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5 October 2023

When to prepare your naturalisation documents

So, you have been granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR), and you now need to wait a year before you can apply for citizenship. What should you do?
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
naturalisation documents

If your indefinite leave to remain has been granted, but you know you want to apply for British citizenship (naturalisation) in 12 months’ time, you can start preparing the naturalisation documents for your application now.

You can apply for naturalisation up to 28 days before the 12-month time limit ends, or anytime after. Once you hold ILR, you can work and live in the UK for as long as you like.

Naturalisation documents you will need

Your citizenship application will definitely require the following:

  • Proof you have not left the country for more than 90 days in the last 12 months 
  • Proof of your UK residence – shown by bills, tenancy agreement or bank statement
  • Proof of ID, preferably a passport
  • Proof of relationship status if applicable
  • Your biometric card that shows your ILR status
  • Proof of your level of English
  • Proof of having passed the life in the UK test
  • 2 referees- one should be a professional known for 3 or more years and the other should be a British citizen professional or over 25 years of age. Find out more in our complete guide to naturalisation referees
  • All documents need to be translated into English or Welsh by a sworn translator

You may be asked to supply more information than the list above.

If you have already passed the Life in the UK test or English test, you do not need to do it again.

Timings of when to prepare

Time in advance to prepare Item Expiry length
Any Life in the UK test None
Any English Language test None
Any Proof of marriage/ Civil partnership None
Any Proof of ID- preferably your passport Must have at least 6 months validity left when submitting.
Any BRP card which shows ILR None
Any Two references None
< 3 months Proof of address- bills, tenancy agreement or bank statement Must have been issued within three months when submitting
< 1 month Proof of your time in the UK- passport stamps or letter from school or work All time outside the UK must be accounted for; prepare this once you know you will not leave the country again before submitting.
< 1 month Translation of naturalisation documents not in English or Welsh once they are all prepared None

What to do with your prepared naturalisation documents

All naturalisation applications are now completed online through The Government’s website.

You may have spent at least one year collating all of your relevant naturalisation documents, so it is vital they do not get lost or destroyed.

Here are some tips to ensure all of your documents are kept safe:

  • Take a photo of everything
  • Scan everything using a printer (if possible)
  • Upload all your images to a folder on your computer, a flash drive or preferably, the cloud
  • Save any emails related to your application in a labelled folder
  • You could print or download any relevant emails
  • Keep all hard copies in a plastic wallet so they will not get damaged
  • Keep all documents in one physical ring binder folder named ‘naturalisation application documents’
  • Keep this ring binder safe, away from harm

Contact us

We are immigration and visa specialists, helping you apply for naturalisation.

Get in touch for your FREE 10-minute consultation with one of our experts.

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions about the changes or want legal advice, contact
Woodcock Law & Notary Public today. Contact us by phone on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or
by email at

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