One of the things I took into consideration before moving to the UK was the cost of becoming a citizen. This is obviously a long-term consideration, but when I make a decision, I’m in it for the long-haul. I realize that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) offers a number of different visa types and variations – all with different fee schemes, and is also known for raising their fees every few years. So this breakdown is only going to be accurate for my particular circumstances (Tier 1 Visa – General), but will give other working professionals (All Tier 1s and Tier 2s, except the Tier 1 Entrepreneurs) a rough estimate of the fees and time required to become a citizen of the UK:
[Costs Updated in Nov 2015]
|Date||Description||Cost (GBP)||Cost (USD)*|
|Nov. 2010||Initial Tier 1 Visa Application||£1,200.00**||$1,860.00|
|Nov. 2010||Finger Printing and Retina Scans||£30.00**||$46.50|
|Oct. 2012||Tier 1 Visa Renewal Application||£1,545.00||$2,394.75|
|Oct. 2012||Biometric Residence Permit||£19.30||$29.92|
|Nov. 2015||SET(0) Permission to Settle in the UK (aka “Indefinite Leave to Remain”) Application||£1,500.00||$2,325.00|
|Nov. 2015||Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK Test||£50.00||$77.50|
|Nov. 2016||Citizenship Application||£1005.00||$1,557.75|
* £1.00 GBP = $1.55 USD
** Rounded (I couldn’t track down the exact figures)
As you can see it costs over £5,000 over 6-years to become a citizen.
What does UK citizenship get you?
A lot of folks, especially Americans, ask me why I would even want citizenship from another country. My answer is simple: opportunity. Citizenship is more than just a passport. As a citizen, I would be able to vote, be able to qualify for better home loans (interest rates are a little higher for non-permanent residents), and enjoy the freedom of movement provided by the EU/European Economic Area (EEA). This allows EU/EEA citizens to live and work in other EU/EEA countries. Even if I don’t end up working in continental Europe, with a UK passport there would be nothing stopping me from enjoying a blissful 4-months in the South of France***.
So the question really is whether or not this opportunity is worth £5,500. For me, it is.
*** US Citizens can only visit the EU for 2 non-consecutive periods of 90-days within a 12-month period.