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Nationality Applications

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time taken for an application for British nationality to be processed; and if he will establish procedures to absolve the need for applicants who are visa nationals to obtain re-entry visas should they travel abroad.

The average time taken to complete applications for citizenship granted in November 1987 was six months for registration and 15 months for naturalisation. But the ending on 31 December 1987 of certain registration entitlements has resulted in a very large number of applications and it is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the average time likely to be taken to complete applications now being received.We are not prepared to exclude visa nationals from the re-entry visa requirement purely on the ground that they are applicants for British citizenship. However, nationals of Pakistan and Commonwealth citizens normally requiring visas who are settled in the United Kingdom, including applicants for British nationality, do not need a re-entry visa before travelling abroad, and can obtain a passport stamp to confirm that they are exempt from the visa requirement.