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British Citizenship gives you the right to live and work in the UK permanently, without any immigration restrictions.
Benefits of acquiring British Citizenship
Achieving British Citizenship grants you full rights to live, work, and travel as a UK citizen. British Citizens can enter and leave the country without restrictions, access benefits and healthcare, fully participate in all local elections and sponsor others.
British Citizenship can be revoked
It is extremely rare that citizenship gets revoked; therefore, obtaining British citizenship will ensure security for you and your family.
Being denied citizenship after investing so much of your life into the process can be devastating. Therefore, it is essential to prepare a quality application for naturalisation that improves chances of positive results.
What are the differences between British citizenship and ILR
Indefinite Leave to Remain status (ILR) grants the holder permission to stay in the UK without any time limit. Holders of ILR can live, work and study in the UK without seeking prior permission. They can access healthcare and benefits and also may qualify to sponsor certain family members to join them in the UK from overseas. Children born in the UK to those who hold ILR status would automatically be British by birth.
Notably, someone with ILR status can be deported and their ILR status revoked.
Most critically, if the ILR holder stays outside the UK for continuously 2 years or more, they would lose their ILR status (their status would lapse). If ILR status lapses, they may need to apply for a new visa to return to the UK. In contrast, British citizenship can be revoked only under the most serious circumstances, but it cannot be lost through any period of absence from the UK.
Routes to apply for British Citizenship
There is more than one route to apply for British Citizenship. The appropriate route will depend on your particular circumstances.
You can apply for British citizenship if:
you have resided in the UK for 5 years or more; and
you have held Indefinite Leave to Remain for 12 months or more, or
you have held EU Settled Status for 12 months or more.
Requirements to register for British Citizenship
This depends on the basis of the claim to the British Citizenship. In some cases, you may need to provide evidence of residency in the UK.
British Citizenship by naturalisation
The application for British citizenship by naturalisation is the process by which foreigners become a full citizen of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. All naturalisation applications made to the government, are considered on a discretionary basis, which means that, although the requirements to be met for naturalisation are written in the law, no applicant is considered to have the “right” to citizenship by virtue of meeting such requirements. The requirements for naturalisation are clearly defined, but each and every case will be considered individually.
Become a British Citizen by Naturalisation
You will need to:-
Check you meet the requirements, including residency requirements and good character requirements
Gather the necessary supporting evidence for your application
Seek references from two individuals who meet the requirements to act as referees for your application
Complete an online form
Submit the form and pay the relevant fee
Upload scanned copies of your supporting documents to the correct online portal
Book and attend a “biometric appointment”
Cooperate with the Home Office in case of any requests for additional information during the decision making process, if applicabl
On receipt of your approval you will be issued with a Citizenship invitation letter – you must arrange a Citizenship Ceremony as soon as possible and within 3 months of the letter. You will not be a British Citizen until you have completed your ceremony
Attend the ceremony, where you will be required to swear an oath/affirmation of allegiance and you will be given your certificate of naturalisation
Eligibility requirements for British Citizenship by naturalisation
You must meet the following criteria:
Have lived legally in the UK for at least five years
Have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for at least 12 months
Meet the residency requirements
Have proof of language proficiency
Have a good character
Plan to live permanently in the UK
For details on these requirements, our immigration experts are happy to assist you.
I was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. When can I apply for British citizenship?
Unless you are married to a British citizen, you will need to wait 12 months from the date your ILR was granted to apply for naturalisation as a British Citizen. You must also have lived in the UK for 5 years, prior to the application date to be eligible to apply.
Those married to British Citizens can apply for naturalisation as soon as they hold ILR status, they must also have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the application date, to be eligible to apply.
How to apply for British Citizenship
Overseas applicants can now apply online. You will need to fill out an online form and answer all questions that are relevant to your application. You can edit and download the application before it is submitted. Our team can provide you with advice on the best options available to you and your family.
British Citizenship application form
The application form for British Citizenship depends on the type of citizenship application you are making. Most British citizenship applications are processed online. As an applicant, you should check the type of citizenship application you require and then complete the form online. Payment would also be processed online, and you would be able to access a different portal to upload supporting documents and book a biometric appointment.
