Today is a very exciting day for me. Why? I’m officially British! I just got word that my application for British citizenship—which I submitted way back in November and have been waiting very (im)patiently to hear back on ever since—has been approved. I’m Britain’s newest citizen, and I couldn’t be happier!
Ever since I found out, I have been bouncing off the walls with excitement. After six long years of living in London, I finally have peace of mind about my status in the country. Given how many times the rules have changed (including the introduction of a new English language exam for the citizenship process on the very day of my six-year anniversary in the UK), it’s a huge relief to know that I will not have to worry about the ever-moving goalposts anymore.
In order to officially complete the British citizenship process, I will have to swear an oath to the Queen. On Wednesday morning I’m heading over to my local council’s town hall in London for an official ceremony with my fellow new Brits. If I don’t screw it up, I will come away with a shiny new certificate declaring my official status as a subject of Queen and crown. As an American, this act seems a bit strange, but I didn’t put in my time in London just to back out now.
And speaking of my time, let’s look at just how long it took to become a British citizen:
– 6 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day of living in London
– 2 visas (one for 2 years, one for 3 years)
– 1 year of Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
And even more than that, let’s look at how much it cost to become a British citizen:
– £400 for my first visa under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)
– £820 for my second visa under the Tier 1 scheme
– £1,377 for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
– £874 for citizenship
– A grand total of £3,471 (and that’s not counting accountant fees to prove my self-employment income, which rang in at another £1,000). Let it never be said that I didn’t really, really want to get British citizenship.
Sadly, others that want to do the same now face much stricter immigration policies, as the visas I came in on no longer exist and it has become much more difficult for people to move to the UK to work (yes, I know that the US is just as bad). I feel fortunate to have gotten in while I could.
And perhaps the best part about becoming British is that for the first time in six long years, there is no longer a restriction on the number of days I can spend outside the UK. Then again, now that I’m British, maybe I should start spending a bit more time in Blighty. I’ve certainly earned the right to do so!