For many foreign nationals, obtaining Isle of Man citizenship can be the main goal when then decide to relocate here for business or employment purposes. Like in other jurisdictions, citizenship is applied for after a minimum number of years spent in the Isle as a resident, however, the special status of this self-governing British Crown dependency should be taken into account when applying for citizenship.
If you want to move to the Isle of Man permanently and start a business here, our Isle of Man company formation agents can help you. Reach below to find out more about naturalization as a citizen, and reach out to us if you have additional questions. While the general rules apply to all foreign nationals living in the Isle, some relocation cases may need special assistance. We encourage you to reach out to us if this is the case.
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Does obtaining Isle of Man citizenship mean that one is a UK citizen?
Yes. Becoming an Isle of Man citizen is the equivalent of registration as a British Citizen. The British Government is the one governing the rules of citizenship and naturalization and the applicable law is the British Nationality Act of 1981, which also applies in the dependency that is the Isle of Man.
Naturalization is the process through which a foreign national, who was not born a British citizen, can obtain citizenship in the Isle of Man. In turn, the applicant will have the same rights as one who was born a British citizen, meaning that he or she will be able to apply for a passport.
For the naturalization process, you need to legally reside in the Isle of Man (and/or other British Islands) for a period of 5 years, hold Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and fulfill other necessary criteria, such as demonstrating good character.
To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the Isle of Man as a partner of a settled person, you generally need to have resided in the Isle of Man for at least 60 months. Settled individuals include British and Irish citizens, those with indefinite leave to remain, and qualifying EU citizens and ECAA workers/businesspeople. ILR is a crucial element of obtaining citizenship in Isle of Man through naturalization.
Additional requirements include a financial test, where your partner’s income, your own income from lawful employment or self-employment, cash savings, pension income, and certain non-employment income can be used to meet the minimum threshold. Specific documentation is necessary to demonstrate the source of funds. It is advisable for non-residents to open a bank account in Isle of Man to obtain citizenship and pass the financial test.
You also need to be fluent in English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic language. Knowing the Manx language is not enough to meet the requirements for naturalization and therefore, for obtaining citizenship in Isle of Man.
Our lawyers can give you more details about the governing laws concerning the naturalization process.
How do you obtain Isle of Man citizenship?
Two important criteria apply to those who wish to become Isle of Man or British citizens: the time spent in the Isle as well as their command of the English language. The list below includes the most important issued that should be taken into account:
- time lawfully spent in the Isle of Man: one can apply for recognition as a British citizen through naturalization only after having lived in the Isle of Man for at least 5 years;
- English language knowledge: all applicants who wish to obtain Isle of Man citizenship are expected to demonstrate that they can understand, read and write in English; they prove their competency through a degree, if they are nationals of an English-speaking country or after taking a Home Office approved English test;
- Life in the UK and Islands: in addition to having English knowledge, the applicant must also pass a test that refers to life in the UK;
- Fee: all applicants are subject to an application fee, a ceremony fee and a biometric fee for having their data collected and enrolled;
The fees that were in place at the time this article was written are the following:
- £1349.20: for naturalization as an individual married to a British citizen as well as for those who are naturalized but not married to a British citizen;
- £1031.20: for the registration as a British citizen of a minor (submitted by an adult);
- £99.20: for the registration as an adult British citizen under Sections 4(G) and S4©.
Our team can give you more details about the special sections of the British Nationality Act referring to becoming a British national at birth (for example, when the mother had been married to the father at the time of the applicant’s birth).
Registration for obtaining citizenship in Isle of Man
Registration is a process where a person applies to become a British citizen. It is generally seen as simpler than naturalization.
Registration applications include cases where someone was born in a foreign country to a British parent but does not automatically become a citizen. It is primarily intended for minors and individuals who already possess a different type of British nationality status other than British citizenship. Registration also grants individuals citizenship in Isle of Man.
Registration for citizenship is not necessary for opening a company in the Isle of Man. The country allows non-residents and foreign individuals to establish and own companies in the jurisdiction.
Citizenship by investment in Isle of Man
Investments in specific programs or initiatives in the country offer potential pathways towards obtaining citizenship in Isle of Man.
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is for high-net-worth individuals who want to invest a minimum of 2,000,000 pounds in the Isle of Man. You can apply with your own funds or your partner’s funds, following specific documentation requirements. The Tier 1 (Investor) program can be an attractive option for individuals looking to set up a company in the Isle of Man due to its focus on high-net-worth investors.
The visa allows you to stay for up to 3 years and 4 months initially, with an option to extend for 2 more years. During your stay, you can invest in Isle of Man government bonds or shares of registered companies.
Working and studying are permitted, but restrictions apply to certain professions and accessing public funds. After meeting specific investment thresholds, you may be eligible for the indefinite leave to remain and eventually, you can obtain citizenship in Isle of Man.
If you wish to know more about this visa and how you can open a company in Isle of Man, please contact our team.
Do you want to know how you will be taxed according to your type of income? Our accountants in the Isle of Man provide services for both companies and individuals and can answer your questions about the standard personal income tax rates (according to your residency). We can also give you details about the allowances that are available according to your case (couples, single parents, etc.).
What are the steps required for the citizenship application?
Foreign nationals who wish to obtain Isle of Man citizenship, as in British citizens, should know that the general timeline for the process is the following:
- Submitting the application with the Isle of Man Nationality Office;
- Providing the biometric data;
- Being subject to the security and background checks;
- Undergoing the good character verifications;
- Awaiting the decision;
- Receiving the citizenship certificate;
- Attending the naturalization ceremony.
Because the process for obtaining citizenship in the Isle of Man includes sending the documents to the UK (the Home Office), it can be a lengthier one. In most cases, the naturalization ceremony (to which the applicant is invited to) will take place within 9 months following the submission of the application. During the ceremony, the individual takes a pledge to respect the democratic values of the United Kingdom and be loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Once the citizenship certificate is in the applicant’s possession, one can apply for a British passport.
Here are some key demographic facts about immigration and citizenship in the Isle of Man:
- The population of the Isle of Man has increased by 0.9% since 2016, reaching a total of 84,069 residents, according to a census conducted by the government;
- In 2021, the proportion of the resident population in the Isle of Man born outside of the Isle of Man, United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland has increased from 8.3% in 2016 to 10.3%;
- There were 4,728 residents in the Isle of Man holding citizenship from a European Union country, in 2021;
- Around 81.3% of the population from 2021 considered the Isle of Man as their main and permanent place of living.
If you are interested in obtaining residence, followed by Isle of Man citizenship, contact us for more information. Our team is ready to answer your questions concerning relocation for business or employment purposes, as well as moving to the Isle of Man to reunite with family members.