What-Are-The-Benefits-Of-British-Citizenship

What Are The Benefits Of British Citizenship?

On March 15, 2023 | In British Citizenship | By A Y & J Solicitors Last Updated : January 10, 2024

The journey to acquiring British Citizenship might not be simple, but it certainly has its benefits. Once you have settled in the UK and made it your home, you might feel a special kinship with this country. At this stage, you might find that you are ready to apply for British Citizenship.

It can take a while for individuals to qualify for British Citizenship, but many will tell you that it is worth the wait. British Citizenship will secure your right to live and work in the UK. It can also open up new avenues, including the right to access public funds and even the opportunity to get involved with politics. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the benefits of British Citizenship.

What is the difference between British Citizenship and Indefinite Leave To Remain?

It’s likely that you will secure Indefinite Leave to Remain before you secure British Citizenship. The exception would be if you are claiming British Citizenship because of family and ancestral ties to the UK.

While both will allow you to live, work and study in the UK, British Citizenship takes it one step further. This is because you cannot easily lose your British Citizenship, but you can lose ILR status by simply being outside of the UK continuously for more than two years. There are other instances where you could lose your leave to remain.

With British Citizenship, you will always be a passport holder and you will retain these rights, even if you go to live somewhere else in the world. You will always be able to call the UK your home.

What are the Benefits of British Citizenship?

A British passport, the right to vote and the chance to stand for local council are just some of the perks of being a British citizen. Let’s look at these in a little more detail: 

Right to Live in the United Kingdom

Once you acquire British citizenship, you can freely live in the United Kingdom without any restrictions. You can leave and return to the country whenever you want, with no restriction on how long you can be overseas. You’ll also find it easier to enter the country with a British passport, as you won’t be subject to immigration checks.

Right to Work and Study in the UK

British citizenship allows you to work and study freely in the UK. With British Citizenship, you do not need to get permission to study or work. This means you can take a job with any employer, not just one that is capable of sponsoring your work visa. This also removes any restrictions on how much you need to earn to be able to secure a visa. For many people, this freedom is life-changing, as it allows them to follow their passion instead of being stuck in a role just to secure a visa. You’ll also find it easier to move jobs, which can greatly enhance your career prospects. 

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Right to hold a British Passport

The British passport is one of the most powerful passports worldwide. That is to say, it allows you to travel across 148 countries and territories without a visa and to a further 39 by applying for a visa. A British passport is not just evidence of citizenship, it is the key to helping you enter multiple countries, across the globe, with minimum bureaucracy. It can also be simpler to apply for a visa if you are a British passport holder.

Right to Vote in UK Elections

British citizenship gives you the right to vote in local and national elections and partake fully in the UK’s democratic system. Voting rights include local and national elections, as well as referendums. You can also stand for public office as a British citizen.

Right to access the National Health Service (NHS)

UK residents are proud of their publicly funded healthcare system, and as a British citizen, you will have the right to access free healthcare through the National Health Service (NHS). This will allow you to access healthcare that is free at the point of service, with no need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge or pay for private health insurance. You will still pay a small surcharge for things like dental care, prescriptions and eye care.

Right to Claim Public Funds

While people with visas are normally restricted from claiming public funds, British Citizens have full access to claim UK state benefits. Benefits you can claim might include Jobseeker’s Allowance or Child Benefit, as a couple of examples. Benefits can help to support you when you are unable to work or provide extra support if you are disabled, have children, or are elderly.

Advantages of British Citizenship Over ILR

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is also known as permanent residence or Settlement. With ILR, you can live and work freely in the UK with no expiry date of the ILR status. However, British citizenship still has several advantages over ILR.

Some of the key advantages include the following:

The Right to Vote in UK General Elections and Stand for Public Office

British citizens have the right to vote in all UK elections and stand for public office, whereas non-British citizens with ILR status do not necessarily have these rights.

Secure Immigration Status

British citizenship provides a more secure immigration status than ILR, as it cannot normally be taken away. In extreme cases, the government may try to revoke Citizenship after it has been granted, but this is very rare. With ILR status, this may be lost if the individual stays outside the UK for 2 or more years at a time.

Potential Eligibility for Dual Citizenship

British citizenship allows an individual to hold dual or multiple citizenship, which can provide additional opportunities and benefits. The UK does not require you to renounce your citizenship of another country to hold British Citizenship, but some countries do not allow dual citizenship, so you will have a decision to make.

Frequently asked questions about the benefits of British Citizenship

What are the benefits of British citizenship?

British Citizenship provides several benefits, including the right to live, work and study in the United Kingdom indefinitely. A British Citizen has access to a wide range of public services such as healthcare, education and welfare benefits. Citizenship also comes with the right to vote in General Elections and run for public office in UK elections. British Citizens are entitled to apply for a British passport. Citizens also can sponsor certain non-British family members to join them in the United Kingdom, on family visas.

Can I Work and Study in the UK with British Citizenship?

Yes, you have every right to live, work and study in the United Kingdom with British citizenship.

Can I Access Public Services Such as Healthcare and Education with British Citizenship?

As a British citizen, you have the right to use public services such as the National Health Service and to enrol your children in state education, as well as being eligible to apply for a UK University place as a home student. This also means you will pay home student fees, which are significantly cheaper than international student fees.

Can I Vote and Run for Public Office with British Citizenship?

As a British citizen, you have the right to vote in UK elections and run for public office. This means you could stand as a local councillor and make a huge difference in your community. If you have your sights set on being a local MP, you can also stand for election.

Can I Travel Visa Free with a UK Passport?

Once you acquire British Citizenship, you are eligible to apply for a British passport. It automatically enables visa-free travel to many countries around the world.

Can I Sponsor My Family Members to Join Me in the UK with British Citizenship?

After acquiring British citizenship, you have the right to sponsor certain family members, who can stay with you in the United Kingdom. This includes your fiance or partner and your children if they are still under the age of 18.

Can I Apply for British Nationality for my Children?

As a British citizen, you can normally apply for British nationality for your Children. If they are born after you become British, they will be British automatically.

Can I Pass on My British Citizenship to Future Generations?

Yes, as a British citizen, you can pass on your British citizenship to your children, whether they are born inside or outside the UK.

How Long do I Need to Live in the UK to be eligible for British Citizenship?

To acquire British citizenship, you normally need to have been resident in the UK lawfully for a minimum of five years and meet all the eligibility criteria (under the British Nationality Act).

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