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Topic: BRP renewal vs citizenship  (Read 328 times)

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BRP renewal vs citizenship
« on: April 06, 2022, 10:44:02 AM »
Hi all, long time no see.

I'm asking this question well in advance (my current ILR BRP runs out in July 2024), but the question was kicked off by a query in another forum I'm part of.

So, basically, in the current environment where they can strip citizenship for potentially spurious reasons, is there any real benefit (beyond voting - obvs that's a big deal) for applying for citizenship over just renewing a BRP? I got ILR via the spousal route, so have been eligible to apply for citizenship for quite some time but haven't for a variety of reasons (mostly just I had enough stress coming from elsewhere for the past few years!), but though I have no intention to return to the US long-term, I haven't really been able to bring myself to do citizenship yet. However, I have heard reports that renewing ILR is far more tricky than just going for citizenship, which seems to contradict just about everything I've read about it up till now (eg - that it's like renewing a passport, basically).

I know most people here have gone ILR-citizenship pipeline, but if anyone has any recent-ish experience of renewing BRPs, that would be helpful! Also any opinions on which is more beneficial in the long term/ etc. would be much appreciated.

(NB - I'm not worried they'll find anything or whatever - I haven't done anything that would make them rescind my ILR and I'm as fully compliant as I can be in terms of both UK and US requirements. I'm just not *there* yet, if that makes sense?)

Thanks in advance!
Student visa #1 (MA): September 2006
Student visa #2 (PhD): January 2008
Married(!): October 2011
FLR(M) applied for: December 2011
FLR(M) granted: February 2012
ILR (M) applied for: 4 February 2014
ILR (M) granted: June 2014


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2022, 10:52:58 AM »
Hi all, long time no see.

I'm asking this question well in advance (my current ILR BRP runs out in July 2024), but the question was kicked off by a query in another forum I'm part of.

So, basically, in the current environment where they can strip citizenship for potentially spurious reasons, is there any real benefit (beyond voting - obvs that's a big deal) for applying for citizenship over just renewing a BRP? I got ILR via the spousal route, so have been eligible to apply for citizenship for quite some time but haven't for a variety of reasons (mostly just I had enough stress coming from elsewhere for the past few years!), but though I have no intention to return to the US long-term, I haven't really been able to bring myself to do citizenship yet. However, I have heard reports that renewing ILR is far more tricky than just going for citizenship, which seems to contradict just about everything I've read about it up till now (eg - that it's like renewing a passport, basically).

I know most people here have gone ILR-citizenship pipeline, but if anyone has any recent-ish experience of renewing BRPs, that would be helpful! Also any opinions on which is more beneficial in the long term/ etc. would be much appreciated.

(NB - I'm not worried they'll find anything or whatever - I haven't done anything that would make them rescind my ILR and I'm as fully compliant as I can be in terms of both UK and US requirements. I'm just not *there* yet, if that makes sense?)

Thanks in advance!

The main reason we suggest going for citizenship is that you just never know what the future has in store. We have so many examples on this board of people having to start from the very beginning again because their lives took an unexpected turn and they ended up out of the UK for more than 2 years.
You would no longer have to keep up with changes in the immigration rules or worry about renewing.



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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2022, 10:53:04 AM »
The main benefit of citizenship, besides being able to vote, is that it means you will always have the right to live in the UK, regardless of whether you decide to leave and move to another country for a few years.

However, if you were to move to another country while holding ILR, and you were gone for more than 2 years, your ILR would become invalid. Which means that if you wanted to move back to the UK again in the future you would have to start over from scratch with 5 years of spousal visas and FLR(M) and work your way back to ILR again… which would cost at least £10,000 in visas fees and IHS surcharges, probably more.

Also, other benefits to getting U.K. citizenship:
- not having to renew your ILR BRP every few years
- being able to travel visa-free to countries that require US citizens to get a visa

Before Brexit, another benefit to citizenship was having the right to live in any EU country without a visa, but sadly that’s not possible anymore .

Personally, I will always recommend applying for UK citizenship if you can as it gives you that added security, and I don’t see any drawbacks to doing so.


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2022, 11:42:10 AM »
Thanks both - I think you're right, the benefits (despite the stress) outweigh the rest. I'll take a closer look once the semester and exam period are over in June.

