In our blog in early February 2022 we outlined how lack of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) could cause problems for certain categories of EU nationals and their family members when applying for Naturalisation (British citizenship).
We are glad to now provide an update that the new Home Office guidance published in late June 2022 no longer requires comprehensive sickness insurance for Naturalisation applications to prove lawful residence.
Lawful Residence and Comprehensive Sickness Insurance
Under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, the Home Office has the power to not enquire further into the lawful residence of an applicant who has been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.
This means that, in the vast majority of cases, the applicants will only need to demonstrate that they hold valid indefinite leave in the UK in order to meet the lawful residence requirement.
If applicant is an EEA national, by supplying evidence of settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) the applicant will also normally meet the lawful residence requirement. That also means applicants will not need to send evidence of what they were doing in the UK prior to being granted settled status. This includes people who did not hold comprehensive sickness insurance under the EEA regulations whilst either a student or a self-sufficient person.
Applicants can now meet the lawful residence requirement simply by showing you have been granted settled status under the EUSS. You also no longer need to explain why you did not hold comprehensive sickness insurance.
Exceptions when enquiries about lawful residence will be made
If an applicant has indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK (ILE or ILR) Home Office caseworkers do not need to look back to see if applicant was lawfully in the UK. They may proceed to grant the British citizenship application if all the other requirements are met.
Home Office caseworkers do not need to ask for evidence of the applicant’s status prior to them being granted ILE or ILR, or whether they were working lawfully, or what their basis of stay was in the UK. For example, they do not need to enquire what activity was being undertaken or whether EEA nationals with ILR needed or had comprehensive sickness insurance. This will apply to the vast majority of cases.
It may still be appropriate to continue to apply the requirement to enquiry about the basis of lawful residence in certain circumstances, such as where information has subsequently come to light which, had it been known at the time, might have affected the decision to grant indefinite leave, or might now lead to revocation of ILE/ILR.
In such cases, Home Office must make a thorough assessment of the applicant’s immigration history. If there were periods of unlawful presence in the UK, Home Office must consider whether there were any factors that might make it appropriate to exercise discretion using the Home Office guidance at Annex B. The Home Office good character guidance has been amended accordingly.