How to become a British citizen | FT

FT statistics journalist Federica Cocco is from Italy but wanted to become a British citizen to be able to vote. Here she shares her survival guide to the long and complicated process – the costs, the paperwork, the pomp and ceremony.

I’m federica i’m from italy and couple of years ago i decided to apply for british citizenship in reality i’ve been meaning to do it for a long time because i just wanted to be able to vote in a country i’ve been here for 15 years and it’s taken me a long while to save the money and get my act together to apply for citizenship but two years ago i just thought

It’s now or never and that’s when i started the first thing i did was to obtain permanent residence i sourced two forms of evidence to prove that i worked in the uk and then two more to prove that i lived here and i did this for each year in total i provided five years of evidence that’s all you need in truth i’ve been living here for many more years and then

Within a year of obtaining this you can apply for citizenship as it turns out i had turn away loads of stuff that was that would have been really useful so it was a bit of a quest to put together enough stuff to prove it but i managed easily work contracts tenancy agreements bills council tax bank statements p 45 p 60 s certificates from universities and then if

Anything is missing you just have to be creative that’s probably the gourmet burger in greenwich 2011 was a bit of a gap because i used to live with my ex-boyfriend and he owned the flat paid the bills and so the residence was a bit difficult to prove so i had to go back to greenwich speak to the gp got a letter from the council to prove that i voted and at one

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Point i remember thinking that actually my cat was better had more evidence more documents to prove its residents because she’d been registered at the vet at the same vet since 2009 and had gone there twice a year i mean the council isn’t too far from here so i think i could just put in a charlie and just carry it probably even sent them too much in the end they

Accepted it and it took them about one month to send me everything including my residence permit so after being officially recognised as resident i decided to apply to become a british national online but if the internet is not your thing you can also do it by post basically asks you to repeat all the information that you’ve provided where you’ve worked where

You’ve studied where you registered your permanent residence card number loads the details of your documents your parents whether you’ve had any convictions whether you have ever been involved supported or encouraged terrorist activities or whether you’ve committed any crimes against humanity fair enough but wait there’s more you need to find two referees at

Least one of them has to hold a british passport and the other one has to have what they call professional standing so they need to have an official job like a doctor or an accountant or a civil servant then you must list all the countries that you visited in the past five years how do i find this out i went on instagram to check where i have posted citizenship

Application through selfies on instagram of course you can’t become a uk national unless you’ve passed the life in the uk test i studied from the book but i found some of the questions a bit quirky the answers can also be a bit outdated or even factually incorrect i work with statistics so i know that nearly half of the population doesn’t belong to a religion not

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A quarter as data in the book or that it’s not true to say that 10% of the population has at least one grandparent born abroad at last count it was actually 25% so it’s probably even more now i obviously know that a quintessential traits of a brit is to laugh at themselves rather than have fish and chips every lunchtime okay so it’s been a couple of months maybe

More than a couple but i finally plucked up the courage to pay for my citizenship and it cost me one thousand three hundred fifty pounds because it includes the cost of the ceremony even though i haven’t actually been accepted yet for citizenship so the next step is to book an appointment at this uk visa and citizenship application services because recently

They’ve changed it previously used to be able to go to your local council and have all your documents checked now i have to go to one of these place so let’s see where they are so interestingly and conveniently there’s a couple of places that are reasonably close to me so i could just pop out on my lunch break i guess unfortunately the places are close to me

Actually are classed as premium lounges or vip services and therefore cost 260 pounds to book i’m not prepared to spend that amount of money now the alternative is to go to croydon the core service point and that’s actually free when you go to the appointment it’s a bit like when you’re checking out a flight on ryanair and they add all these extra services so

You can also have your documents translated or you can have an interpreter in case you don’t speak english which is a bit odd considering that one of the key requirements for citizenship is to be able to speak english now i have to upload my documents online and then have to croydon which i don’t often go to so i finally found the office where they’re gonna


Check my documents the obvious that it’s a government contractors on facebook here i am it’s definitely this one so it looks like i’ll be here for a while i’ve got this niggling feeling that i’ve forgotten something a bit like when you’re going to the airport and you know you must have forgotten something well i think i could have everything here in my backpack

Possibly more than i need since a you referendum the number of applications for british citizenship from eu nationals is skyrocketed so my application was accepted next up the ceremony where i have to affirm my allegiance to the country the queen her descendants and her kogi’s just kidding so sixteen years ago i moved to london here in hackney and it’s taking

Me that long to become a british citizen that’s mainly my fault is taking me a long time to get my act together and although it was a bureaucratic hassle sometimes it was really a walk in the park compared to some other people that were in the room with me mostly non european migrants i could see that they were much more emotional about the process than i was

But now i’ve got my certificate and what i’m gonna do next is apply for a british passport hopefully that will take me less than sixty years and then finally i will cast my first vote you

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How to become a British citizen | FT By Financial Times

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