Meghan could still get UK citizenship ‘under special circumstances’ despite Britain snub
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Meghan recently claimed “it was good to be home” in the US after spending the last decade living abroad — even though she started her bid to become a UK citizen shortly after her 2018 wedding. She has since returned to her home state of California, where she grew up, this time accompanied by her son Archie and husband Prince Harry. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have just bought their first house together in Santa Barbara and are planning to set up their new charitable venture Archewell from the US.
Indeed, many doubt they will return to the UK for anything other than a fleeting visit despite insisting they wanted Frogmore Cottage as their British base earlier this year.
Royal commentator Lady Colin Campbell also told Fox News this week: “I think if they try to come back to this country, they will not be welcomed.
“I think there is a distinct possibility if they don’t make their great fortune that they were hoping to make in Hollywood, they’re going to have to move on somewhere else.”
Many speculate that Meghan has renounced her bid to become a UK citizen as well, especially as she will now not have spent sufficient time within Britain to qualify if she were to go the traditional route to become a British citizen.
However, tax expert David Lesperance told Express.co.uk that she could still be granted citizenship because of her “special circumstances” linking her to the monarchy.
He explained: “Any [Home Office] minister at any time could say, ‘well we’re going to waive the physical presence requirement, we’re going to waive the number of years, because that person is married to Harry’.”
This power was granted to the Government under the British Nationality Act, according to Mr Lesperance.
Meghan acquired a ‘Leave to Remain’ status through her British husband for two and half years shortly after her wedding to Harry.
However, she would only have been able to apply for an ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’, which is permanent residence, after five years in the UK.
Meghan could also have applied to become a naturalised UK citizen after five years.
Yet, both of these time requirements are subject to discretion at the hands of Home Office officials.
Mr Lesperance explained that, in some circumstances, these conditions could be waived.
He said: “Somehow [the applicant will] have ingratiated themselves with the Government of the day and managed to get UK citizenship to overcome that requirement.”
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Traditionally, strict immigration rules stated she could not live outside of the UK for more than 90 days and still continue her application — and she is believed to have spent the majority of her time out of Britain since she and Harry first went to Canada for a holiday back in November.
A Government source then told The Sun that the couple’s North America move meant the public were questioning their “strong commitment to the UK and intention to live here”.
Shortly after their announcement that they would be stepping back from their duties, Harry issued a heartfelt speech to the British public promising he and his wife would stay loyal to his country of birth.
He said: “What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.”
He added: “I will continue to be the same man who holds the country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me.”
Yet, a source claimed around the same time as Harry made his speech that Meghan had already “given up her bid to become a British citizen”.
Royal watchers have since turned their attention to Harry’s citizenship in the US, as he reportedly will not be looking for dual citizenship or to become a green card holder any time soon.
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