I’ve been thinking about getting a leave-to-remain certificate and perhaps eventually a UK passport, but I’ve been put off by the paperwork (and the intrusiveness of some of the questions). I never actually worked out exactly what would be required and what it would cost, though. Fortunately, Olaya De la Iglesia (an EU citizen who’s married to a local and has kids with them, just like me) has done just that on Facebook:
So as an EU immigrant that has lived here for 16 years and is married to a Brit and has 2 British born children this is the amount of paperwork I have to provide to prove to the Home Office I have lived here for 5 years (nevermind the other 11!).
Some people are wondering why I am doing this. No, at this particular point I do not NEED to have this to stay here, but I have British children and I am worried of what is going to happen to us if I do not secure ‘right to remain’ before Brexit actually happens. Additionally if I become naturalised I get to vote in any future elections, and if we leave we have our options open to come back, for example to visit my husband’s family without the need for me to arrange extra paperwork because I am the only non-Brit…. hope that clarifies it.
This is to get a ‘residence certificate’, NOT an application of citizenship, and this step was introduced only in March 2016, prior to that you did not have to do this. I shall give you a list of the things I must send, they all have to be originals and cover the whole 5 year period.
- Application form – 85 pages!!
- Passport (current and any previous passports held)
- Employment contracts
- Letters from employers confirming dates and wage
- If self employed at any point bank statements
- Proof of address – *at least* 2 documents for each year evenly spread throughout the year
- Child benefit letters
- Tax credit letters
- Evidence of every trip abroad
- Marriage certificate
- Special delivery signed for self addressed envelope (if you want to ensure you get all this stuff back)
The kicker is I ALREADY DID ALL THIS IN 2004!! I have a residence permit that entitles me to indefinite right to remain, but apparently it is of no use now. I have to do this again… and after this I have to;
- Do the ‘Life in the UK’ test – £50 + book £10
- Apply for naturalisation – £1236 (+ £80 if you want to use the checking service)
- Attend the citizenship ceremony – £80
- Apply for a passport – £82.25
- Add to that postage costs, time taken, possibly transport to council and checking offices…. Oh, and if you get naturalisation application wrong, they reject it, keep the £1.2k and don’t even have to tell you why it was rejected!
Someone might say they have tried to make this difficult… I wonder what you have to do if you have £5mil in the bank?
She’s also very helpfully has created a petition (although it’s currently getting checked).
I pointed out in my article on Bella straight after the referendum that the hassle associated with getting a leave-to-remain certificate was a major stress factor for EU nationals here, and that vague reassurances from the Scottish Government are less useful than getting some help with the process (given that Holyrood won’t be in charge of residency requirement till after independence).
Nothing happened, so I asked the same question in writing at Nicola Sturgeon’s meeting with EU nationals in Edinburgh. Here’s the answer I got:
You ask if the Scottish Government could establish a helpline or advice bureau to help EU citizens secure a right to reside. You will wish to note that the Scottish Government funds the provision of an Immigration and Visa Support Service (IVSS) through TalentScotland. The main focus of this service is on providing guidance, support and information on business immigration for Scottish based businesses and inward investors. In addition, their website also offers general information aimed at both EEA and non-EEA nationals.
The information provided by IVSS includes links to Home Office guidance about how EEA nationals can obtain residency documentation, permanent residency documentation and citizenship. This is available at: www.talentscotland.com/….
To be honest, I was rather underwhelmed by this answer. The problem is not finding the form you need to fill out, but getting help with the process. For instance, what to do if you – like me – haven’t kept a record of your trips abroad. Or getting your application pre-checked to ensure it doesn’t fail because of a typo.
Of course the very best solution (apart from Scottish independence happening before Brexit) would be for the UK government to issue permanent leave-to-remain certificates to all EU citizens who were resident here on the day of the Brexit referendum. If they’ve already realised they cannot chuck us out, I don’t see what they’d lose. Surely processing all these huge applications must be extremely time-consuming, and it’d be more rational to spend that time negotiating a better Brexit deal. Fortunately, some EU citizens have started lobbying MPs for this. Let’s hope they succeed.