NATURALISATION

The United Kingdom is home to many people from various parts of the world who have chosen to base their lives and careers in this country.

If you have been in the UK for a sufficient amount of time and wish to apply for British citizenship, you can apply for Naturalisation. Once granted, you will be afforded the same rights and benefits of all British citizens.

Currently, Naturalisation is for applicants who have legally lived in the UK for 5 years, with an extra 12 months or more with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE).

There is a slight difference in the criteria for Naturalisation for applicants who are married to British citizens and for applicants who are not.

If you have been in the UK for a sufficient amount of time and wish to apply for British citizenship, you can apply for Naturalisation. Once granted, you will be afforded the same rights and benefits of all British citizens.

Currently, Naturalisation is for applicants who have legally lived in the UK for 5 years, with an extra 12 months or more with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE).

There is a slight difference in the criteria for Naturalisation for applicants who are married to British citizens and for applicants who are not.

NATURALISATION Eligibility Criteria

  • To qualify to become naturalised as a British citizen, you must be over 18 years old.
  • You must have lived in the UK for five years and had one of the following for 12 months; Indefinite leave to remain in the UK, Settled Status also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’; or Indefinite leave to enter the UK.
  • If you are not married to a British Citizen, you must prove that you were in the UK exactly five years before the day the Home Office receives your Naturalisation application.
  • If you are married to a British Citizen, you must prove that you were in the UK exactly three years before the day the Home Office receives your Naturalisation application.
  • You must prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic either through an academic qualification or through taking a test.
  • You must have passed the Life in the UK Test.
  • You must intend to continue living in the UK.
  • You must be of ‘good character’ according to Home Office requirements.

Restrictions

    You must have lived in the UK for at least five years before the date of your application. You cannot include any time you have spent in the UK as a diplomat, member of a diplomat’s staff or household or a member of visiting armed forces.

    You must not have:
      • Spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years before your application
      • Spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months before your application
      • Broken any UK immigration laws
      • You must still have a valid indefinite leave to remain or enter.

    You may have lost your indefinite leave to enter or remain status if you’ve been away from the UK for;
      • More than 2 years at any time since you got your ILR or ILE
      • More than 5 years if you have settled status
      • More than 4 years if you are a Swiss citizen, or the family member of a Swiss citizen, and you have settled status.
 

Restrictions

You must have lived in the UK for at least five years before the date of your application. You cannot include any time you have spent in the UK as a diplomat, member of a diplomat’s staff or household, or a member of visiting armed forces.

You must not have:

  • Spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years before your application.
  • Spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months before your application.
  • Broken any UK immigration laws.
  • You must still have a valid indefinite leave to remain or enter.

 

You may have lost your indefinite leave to enter or remain status if you’ve been away from the UK for:

  • More than 2 years at any time since you got your ILR or ILE.
  • More than 5 years if you have settled status.
  • More than 4 years if you are a Swiss citizen or the family member of a Swiss citizen, and you have settled status.

DEPENDANTS

You must apply separately for your children and can apply to register them as British citizens if they were:

  • Born outside of the UK.
  • Born inside the UK before you were granted indefinite leave to remain.

You must also pay for your child’s citizenship ceremony if they turn 18 during the application process.

Dependents

You must apply separately for your children and can apply to register them as British citizens if they were:
● Born outside of the UK;
● Born inside the UK before you were granted indefinite leave to remain.
You must also pay for your child’s citizenship ceremony if they turn 18 during the application process.

If your naturalisation application is successful

Upon a successful application, you will be granted your certificate of British citizenship and will be able to apply for a British passport to travel freely to and from the country. If you do not want a British passport, you can instead apply for a certificate of entitlement – however, you cannot enter the country using it.

Within five working days of receiving your Certificate of Naturalisation, you must cut your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) into four pieces and put it a windowless envelope that you must send to the Home Office along with a note explaining your return of the permit due to becoming a British citizen.

FAQs

NATURALISATION

You can make an application to Home Office yourself, but we recommend that you get legal advice to ensure the best outcome. It is recommended that you apply online, although you can also apply by post.

It usually takes two to three months for the Home Office to make a decision on applications after submission. However, the application may take up to six months if the Home Office considers your case to be complex or if there is a backlog of cases. The timeline may currently be longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CONTACT US FOR OUR EXPERT ADVICE

There are many requirements to be met to satisfy the Home Office. Naturalisation is a costly process and you will lose your fee if your application is refused. There is no right of appeal.

Woodcock Law is well placed and highly experienced in providing bespoke advice and assistance with Naturalisation applications.

We recommend getting in contact with us on 0207 712 1590 for our expert advice on such an application before any action is taken.

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on www.gov.uk.

LEGAL

Woodcock Law & Notary Public is the combined trading name of Woodcock Law Limited (Co. No: 12080697) and Woodcock Notary Public Limited (Co. No: 12085976). Woodcock Law Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (registration number 664924). Woodcock Notary Public Limited is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury for work undertaken by Mr Nathan Woodcock as a Notary Public. Woodcock Law Limited is a member of Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association. (Membership Number: 7980).

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