have met the ‘good character’ requirement
- You must not have breached any immigration conditions during your UK residency
- You must proficiently read, write and speak English
- You must have serious intentions of living permanently in the UK
How can I apply for a British passport?
You can apply for a UK passport either online or through paper forms found at the local Post Office. If you are applying for a British passport while you are in the U.S., you will need to apply online then send off the printed application form along with any supporting documents to the UK passport office.
After you have submitted your passport application form along with supporting documents, you may be asked to attend an interview to confirm your identity.
What are the required documents for a British passport?
In order to apply for a UK passport, you will need to submit a number of various documents. The type of documents needed will depend on how you became a naturalized British citizen. All documents submitted must be original copies. You will receive them back separately from your UK passport via the type of delivery specified in your passport application. The main documents that you will be expected to provide are as follows:
- Your birth or adoption certificate
- Your naturalization or registration certificate
- The passport you used to come to the UK
- You may also need to provide details of your parent’s immigration status (if applicable)
- Two passport-sized photos
Getting a counter-signatory
In order to obtain a British passport, you provide a signature from a counter-signatory on your passport application. A counter-signatory is someone who can confirm your identity. He or she must have known you for at least 2 years and can confirm that all of the details you have given in your passport application are correct to his or her knowledge. In addition, your counter-signatory must also:
- Have Irish or UK citizenship, and currently living in the UK
- Be a professional person or be recognized as “a person of good standing in their community”
- Not be related to you by birth or marriage, nor in a personal relationship with you
- Not be living at your address
- Not be working for the Home Office
The passport interview
After you have submitted your application, the Home Office will notify you to attend a passport interview for the purposes of confirming your identity. This interview will last around 30 minutes and will focus on basic background questions like your name and address. Depending on the circumstances, you might even be asked questions about your spouse/partner, children, and other family members.
How much does it cost to get a British passport?
The cost of the British passport will depend on the age of who is applying and how many pages you would like in the passport. The fees for the UK passport are as follows:
For adults (16 years of age or older)
Online applications: £75.50 (for 34 pages), £85.50 (for 50 pages)
Paper applications: £85 (for 34 pages), £95 (for 50 pages)
For children (under 16 years old)
Online applications: £49 (for 34 pages), £59 (for 50 pages)
Paper applications: £58.50 (for 34 pages), £68.50 (for 50 pages)
How long does it take to get a British passport?
Taking into consideration both the processing time and delivery, you should expect to receive your UK passport within 8 weeks. After your passport application has been processed and accepted, it will then be sent out to you via courier or recorded delivery.
How do I renew my passport?
If you are an adult then your UK passport is valid for 10 years. British passports for children only last for 5 years in the UK. When your passport expires, you will need to renew it online or via a paper form that can be found at the local post office. If you are applying online for your British passport, you should expect to receive it within 3 weeks. Keep in mind that if applying for passport renewal by post it may take longer.
If you are in urgent need of a passport, you may be able to expedite the process by applying via a premium service, such as Online Premium or 1 Week Fast Track Services. It is important to note that you should not book travel until you have an up-to-date passport since the passport identification numbers will change with each passport.
How can IAS help?
Applying for your first UK passport can be tricky. It’s important to fill out the application correctly to avoid delay or refusal. We can help make the process easier!
Our immigration attorneys offer an Application Package that helps people throughout each step of their citizenship application. With this service, one of our lawyers can help you to fill in the application form, check that all of the information is accurate, and can also make sure that you have all the supporting evidence that you will require.
With the help of our expert lawyers, applying for your passport will be simple, and you will have the best chance of success. Our lawyers will also always be on hand to answer any questions you may have in relation to your application.
To learn more about how we can help with your UK passport application, contact us today on +1 844 290 6312.
Last modified on March 28th, 2022 at 2:37 pm
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