(This did send me down a massive rabbit hole regarding a long-spent traffic ticket/FPN  from when I was 17 that I remember not needing to declare that recent rewording of good character requirements make it look like you DO need to declare - I really hate the wording on these applications and have not missed it at all over the last 8 years!)
Student visa #1 (MA): September 2006
Student visa #2 (PhD): January 2008
Married(!): October 2011
FLR(M) applied for: December 2011
FLR(M) granted: February 2012
ILR (M) applied for: 4 February 2014
ILR (M) granted: June 2014


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2022, 11:54:31 AM »
Thanks both - I think you're right, the benefits (despite the stress) outweigh the rest. I'll take a closer look once the semester and exam period are over in June.

(This did send me down a massive rabbit hole regarding a long-spent traffic ticket/FPN  from when I was 17 that I remember not needing to declare that recent rewording of good character requirements make it look like you DO need to declare - I really hate the wording on these applications and have not missed it at all over the last 8 years!)

Yes, you do for citizenship. And parking tickets.  :o That's as bad as it gets though.  :)
We tried our best to remember everything then composed a declaration to that effect.



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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2022, 11:55:48 AM »
So, basically, in the current environment where they can strip citizenship for potentially spurious reasons,

Nothing has changed recently. It's been over a century since the UK has been been able to able to remove or renounce the British citizenship of those who applied to be a British citizen.

The last big change was in 2005, when the the Labour government brought in  laws so that those who are born a British citizen can also have their citizenship removed if they have another citizenship. Amended in 2014 (?) to, if the HS thinks they have a claim to another citizenship.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2022, 12:00:46 PM by Sirius »


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2022, 12:23:57 PM »
Yes, you do for citizenship. And parking tickets.  :o That's as bad as it gets though.  :)
We tried our best to remember everything then composed a declaration to that effect.



How bizarre - so you don't for SET/FLR but you do for citizenship (just to clarify)? It was points on a learner's permit (mom talking in my ear and I ran a red light I never saw in an awful Texas-loop, t-boned someone at an intersection), and over 20 years ago now.  Seeing as the application asks for *criminal* convictions (and it was just a FPN that I paid), do I just put it in the cover letter or what?

Yes, hijacking my own thread. Sorry!!  ???
Student visa #1 (MA): September 2006
Student visa #2 (PhD): January 2008
Married(!): October 2011
FLR(M) applied for: December 2011
FLR(M) granted: February 2012
ILR (M) applied for: 4 February 2014
ILR (M) granted: June 2014


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2022, 12:25:36 PM »
Nothing has changed recently. It's been over a century since the UK has been been able to able to remove or renounce the British citizenship of those who applied to be a British citizen.

The last big change was in 2005, when the the Labour government brought in  laws so that those who are born a British citizen can also have their citizenship removed if they have another citizenship. Amended in 2014 (?) to, if the HS thinks they have a claim to another citizenship.

Ah fair - I suppose the high profile cases recently have made me a little skeptical of the usefulness of the passport itself.
Student visa #1 (MA): September 2006
Student visa #2 (PhD): January 2008
Married(!): October 2011
FLR(M) applied for: December 2011
FLR(M) granted: February 2012
ILR (M) applied for: 4 February 2014
ILR (M) granted: June 2014


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2022, 12:50:54 PM »
How bizarre - so you don't for SET/FLR but you do for citizenship (just to clarify)? It was points on a learner's permit (mom talking in my ear and I ran a red light I never saw in an awful Texas-loop, t-boned someone at an intersection), and over 20 years ago now.  Seeing as the application asks for *criminal* convictions (and it was just a FPN that I paid), do I just put it in the cover letter or what?

Yes, hijacking my own thread. Sorry!!  ???

You would have gone by the wording on each application at the time you applied. There was a bit of a difference when they went from paper to online applications.
It's better to overstate something than understate. Then write the full explanation in your cover letter, yes.


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2022, 01:10:06 PM »
For me, citizenship was more than voting.  I do have kids, which will have skewed my view as well.

But I LOVE that we, as a family, all share a nationality.  We have a country where all 4 of us can live without the government's permission (any longer).  To me, that is very valuable. 

