If you’re thinking of moving to Gibraltar for work, or as a great place to bring up your young family, or because it’s just as great for a relaxed retirement, then you’re going to need to know about how to become a citizen of Gibraltar.
As a general rule, even during this transition period post-Brexit, if you have a passport from an EU or EEA country, then you will have no problems living and working in Gibraltar. Of course, this might change during the course of the negotiations between Britain and the EU in the forthcoming year, so it is worth keeping a close eye on any changes in regulations. Keeping in close touch with HABiKONS will also help – we will help you find somewhere to live and also give you guidance on the documentation you will need to both live and work here!
If you are an EU citizen, then you can live and work in Gibraltar for six months without needing a visa. If you plan to stay longer than six months, you will need to apply for a Gibraltar visa followed by a five year residence permit.
If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU, then you can ordinarily stay in Gibraltar up to six months (and, of course, there may be requirements for a visa as well as your passport in order to enter Gibraltar in any case). You will also need a Gibraltar work permit in order to be allowed to take up work here. You can only apply for a work permit once a company has agreed to employ you and then the application is processed by the Department of Employment in Gibraltar.
The Civil Status and Registration Office in Gibraltar issues residence permits. When the permit is issued, it’s a really good idea to then apply for a Gibraltar ID card which is essential for a number of administrative issues locally, including registering yourself and your family with the Gibraltar Health Authority, and, if you have children, registering them with the local schools.
In order to obtain a Gibraltar residence permit, you must be able to submit the following documents:
- A valid passport
- Proof of accommodation
- A photograph (and there are specific rules on these so make sure you check carefully in the guidance notes that come with the application forms!)
- Proof of income
- Proof you have paid the registration fee
- Information about your family members
- A completed application form.
Where to apply to become a Gibraltar citizen?
The first port of call when you are applying for Gibraltarian citizenship is the Civil Status and Registration Office in Secretary’s Lane in Gibraltar. EU citizens are required to have lived in Gibraltar for five years in order to be able to apply for citizenship and for non-EU citizens, this period may be longer. As regulations may vary during the course of this important Brexit year, it is a good idea to contact the Civil Status and Registration Office at the Government of Gibraltar to check the rules.
There will be an application form for Gibraltar citizenship to complete and a number of documents that will be required, including proof of where you have been residing and that you have continued access to accommodation in Gibraltar, as well as the correct work and valid residence permits.
Of course, once you have your citizenship (and you have duly celebrated!), you will need to apply for a Gibraltar passport, which again, will be issued by the Passport Office, part of the Civil Status and Registration Office in Secretary’s Lane.
It is important to keep checking that the regulations have not changed. Gibraltar is a UK Overseas Territory and as such, is subject to any rule changes that the UK government may wish to impose on immigration rules.