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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I have lived in the UK for 40 years(originally from Jamaica).

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I have lived in the UK for 40 years(originally from Jamaica). I have been schooled here and have worked here, I have also have voted. However, I have never applied for a British passport? I don't even have a valid Jamaican passport because I have never traveled outside UK since my arrival as a child. Can I apply for British Citizenship?

Thanks for your question .

For clarity and the avoidance of doubt, could you please respond to the following USING THE SAME NUMBERING:-
1. Where/when were you born
2. Did your parents register you as a UK citizen (even though you didn’t get your passport)
3. Do you have an old Jamaican passport?
4. If so, does it say that you have an indefinite leave to remain in the UK
5. If not, what does it say
Kind regards.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

1. Jamaica

2. Unsure as they have both died and left very little information. When they retired, they returned to Jamaica leaving me here.

3. Yes, I have my only and orignal passport. A photo of when I was 10 approx

4. I don't think so.

5. It has an entry certification and a stamp from an immigration officer at London Airport.


How old were you when you entered the UK as a child?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
10-11 years old approx. I arrived in 1967.

Were you parents both not British citizens at the time of your birth?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I don't think so. I believe that they were both of Jamaican citizenship only at this stage. They came here in the UK to work in the 50's.

I've just got to do some digging. I should have answer for you in about ten minutes.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you
Sorry, just one more question...

Have you married at any point? If please state the nationality of the person you married and what date you married them.. (please list if there is more than one).

Apologies for the length questions, yours is a bit complicated because you don't have a passport newer then the one you hold but you can relax - your status in the UK is fine, just trying to work out which is the best way forward for you..

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have never been married. I have had 3 children. One is 35, 19 and 17 years old. All born here in London. Oh, yes I do have indefinite leave to remain with a Biometric residence permit(I think that whats it is called). I am just wondering what I need to do to get my British status officially without any tests etc. I needed a passport to travel. I had just lost my father and wanted to travel over to Jamaica for the funeral but without a current passport(British or Jamaican), I was unable to attend. I believed that by obtaining my indefinite leave to remain biometric residence card, It was be straightforward to gain my citizenship. Then apply for a Britsh passport. Now it has all become so confusing.

Thank you for your help on this matter.

So the document you have is simply a document which says that you have indefinite leave to remain issued to you by the Home Office/UKBA?

They issue these where someone applies for ILR without having a passport in to which ILR can be stamped...

I suspect I will be able to answer after your reply...

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have a biometric card issued by the Home Office/UKBA.
I believe that would have helped me to gain my British Citizenship. I needed to provide information/proof of my stay in the UK over the past 13 years.
Apparently, there were a lot of people in the same situation prior to 1983, who recieved special despensation to be naturalised. Is this true? The law has since changed. Do I have any rights to become a British Citizen with all of the red tape of the Life in the UK test, ESOL etc? Because of the longevity of my stay plus being able to vote, appear on Jury Setvice etc, essentially a fully integrated member of British society. All I am missing is a passport haha
Does the card that you refer to say that you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK?

When you applied for the card that you are referring to did you have to prove that you have been in the UK for either 10 year or 14 years?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It says Type of permit: settlement, and then Remaks: No time limit.


And yes, I did have to prove that I have been here for 14 years(sorry early I said 13).


Thanks for your question.

It’s difficult for me to tell without seeing the document that you are referring to, but the reference to settlement is effectively a reference to ILR.

If you applied for ILR then you would have had to have shown that you have been in the UK for a period of 14 years because of the uncertainty over your status. If this is what you applied for and you received confirmation of approval from the UKBA with the document that you hold then you have received ILR.

Therefore in order to naturalise as a UK citizen you would have to meet the requirements on this page:-

You would then have to apply following the instructions on the following page:-

I believe the dispensation that you were referring to were for a specific set of people and had to be made by specific application. I’m afraid I was not practising at that time and you would need to find a very, very expienced solicitor to advise you further in this regard.

I should think that even taking that in to account it would be quicker for you to apply in the above more conventional way. Once you have naturalised you will obviously be free to apply for a UK passport and have the full rights that all other UK citizens do.

Sorry it's taken so long, but yous appeared - from my perspective) to be a more confusing situation than it actually was!

Please remember to RATE my answer OK SERVICE, GOOD SERVICE OR EXCELLENT SERVICE or above if you are satisfied that you have received the correct legal advice (even if it is not the answer you wanted to hear), otherwise I do not receive any credit for answering your question.

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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So in a nutshell, being here for 40 years, having children here, being able to work, vote etc I still don't have the right to be naturalised without doing the life in the UK test etc? I have to go through the same proceedures as someone that has only been here between 2-5 years? We are all in the same criteria.

On the basis of the information you have given me you have ILR but have naturalised as a UK citizen. Therefore, yes, you would have to fulfill the normal criteria to naturalise.

The reason you had to prove that you had been in the UK for 14 years is because there was doubt over the whether you had legal leave to remain here for ten years. In order to get ILR where there is a mixture of legal leave to remain and no leave to remain one has to prove 14 years residence in the UK, which is what you did.

Had you attempted to leave the country then this issue would have cropped up when you did.

The immigration system is not perfect and has been an evolving system over the course of time that you have been here. There are many for which their status is similaly unusual.

In your case I believe the quickest and most assured way of getting a UK passport is by fulflling the normal criteria.

Sorry I could not have better news.

Please remember to rate my answer.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok Tom, thank you for your advice. It seemed that this was the case but was wondering if there was another way but it seems more straightforward to do the Life in the UK test and maybe apply though the checking service by the local council. It is a shame that there will be no carte blanche given in this case. So I presume that it may take a further 2 years to aquire a passport due to the qualifying period of stay? Tell me this is not so.

You have to have held ILR for 12 months before applying.

You then have to meet the residential criteria 5 years etc on the link above. There is also a requirement that you must not have been in breach of the immigration rules at any point of the 5 year period. If you were illegally in the UK then you would not meet this criteria, but I should think that you will be able to argue that this should be disregarded because of your unusual circumstances.

Therefore, I would instruct a solicitor to prepare a naturalisation application to submit the day after you have held ILR for 12 months.

Please remember to rate my answer.

Kind regards,

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