British Citizenship by Marriage
Acquiring British citizenship by marriage is one of the common ways of moving to the United Kingdom. Even though it is a viable option, the process of becoming a citizen via this route is long and difficult. There are tons of details the person has to know to make it to the finish line, and this article will cover the main and the absolutely vital moments as well as answer some of the most popular questions regarding the topic.
- Can you get British citizenship by marriage?
- How to get British citizenship through marriage?
- Eligibility requirements for British citizenship by marriage.
- Indefinite leave to remain status.
- Residency requirements.
- How much does it cost?
- How long does it take?
- Can I apply for British citizenship by marriage if my partner has died?
- How can we help?
Can you get British citizenship by marriage?
First things first, it is necessary to outline that it is possible to settle in the United Kingdom by marrying a native person or by being in a civil partnership with them. For people who are wondering: “Can you get British citizenship by marriage?”, the answer is positive. Such a route exists and it might be the best way to become a citizen for couples, in which one of the partners is from the UK. However, the marriage itself does not provide the person with citizenship automatically.
How to get British citizenship through marriage?
The only option to acquire the desired document is to make an official application. It is possible to apply both from the United Kingdom itself or from overseas territories, and there are two options available: the person can either fill out the required form online or send all the documents in paper to the corresponding local department of the authorities.
Even though the form may be filled out online, it is impossible to acquire the status remotely: at least one visit to the department is required, as the authorities will need to collect the biometrics. Moreover, as with most visas and other residency documents, the application process may require an additional interview.
As already mentioned in the previous section, citizenship by marriage in the UK is not a status that is guaranteed to all married couples. There are some eligibility criteria that have to be met. These criteria and requirements deserve a separate section.
Eligibility requirements for British citizenship by marriage
As any other route of becoming a citizen in the United Kingdom, this way of obtaining the status is difficult. The main obstacle in the way to a happy life in the UK is the set of requirements that the person has to comply with in order to get approved. The applicant is obliged to:
- be at least eighteen years old;
- have the Indefinite Leave to Remain status;
- have a clean criminal record;
- have at least three years of UK residence in the past;
- pass the Life in the UK exam to prove the cultural knowledge;
- pass an English exam.
Indefinite leave to remain status
Essentially, UK citizenship through marriage is the third step on the route for settling down there permanently. The first one is the visa, while the second one is the Indefinite Leave to Remain status that was mentioned in the previous section. For the reviewed case, it is not relevant, which visa did the person have while initially entering the United Kingdom: all that matters is that they have the ILR status.
The requirements to obtain this status are rather similar to the ones mentioned above. The main difference is that the period of staying in the United Kingdom required to get approved is shorter, although the person is not allowed to leave the country for more than ninety days over the course of each year.
As its name implies, this status allows the person to stay in the country for any period of time, as long as they do not break any rules associated with it. The interactions with the immigration commissions are less frequent on this level, although the person still has some restrictions.
As mentioned, the person is required to have at least three years of prior residence in the United Kingdom, but it is not as simple as that: there are some additional rules to follow. Firstly, the ILR status that the applicant is required to have should be valid for at least a year before the application itself is made.
The second requirement is a result of the previous one. The person must not leave the United Kingdom for more than ninety days over the course of the past year. It is a requirement for the ILR status as well, so failing to meet it will void the status and consequently result in not being able to meet one of the most essential requirements for citizenship.
In addition to that, people who have been outside of the United Kingdom for more than 270 days over the course of three years before the application will also have their applications denied. Once again, if you have resided in the UK for three years with an Indefinite Leave to Remain status, this rule should not bother you, as it is a requirement for the status itself as well.
The last requirement in this category relates to the legislation in the country. It states that the person must not have broken any laws during their legal stay in the United Kingdom. Having a clean criminal record is absolutely vital for obtaining the status.
How much does it cost?
As with all other permitting documents, there are multiple fees involved. The main fee associated with the process is 1,300 pounds, and there are several additional fees around it. Firstly, it will be necessary to pay twenty pounds for the biometric data collection procedure. Secondly, it is important to know that the English exam required to prove the knowledge of the language is paid as well.
The fee for reviewing the application itself depends on the way of performing it. For online procedures, it is seventy-five pounds, while people who are filing the documents in paper will be charged eighty-five pounds.
How long does it take?
In each case, the time frame of reviewing the application varies. Most commonly, it is reviewed within six months, although there are situations in which this process takes longer. There are both modifiable and non-modifiable factors involved. The former includes the number of requests the authorities receive, for example.
To maximize the chances of your application being approved quickly, it is necessary to be ready to provide all the supporting documents the authorities might require as soon as possible. Communication is key here, so it is important to respond quickly not to prolong the process.
Another aspect that can make it longer relates to the mistakes made in the application. In case the commission gets to review your documents a couple of months after they have been sent and they find significant mistakes in it, it will be necessary to submit everything and wait all over again.
The last point to keep in mind while waiting for the results is that the person should inform the authorities about significant changes in the relationships. For example, in case you have decided to get divorced, you are obliged to inform the authorities about it.
Can I apply for British citizenship by marriage if my partner has died?
In the unfortunate event of the death of one of the partners, it is impossible to take this route. It is especially true, in case the documents have not been submitted yet, as all such applications get rejected. Even if you have submitted the documents before your partner passed out, it is necessary to inform the authorities about every significant change in your relationships, which most commonly results in rejection of the application as well.
However, it is still possible to become a citizen of the United Kingdom through other routes. The death of the partner does not void the Indefinite Leave to Remain status, and it is compatible with several other options to become a citizen.
How can we help?
If you’re still wondering how to get British citizenship by marriage or have questions regarding any step of the process, you can always contact our professional consultants. The immigration experts in Sterling Law have years of experience behind them, including numerous cases with this specific status.
We are ready to guide you through every step of the process as well as to help with preparing the documents. Contact us to maximize your chances of having your application approved. You can request a consultation in the form below, and our specialists will reach out in no time.