In fact, we renew all of our US passports on Monday (me and the two kids) and my daughter was asking why Daddy doesn't have a US passport and all.  And I don't like that we couldn't just pick up and move to the USA if needed.  I 100% understand why we can't, but I do look forward to the day where we do the US process and can all live either place (we hope to do 6 months USA, 6 months UK in retirement).


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2022, 01:14:06 PM »
Ah, okay, so not lost my mind then! Looks like the current (?) form has sections for warnings and so on - I guess a FPN fits in there? Suppose it's worth checking with a solicitor just to be on the safe side if I can scare up the cash. I've always sent 7-10 page cover letters, though, so I can definitely handle an explanation. Just wish I could remember any details - I know how old I was and where it was but I doubt very much I have any further info in terms of exact year/ month/ day or even how much the fine was. I managed to total the car I was driving at the time so my parents may have some information on that to help pinpoint at least a month/year (a technical total - it wasn't worth much and the damage was just more than it was worth. Still drove, though!). Wonder if the PA DMV even keeps records of things on a permit.

Anyway, when I do apply, I'll check any changes. I know how they like to update things annually and can imagine it may well look different in a few months' time.

Thanks so much!
Student visa #1 (MA): September 2006
Student visa #2 (PhD): January 2008
Married(!): October 2011
FLR(M) applied for: December 2011
FLR(M) granted: February 2012
ILR (M) applied for: 4 February 2014
ILR (M) granted: June 2014


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2022, 01:24:22 PM »
Ah, okay, so not lost my mind then! Looks like the current (?) form has sections for warnings and so on - I guess a FPN fits in there? Suppose it's worth checking with a solicitor just to be on the safe side if I can scare up the cash. I've always sent 7-10 page cover letters, though, so I can definitely handle an explanation. Just wish I could remember any details - I know how old I was and where it was but I doubt very much I have any further info in terms of exact year/ month/ day or even how much the fine was. I managed to total the car I was driving at the time so my parents may have some information on that to help pinpoint at least a month/year (a technical total - it wasn't worth much and the damage was just more than it was worth. Still drove, though!). Wonder if the PA DMV even keeps records of things on a permit.

Anyway, when I do apply, I'll check any changes. I know how they like to update things annually and can imagine it may well look different in a few months' time.

Thanks so much!

From what you've told us, you don't need a lawyer. You also don't need a long letter. Just a paragraph as you've explained here making the point that this information is true to the best of your recollection.
And yes, check the working before you apply, in case it's been tweaked again.

Mostly everyone always says that citizenship is by far the easiest application.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2022, 01:26:26 PM by larrabee »


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2022, 01:35:13 PM »
Suppose it's worth checking with a solicitor just to be on the safe side if I can scare up the cash.

It does not sound like a solicitor is needed… if you didn’t need one for your visa applications, you certainly do not need one for citizenship.

Citizenship is about the easiest application there is, with almost no required documents.

All you have to show is:
- you meet the residency requirements
- you are of good character, meaning you pay your taxes and you have no unspent convictions.
- you can provide details of 2 suitable referees

And you already know you have no unspent convictions that could cause any problems, because if you did, your ILR would have been refused (unless anything has happened since getting ILR, of course).

Quote
I've always sent 7-10 page cover letters, though, so I can definitely handle an explanation.

Cover letters really do not need to be more than about 2 or 3 paragraphs on 1 page.

In this case, you just need to write a short explanation of a few sentences in 1 paragraph saying that you can’t remember exact dates. If you can get a hold of your driving record, even if it doesn’t show anything, you can include that as well.

Quote
Anyway, when I do apply, I'll check any changes. I know how they like to update things annually and can imagine it may well look different in a few months' time.

I don’t think the citizenship application has changed in a few years… it’s a really simple, straightforward application, because it’s not a visa. They added the need for biometrics a couple of years ago but that’s about it.


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2022, 01:56:42 PM »
How bizarre - so you don't for SET/FLR but you do for citizenship (just to clarify)?

Different laws with different requirements. You were on the Immigration laws, but citizenship comes under the Nationality laws.


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Re: BRP renewal vs citizenship
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2022, 05:56:14 PM »
You don't need a lawyer, I'll write it for you (Pro Bono):
"Approximately 20 years ago I received a fixed penalty notice for a minor traffic accident.  I paid it. "
That's what mine looked like, except a little longer and more colourful,  and I got my citizenship just fine.


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