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British Nationality: Naturalisation

Question for Home Office

UIN 77525, tabled on 21 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to page 28 of her Department's document entitled, Nationality policy: Naturalisation as a British citizen by discretion, published on 14 May 2020, if she will provide a definition of what constitutes compelling grounds to exercise discretion.

Answered on

1 September 2020

To meet the statutory requirements for naturalisation, a person of any nationality must have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period.

EEA Regulations set out the requirements which EEA nationals needed to follow if they wished to reside here lawfully on the basis of free movement. In the case of students or the self-sufficient, but not those who were working here, the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement under them.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of any particular case. We cannot therefore prescribe when discretion will or will not be exercised. UKVI will consider cases sensitively, taking into account the nature and reasons for any period of unlawful residence alongside other information relevant to the individual.

There are no plans to amend legislation in this respect.

We do not have figures for the number of EU, EEA Swiss nationals in the UK who do not hold comprehensive sickness Insurance. It is only required where a person is either self-sufficient or a student. As EEA and Swiss nationals did not previously need to hold a document confirming their status, we cannot say how many failed to comply with this requirement.

Answered by

Home Office
Named day
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