British Citizenship by Naturalisation

Becoming a British citizen is a significant life event.

The Home Office regards naturalisation as not an entitlement but rather a privilege. The decision to grant citizenship is subject to the applicant satisfying legal requirements.

British Citizenship by Naturalisation: Eligibility Criteria.

The requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen differ depending on whether or not the applicant is applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen.

If the applicant is married to or is a civil partner of a British citizen, they must:

  • be 18 or over 

  • be married to or be a civil partner of a British citizen on the date of application 

  • be of sounds mind 

  • can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level 

  • have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK. 

  • be of good character 

  • have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before they apply and meet the following residence requirements. 

The residence requirements.  

Most applications that fail do so because applicants cannot satisfy these requirements.

To be successful, the applicant must:

  • have been physically present in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 3 years before the application is received by the Home Office. 

  •  not have had more than 270 days outside the UK in the 3-year period before making the application 

  • not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 month period before making the application. 

  • not have been in breach of immigration laws in the 3-year period and free from immigration time restrictions for the 12-month period before applying.  

If the applicant is not married to or a civil partner of a British citizen, they must:

  • be 18 or over

  • be of sound mind 

  • intend to continue to live in the UK, or to continue in Crown service, the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member or the service of a company or association established in the UK

  • can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level 

  • have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK. 

  • be of good character 

  • have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before they apply and meet the following residence requirements.

The residence requirements.  

The applicant must:

  • have been physically present in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 5 years before the application is received by the Home Office. 

  • not have had more than 450 days outside the UK in the 3-year period before making the application. 

  • not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 month period before making the application. 

  • not have been in breach of immigration laws in the 5-year period and free from immigration time restrictions for the 12-month period before applying.  

The requirements above are subject to certain exceptions. The applicants are advised to speak to our immigration team for more details.

What does Sound Mind mean? 

The applicant of sound mind understands the steps that they are taking. If the applicant experiences mental health issues such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar or other disorders, the Home Office will take this into account. Applicants may provide a doctor’s written word that they are free of these issues today to satisfy this requirement.

However, the Home Secretary has the discretion to waive this requirement but the applicant will need to explain why it would be in their best interest for naturalisation to be granted.

Knowledge of language and life in the UK for naturalisation.

It is important to play a part in community life, respect the laws, values and traditions of the UK. Therefore, the applicants must satisfy the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement. It can be done by passing the Life in the UK test and having an English language certificate at level B1 CEFR.

Conditions of Stay. 

Successful applicants may apply for a British passport. They will be free of any immigration restrictions. They can work, study and exercise other freedoms such as voting.

How to Apply for British Citizenship by Naturalisation and Fees. 

Applications can be submitted online or by post (this will take much longer).

It costs £1,330 to apply. The biometric information fee of £19.20 is paid separately.

Usually, the decision is made within 6 months

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