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Increasingly tougher rules

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First of all a big thanks to everyone who has helped provide invaluable info which has helped my Thai partner and myself (Uk citizen) get to where we are now.

My girlfriend has ILR and at present we are not married, we have been living together 8 years. She entered the UK back in April 2011 on an unmarried partner visa and under the old rules she is eligible to apply for citizenship in April 2016 providing she completes the B1 speaking and listening test.

I am hearing more and more talk about stricter immigration policies, especially with the next general election looming. In the last 3 years it is even harder to get in and now there are additional language qualifications that need satisfying.

I was wondering whether it would be better/easier to sign the paperwork and just get married as it's over 3 years now. Is it possible that the rules for citizenship could be changed even if a new party wins the election? Could previous rules be reversed?

Thanks for your help

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Under the current rules the only difference getting married would make is that the wife, husband or civil partner of a British citizen can apply for citizenship once they have lived in the UK for at least three years and have ILR.

All others, including the unmarried partners of British citizens, need to have lived in the UK for at least 5 years and have held ILR for at least one year.

So, as she has lived in the UK for more than 3 years and has ILR, were you to marry she could apply for citizenship as soon as she has met the speaking and listening requirement and not have to wait until she had lived in the UK for 5 years.

(As I'm sure you know, but others may not, as she passed the LitUK test for her ILR she does not have to do so again for citizenship; but as the speaking and listening requirement for ILR did not exists when she obtained her ILR she does now have to complete this for her citizenship application.)

Assuming, of course, that she meets all the other requirements; see British citizenship basics.

As for what changes any future government may make; your guess is as good as mine or anyone else's.

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I would only marry if I'd feel right about it or if forced to marry due stricter legislation. If she meets all the requirements I'd wait 5 years. New rules would take some time to be agreed upon, announced and put into force. So there should be plenty of time to get married if the government would announce new rules tomorrow.

Nb: We married last summer, after my girlfriend migrated to my country (NL) two years ago. Luckily marriage is not a requirement for partnermigration and neither are there any shorter procedures when it comes to naturalisation. So wevdid not feel any pressure to get married due to silly migration or naturalisation rules. She will be eligable for naturalisation 3 years after migration to NL.

Edited by Donutz
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Sections 40 and 41 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 have not come into force but have not been repealed, so Labour might revive the plan to make citizenship more difficult. Among the changes are that

(1) Spouses must intend to reside in the UK after they naturalise (or be abroad by reason of service for the Crown, an international organisation or a British companies). Non-spouses already have to have such an intention.

(2) The qualifying residence period will be increased from 5 years (non-spouse) / 3 years (spouse) to 8 years / 6 years for those not meeting the active citizenship requirements.

Theresa May said the 'active citizenship' requirements would be too complicated administratively, but that could just result in no-one satisfying the active citizenship requirements.

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