Comprehensive Sickness Insurance

November 10

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance for British Citizenship

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OTB Legal

If you have Settled Status in the UK and you’re looking to apply for British citizenship, it’s important that you pay close attention to the ‘Good Character’ requirement, particularly the need for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.

The Home Office have updated their Good Character policy guidance to confirm that they will now assess whether you have complied with immigration requirements in the 10 years prior to your citizenship application. This can throw up an unexpected problem for some EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who have been in the UK as students or self-sufficient persons.

If you were an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or their family member in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person, there was a requirement for you to hold Comprehensive Sickness Insurance during that time. However, not all citizens who needed to hold Comprehensive Sickness Insurance were aware that this requirement existed. Unfortunately, those who did not have this were technically not complying with the immigration requirements and this is now impacting their citizenship applications.

Not having Comprehensive Sickness Insurance when you were required to have it can result in the citizenship application being refused. However, the guidance states that decision makers can consider why an applicant did not have Comprehensive sickness Insurance and there is room for decision makers to exercise discretion based on these considerations. However, there is not a lot of detail about what circumstances lead to discretion being exercised.

For many European citizens, this will be the first time they become aware of the need to have had Comprehensive Sickness Insurance and so the issue can be quite confusing, especially as many will have made successful applications for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme without any problems.  The key difference is that in order to be granted Settled Status, you only need to show that you have been resident in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years. Whether or not the continuous residence was lawful and complied with all the immigration requirements is not relevant to the EU Settlement Scheme. However, it is very much relevant to a citizenship application.

In practice, the extent to which your citizenship application will be impacted by these issues will depend on your specific circumstances. If you would like to have a better idea of whether your application may be affected, we would welcome you to book a free consultation with a member of the personal immigration team at OTB Legal so we can offer some initial advice. To book your appointment, just book below.

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