I am happy to say that my application for citizenship got sent off on Friday and it's on the way to the Home Office.
The application itself was pretty straightforward. The only part that was a bit of a pain was having to account for all my time spent outside the UK. That's my fault because I should have been keeping track of that in a spreadsheet as I went. Instead I ended up having to go through my passports and track it that way, which was very time consuming, but I got there in the end.
I decided to use the National Checking Service so that I wouldn't have to send off my passport and they also go through the application to make sure its filled out properly.
I had my appointment last Tuesday (it took about 3 weeks to get it and it costs £45) and it didn't last long because they wouldn't accept one of my referees. For the application you need to have two have people to say that they have known you for the past 3 years and they have to fit this criteria.
5.1 One referee should be a person of any nationality who has professional standing, eg
minister of religion, civil servant, or a member of a professional body e.g. accountant or
solicitor (who is not representing you with this application). The other referee must normally be the holder of a British citizen passport and either a professional person or over the age of 25.
Both should declare that:-
• they are not a relative, solicitor or agent of the applicant, or related to the other referee;
• they are not employed by the Home Office;
• they have not been convicted of an imprisonable offence during the last 10 years (unless the conviction has become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974);
• they have known the applicant personally for more than 3 years;
• they are willing to give full details of their knowledge of the applicant;
• they will advise the Home Office of any reason why the applicant should not be naturalised.
I decided to have my wonderful friend Mary Ivers, who has known me since I first arrived here in London, as one of my referee and then I needed someone else who was a "professional". Matthew's uncle is a police offer so we thought to use him. I was a bit unsure that he would be suitable because I know him through marriage. Matthew's uncle thought that since it was through marriage that it would be ok. However it wasn't and they wouldn't accept him.
Of course I was gutted when they told me at the appointment. Too gutted to feel smug that I was right and that he was going to be considered a relative.
The woman processing my application was really nice about it and said that if I could find someone else to sign the form by Friday they wouldn't charge me again. Which was great, because if I wasn't able to find someone else by Friday I would have to wait another month for the next appointment.
Luckily enough I did have another person to sign the form and I was able to return on Friday to submit it.
I returned on Friday and the woman who was helping me again was very nice. The only thing that went wrong was that I forgot one page of the application! Thankfully I live just two minutes away from the office and she let me run home and get it! I guess they won't print anything off for you.
So, the application was checked and sent off and now the waiting game begins. It could take 2 months it could take 6 months. The next steps after the application is processed and approved is having a citizenship ceremony. There's the possibility that the application isn't accepted, but I can't imagine why it wouldn't be.
Fingers crossed that I won't be waiting too long.