By Stacey Leasca
May 09, 2018
Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan Markle may soon be marrying into the British royal family, but that doesn’t mean she will automatically become a British citizen. In fact, she will have to go through the exact same process as any person hoping to gain residency in the United Kingdom.

In 2017, representatives at Kensington Palace announced that Meghan will indeed undergo the long process of becoming a U.K. citizen after she marries Prince Harry on May 19 at St. George’s Chapel.

Prince Harry’s communication’s secretary told the BBC last year that Meghan would be “compliant with immigration requirements at all times ... she intends to become a U.K. citizen and will go through the process of that, which some of you may know takes a number of years.”

Here’s exactly what being compliant with immigration really means.

Meghan will have to pass a test.

According to TIME, Meghan, like the rest of those hoping to come citizens, will have to pass a 24 question, 45-minute exam known as the “Life In The U.K” test. The test consists of questions on British customs and traditions, something that we are sure Meghan has more than a bit of knowledge on.

She must meet general requirements.

Like all would-be citizens Meghan must be:

  • Over the age of 18 (check, she’s 36)
  • Of sound mind, able to think and make decisions for yourself (we think check)
  • Have no serious criminal record (check)
  • In the U.K. for at least three years before submitting your application (she’ll have to wait this out)
  • Granted indefinite leave to stay in the U.K. or have a permanent residence card or document showing you have permanent residence (again, she’ll have to wait this one out)

She must get married in a hurry.

As TIME reported, non-EU citizens who enter the country as the fianceé of a current British citizen are required to marry within six months of entry. But, as the world knows, that’s not an issue as Harry and Meghan will become husband and wife in less than two weeks.

She'll have to decide if she wants to remain a U.S. citizen.

While one would think Meghan would want to retain her United States citizenship, she may in fact decide to give it up for one very big reason: Taxes.

The U.S. is only one of two nations that taxes its expats, meaning Meghan will have to file taxes each and every year to the IRS just like the rest of us. However, if she decides to renounce her citizenship she will no longer have to file. It’s a tough choice, but Meghan may indeed give up her passport because keeping it would mean revealing many royal financial secrets.

As the Washington Post reported, if Meghan keeps her U.S. citizenship she will have to file Form 8938, which is used to specify foreign financial assets. Having to file that form would “reveal the detail of these assets, which could include foreign trusts,” the Washington Post noted. And we doubt the Queen would be okay with that.

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