We have substantial experience helping clients make successful visa applications to remain in the UK based on their relationship with a family member, and regularly assist with extension applications made by those who initially entered the UK on a family visa route, or those switching into the family route for the first time.
For example, we have helped students switch to a family visa route having met their partner at university, and we have helped those here on a skilled worker visa switch to the partner visa route when, for various reasons, their sponsored employment has ended.
Generally speaking, most adults can naturalise (become British) once they have lived in the UK lawfully for six years. The process takes six years as applicants are required to have lived in the UK for a period of five years lawfully; additionally one year of this period must be as the holder of indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence status.
The exception to this rule is where an applicant is married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen; in this situation an application can be made as soon as the applicant has acquired settled or permanent residence, which in most cases will be after five years.
Children (under 18 years of age) apply under a different procedure known as registration.
Children born in the UK to a parent who obtained indefinite leave to remain after their birth, will qualify automatically to register for citizenship – so too will children who have lived in the UK for 10 years.
Children born overseas may also be entitled to register where one of their parents is a British citizen by descent (this is a form of citizenship that the holder cannot pass on to their children automatically at birth), and that parent had lived in the UK for any three year period prior to the child’s birth. However, the parent’s residence in the UK is considered broken if they had absences exceeding 270 days.
Finally, for all children, the Secretary of State for the Home Department has a discretion to register any child where she/he considers it fit. Factors that case-workers consider are the child’s future intentions, the child’s parents’ circumstances, residence in the UK, the child’s immigration status and any compelling or compassionate circumstances.