United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Naturalisation - EEA National
A passport holder of any EU country is entitled to enter the UK and to exercise the Treaty Rights - that is, to work freely. Time spent in the UK counts towards nationality as long as such time was spent "lawfully" in the UK.
For Irish citizens, there is no requirement to hold a Permanent Residence Card. After 5 years of continuous residence, and subject to meeting the usual criteria, an Irish citizen can naturalise as a British citizen. For all other EU nationals, they must first hold a Permanent Residents Card before they can naturalise. After 5 years of continuous residence, and subject to meeting the usual criteria, they can naturalise as British citizens.
As a result, the most common British Citizenship claims that arise are:
- NATURALISATION in the UK through a period of qualifying residency. Read more about British Citizenship by Naturalisation.
- A CHILD IS BORN IN THE UK to a EU parent. Read more about British Citizenship by Birth for children of EEA Nationals.
The European citizens to whom this applies are: Austrians, Belgians, Bulgarians, Cypriots, Czechs, Danes, Estonians, Finns, French, Germans, Greeks, Hungarians, Italians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Luxembourg Citizens, Maltese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romanians, Slovakians, Slovenians, Spanish and Swedes.
The EU Citizen can apply for British citizenship in due course, on the basis of continuous residency and work in the UK. If the time spent in the UK exceeds 5 years, then the candidate can apply for British Nationality (UK Citizenship), with the right to hold a British Passport. Application can only be made AFTER the 5 year residency qualification period.
The countries to whom this applies are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands (Holland), Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.