Here I am! So what I have been doing all this time…… As a European National I never had the natural desire or intention to obtain British citizenship. But in the light of Brexit referendum in 2016 I became more inclined to acquire British nationality and decided to take the plunge. Greek by birth I moved in UK in 1999, who had lived and worked here for at least 19 years as the spouse of a British, I was eligible to apply for citizenship. What’s more, England’s green and pleasant land has been my country too and I loved it for its beautiful landscape, culture, history and language.
Since 2017 I have gone through hell first filling forms for permanent residency (PR) just so that I can keep living and working in this country…. if I didn’t get PR card I will never have citizenship. I wanted to ensure that I have safeguarded my residence in the UK in the best possible way. I wanted a guarantee that I will be able to stay in the place I have made my home.
Over all these months, I studied for the citizenship test ‘Life in the UK: the journey to citizenship’, did some on-line practice tests and took the test at a testing centre in Oxford. Once I passed, I had to fill out all the necessary paperwork and send it (along with the required payment of over £1200) to the Home Office. So, I jumped through hoops I have to prove my existence here, they have recorded my voice, taken the biometrics of my facial features and my fingerprints. They have checked my coming and goings from this country, checked for criminal records.
I received the letter of approval In May and then waited to be invited to a citizenship ceremony.
In the process of becoming a British citizen I felt sadness to the core because of Brexit, fear with the thought of being deported and leaving my family behind humiliated having to prove myself over and over again with masses of paperwork and evidence and have taken £2000 approximately in the process (citizenship fee + travel expenses, biometric fee, postage expenses etc. I will never forget the anxiety, the stress and uncertainty I lived with.
On 18th of July attended a group ceremony and took the “Oath of Allegiance’ stand up for the national anthem and welcomed as a new British citizen. Now I have two nationalities, not just one (officially became “Greco-British”). Two allegiances and two chances to vote. Two delightful locations to share with my family, and two places to come home to.
None the less I felt proud, full of joy and great relief when I finally become British citizen and stop worrying about potential changes in immigration rule, meet requirements etc. And of course, I am able now to vote and take an active role as a British citizen!
On a personal note, Naturalising as a British citizen won’t change who I am. It might make my life easier and I will get to vote. And if I find I don’t like it I can always renounce it.
Greek by birth, British out of necessity and European by my identity of choice.
Good luck to everyone!