Some application forms are still available to complete on paper and submit by post. For example, the Form AN is the correct form for naturalization and the form MN1 is the correct form to Register a minor child. Applicants are discouraged from using the postal application, unless necessary.
What are the documents required to obtain British citizenship?
You will need to provide the following documents with your application (this is not an exhaustive list):
Your passport/travel document and valid identity card (if applicable)
Proof you have Indefinite Leave to Remain
Evidence of your English language proficiency
Your Life in the UK test pass certificate
Your marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable)
P60s for the previous six years, or five years if married to a British citizen
Payslips (if P60s do not cover the whole period)
Self-employed applicants require self-assessment statements for each year of the six /five years
Our team can assist you with putting the required documentation together and ensure nothing is missed.
British Citizenship fees
The Home Office fee for naturalisation is £1,330 (including the £80 citizenship fee). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.
There are no priority services available for Naturalisation.
The application can take as long as 6 months to be decided, but applications are often decided much sooner. Once approved, you will receive your approval letter and shortly after will receive a citizenship invitation letter. You will need to arrange a citizenship ceremony at your local registry as soon as possible. Ceremonies are subject to availability. You will only become a British citizen once you have attended your ceremony and received your certificate of naturalization. You can apply for your first British passport once the process of naturalisation is complete.
Referee for your British Citizenship Application
One referee must be a person of any nationality who is a professional, such as a doctor or minister of religion. A lawyer can act as a referee, but this must not be the person representing you in your application. The second referee must be a British citizen and also either a British citizen or over 25 years old.
Refusal of your British Citizenship Application
Applications for British citizenship can be refused for many reasons. One of the most common is that the application form has been filled in incorrectly and/or the correct documentation has not been supplied.
If your application has been refused, our immigration lawyers will examine the reason why and provide expert advice on the best plan of action.This could include resubmitting the application, reconsideration application or seeking a Judicial Review.
Refugees can acquire British Citizenship
Yes, a refugee who meets the requirements can apply for British citizenship. Strict requirements apply for naturalisation, particularly with regard to prior breaches of immigration history, so the individual’s circumstances must be reviewed carefully in case their immigration history might affect their application or eligibility.
Dual citizenship is allowed
Yes, British laws allow all citizens to hold another nationality or nationalities.
British citizenship and the “90 days rule”
As a qualifying condition for naturalization as a British citizen, you cannot have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days in the 12 months prior to your naturalisation application.
British Citizenship – other routes
Requirements for British Citizenship by birth
If you were born in the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983, you would be a British citizen by birth. If you were born inside the United Kingdom after 1 January 1983, you would be a British citizen by birth, if at least one of your parents was a British citizen or settled in the UK when you are born.
Mandatory British Citizenship by descent requirements
A British citizen by descent is someone who was registered as a British citizen or who was born outside the UK to a British parent. If a British citizen by descent’s child is born overseas, they cannot normally pass their citizenship directly on, they may need to Register the child for British citizenship, if eligible. If the other parent is a British citizen otherwise than by descent, for example, someone British by birth, naturalisation or adoption, then that parent should be able to pass their citizenship directly on to the child.
Routes for British Citizenship registration
It may be possible for adults to register as a British citizen on the following basis:-
Born before 1 January 1983 to a British mother;
You have another form of British nationality.
Adults and children may be eligible to Register if:
They were born in the UK; and
Neither of their parents was British or settled; and
Lived the first 10 years of their lives in the UK; and
In any of the first 10 years, have not spend more than 90 days outside the UK.
A non-British child (under 18) may become eligible to register as a British citizen if they were born in the United Kingdom and one of their parents has been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain/Settled status.
A non-British child born outside the UK to a parent who has been granted ILR may also be able to apply for registration in limited circumstances.
The Home Office fee for adult registration is £1,206 (including the £80 Citizenship fee). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.
The Home Office fee for child registration is £1,012 (an additional £80 Citizenship fee would be charged if the minor turned 18 during the application process). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.
There are no priority services available.
The application can take as long as 6 months to be decided, but applications are often decided much sooner.