Can I apply for indefinite leave to remain if I have just been deprived of my British citizenship on grounds of fraud or deception?
It used to be very unusual for the Home Office to deprive British citizens of their citizenship. Nowadays, however, it is becoming increasingly common for the Secretary of State to exercise her powers to take away a person’s British citizenship.
Before 2000 almost no one was subject to these powers. Over the years the numbers have steadily increased. Over the period of 2017 – 2020 we know the following number of people to have been deprived of citizenship on grounds of fraud / deception:
Number of Deprivations due to Fraud
What happens when someone is deprived of their citizenship on grounds of fraud?
When the Home Office is considering depriving someone of their citizenship on grounds of fraud, they will give that person an opportunity to write to them and give reasons why they should not be deprived of their citizenship first. After considering those representations the Home Office will then go on to make a decision about whether they will deprive the person of citizenship or not.
If a decision to deprive is made, a person will have a right of appeal. These types of appeals can be complex, so it is important for a person to obtain legal advice on whether they have grounds to challenge the decision or not.
If a person decides not to appeal or they are unsuccessful with their appeal, the Home Office will usually take the following steps:
Sign a deprivation order
Within 4 weeks of appeal rights being exhausted
Make a decision on whether to grant a person leave to remain or remove them
Within 8 weeks of the deprivation order being signed
Again, a person will usually be invited to provide reasons why they should be allowed to remain in the UK before a decision is taken. If the Home Office decides to grant leave to remain, then they will normally grant a period of 2 ½ years discretionary leave to remain on the ’10 year route’ to settlement, and the person will not have recourse to public funds.
Can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain straight away?
It may well be possible for a person to apply for indefinite leave to remain immediately after being granted discretionary leave to remain for 2 ½ years. Our Personal Immigration Team have assisted a number of clients with successful applications for indefinite leave to remain in this situation.
It may be possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the following situations:
You have lived lawfully in the UK for more than 10 years
The Immigration Rules allow someone to apply for indefinite leave to remain when they have completed 10 years continuous lawful residence. The guidance published says that the Home Office ‘must’ count time spent as a British citizen as being ‘lawful residence’. To qualify under this route there will be some criteria you must meet:
- You cannot have been abroad more than 548 days in the 10 year period
- You cannot have been abroad more than 6 months at a time
- You must have passed the Life in the UK Test
- You must have passed an English Language test (level B1) or meet the English language requirement in another way
The Home Office may consider refusing to grant indefinite leave to remain based on the previous deception – it is therefore sensible to provide evidence of your good character, positive employment record and strong ties to the UK to make the application as strong as possible.
You are the family member of an EU national
Another option may be to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme as the family member of an EU national who has completed 5 years residence. The EU Settlement Scheme are likely to still accept applications from someone who has a good reason for not having applied earlier (for example they were British and could not have applied before being deprived of citizenship).
If you would like advice on your circumstances then please contact Mark Lilley-Tams at [email protected] who is an experienced immigration Solicitor and has represented many clients subject to deprivation of citizenship action. In Chambers and Partners, Mark was described as follows:
“Mark Lilley-Tams is a seasoned immigration partner with significant expertise across personal immigration. He is best known for his work on nationality matters and often handles complex deprivation of citizenship cases, as well as judicial reviews.”