Big Ben.

I wasn’t a certified British citizen until the 1st February 2017. Yes, you read right.

For those who know me I was born in Zimbabwe and I came here when I was 2 years old. I wasn’t illegal.. at least I don’t think so at the time. When I came my grandma and grandad (he was white) were already here with my older sister. I came with my mum so everything was fine once we settled. So a few years later we were granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. Which gives you the right to remain in the country indefinitely without the fear of being deported.

I genuinely thought in primary school that one day a big guy would come and I’d have to get my things, then we’d have to leave but the paperwork was all good. So we thank God 20 years later I’m still here!!

I got to secondary school and this is when things started to get real. My Zimbabwean passport had expired, so I couldn’t travel anywhere that wasn’t Zimbabwe. I missed out on trips to: France, Barcelona and Rome. I knew I couldn’t do much about that so I tried not to let it bother me. I was pretty content staying in the UK and travelling within. So I found out what the initial steps are and here:

The steps you need to take to become a British Citizen. (By Gov.uk)

  1. You have to look if you are eligible for Naturalisation https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/check-if-you-can-apply
  2. How to apply https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/how-to-apply
  3. Where do you have to send your application https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/where-to-send-your-application
  4. After you have applied (Confirmation that they have received it) https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/after-youve-applied
  5. Your Citizenship Ceremony https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/citizenship-ceremonies
  6. After your Citizenship Ceremony https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/after-your-citizenship-ceremony

People have laughed at me but I learnt so much from this. Life isn’t that simple. Moving forward, I never really understood the process until I was in year 9/10 I think. It seemed like it was a pretty straight forward one until I saw the price tag, definitely one of the reasons why I will never blame my mum for us not having citizenship, it really does require so much time and effort and money of which we could not afford.

This is what I had to do.

Before you even start this application you need to do the Life in UK test and as I’m Zimbabwean I had to take an English test. I had to take an English test. It was all mad. I had to prove I could speak and understand English. I was so angry you would think being educated at Primary, Secondary, Sixth Form and I was finishing University they still needed proof. What made it even worse was that I had not graduated yet so I couldn’t use my degree as proof of English. So I had to sit an exam with Trinity College.

Step 1:

Life in the UK is £50 —https://www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test/book-life-in-uk-test

B1 CEFR is £150 —http://www.trinitycollege.com/site/?id=3220

Step 2:

With Brexit looming I felt even more pressure to sort out my citizenship issues. The future seemed so uncertain, I had to get my money together and that was just to get naturalised to become as British citizen without a passport. If you took the time to look at the fees, the AN application fee was £1236 which goes up every April 5th/6th.

This was the form I had to fill, believe it or not, it’s 30 pages long :— https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/591727/Form_AN_02-17.pdf

With the Guide I had to follow: — https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583815/AN_Guide_-_January_2017.pdf

Requirement booklet (I didn’t use this because everything was understandable):

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583821/AN_Booklet_-_January_2017.pdf

Make sure I had enough for the fees- https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/507609/Master_Fees_Leaflet_2016_03_08_v0_3.pdf

I then sent off my application on the 13th Oct 2016 via the post office (if I’m not mistaken 1st class tracking post fee is like £6.45) and I waited until it was received. In November I think I had to do my biometric registration via the post office, which meant that I had to pay £19.20. It was a long wait until the 23rd December 2016, on that day I finally heard from them to confirm that my application was accepted.

Step 3:

On the 28th December 2016 I received a letter inviting me to attend the next citizenship ceremony. WOOO it’s over almost *insert dancing emoji here*. As it was the holidays I had to wait until the 2nd week of January to book my place. The 1st of February was the day I became a citizen! After this you must apply for your passport, I’ll leave that process for another post!

If you have a biometric permit card and you are a British citizenship, you must send it back because you will be fined £1000. (Till this day I don’t know why that is… )

If you really want to know how much I had to pay including getting my passport, it comes up to a total of £1645.60 which breaks my heart.

Please don’t hesitate to ask questions!

Love Jackie

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