UK Citizenship

Table of Contents

What is the British Citizenship Ceremony?

To complete the process of becoming a British citizen, you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony. At the ceremony, you will take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Crown and a pledge of loyalty to the United Kingdom. This is a formal promise to Her Majesty the Queen and the United Kingdom. Once you have taken the oath and given the pledge you, will be presented with your certificate of British citizenship, which is the legal evidence that you are a British citizen.

The cost of the Citizenship Ceremony is £80, which was paid at the time you submitted your application for British Citizenship.

You must bring a copy of the Citizenship ceremony invitation to the ceremony. If you do not, your ceremony will be postponed. You must also bring photo ID to the ceremony, as the registrar may ask to see this.

British Citizenship Requirements – Eligibility for Naturalization

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:
    • nationality from an English-speaking country
    • OR an accepted English language degree
    • OR you have successfully passed an accredited English language test
  • Pass ‘Life in the UK’ test
  • Have a good character
  • Plan to live permanently in the UK

For details on these British citizenship requirements, our immigration law experts are happy to assist you.  Please contact us.

What are the ‘continuous residency requirements’ I must meet to obtain British Citizenship?

To meet the ‘continuous residency requirements,’ you need to show that you have lived in the UK for at least five years and during that time:

  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those five years or 270 days during the last three years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

If you are concerned about whether you meet the ‘continuous residency requirements’, please talk to one of our immigration law experts.

What are the 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.

What are the 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 apply for British citizenship after permanent residence, if eligible. If the other parent is a British citizen other 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.

For detailed information on the British citizenship requirements for individuals seeking citizenship by descent, please consult our immigration law experts.

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 collating the required documentation and ensure nothing is missed.

What documents do I need 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.

Is dual citizenship allowed in the UK?

Yes, British laws allow all citizens to hold another nationality or nationalities. Check Here How To Get Dual Citizenship?

What are the British citizenship fees?

The Home Office fee for naturalisation is £1,330 (including the £80 British citizenship fee). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.

The Home Office fee for adult registration is £1,206 (including the £80 British Citizenship fee). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.

The Home Office fee for child registration is £1,012 (an additional £80 British 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 for Naturalisation.

Check if You can become a British citizen

Whether you can become a British citizen depends on your circumstances. There may be more than one way for you to apply and if this is the case, you can choose which route to use.

  • 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.

Spouse’s of British citizens can apply for naturalisation having resided in the UK for three years if:

  • they have Indefinite Leave to Remain, or
  • an EEA Settled Status.
  • You may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship if:
  • you have a British parent
  • you are stateless
  • you hold another type of British nationality
  • at some stage, you renounced your British citizenship
  • If you are a Commonwealth citizen, you may qualify for British citizenship under the windrush scheme if:
  • you or your parents came to the UK before 1973,
  • you live in the country and have not left the UK for more than two years

We will analyse the unique circumstances of the applicant and provide honest advice; our immigration law experts are happy to assist you. Contact us for more information.

How do I 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.

Who can be a referee for my 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.

What are the immigration 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.

How long does the British citizenship application process take?

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.

A Y & J Solicitors are specialist immigration lawyers with expertise in British Citizenship applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with any UK immigration law concerns, contact us. We’re here to help!

How can I track my British citizenship application status?

Once you have submitted your application and paid the relevant fee, you will have a unique reference number for your application. This reference will also be used when you upload your supporting documents and enroll biometric data. However, it is not normally possible to track your application directly.  If any additional documents are required, the Home Office caseworker will contact you in writing. If the application  falls outside the normal service standard, you should receive a letter confirming this. When your application is decided, you will receive a letter confirming the decision.

What are the advantages of becoming a British citizen?

There are many advantages to becoming a British citizen.  One of the most important advantages is the emotional peace of mind of knowing that you have as much right to remain in the UK as a person who was born here, regardless of future government policies.

Other advantages include:

  • You can travel in and out of the UK freely and for a long as you want
  • You can fully participate in all local and general elections and exercise your right to vote
  • You will be eligible for all state benefits and healthcare

What is the 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.

How to apply for British Citizenship 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 applicable;
  • 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 your ceremony, where you will be required to swear an oath/affirmation of allegiance and you will be given your certificate of naturalisation.

What is the application for British citizenship by naturalization?

The application for British citizenship by naturalization is the application process overseas nationals undertake to 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 these requirements. The requirements for naturalisation are clearly defined, but each and every case will be considered individually. Read more here all about naturalisation

How can I acquire British citizenship by Marriage?

Marriage to a British citizen does not qualify you directly for British citizenship. To qualify for British citizenship, you must also have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, whether that ILR status was granted on the basis of a spousal visa or on another immigration route. In addition to being married to a British citizen and holding ILR status, you must have also resided in the UK for 3 years prior to your application.

Can you renounce British Citizenship or nationality?

You do have an option to renounce (give up) your British Citizenship or nationality

If accepted, you’ll get a ‘declaration of renunciation’ that you can use to show that you’re no longer a British Citizen.

One reason why someone may choose to renounce their British Citizenship is if they want to become a citizen of another country that does not allow dual citizenship.

There are only two circumstances where you can renounce your British citizenship or nationality:

  • you already have another citizenship or nationality
  • you’re going to get another citizenship or nationality after giving up your British citizenship or status

The other requirements to be satisfied to renounce your British Citizenship are:

  • you must be aged 18 or over (unless you’re under 18 and married).
  • you are of sound mind (unless it’s decided that it’s in your best interest).

Can a refugee acquire for 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.

What can I do if my application for British citizenship is refused?

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, get in touch with our immigration solicitors to apply for British citizenship. Our immigration lawyers will examine the reason why and provide expert advice on the best plan of action. This could include re-submitting the application, reconsideration application or seeking a Judicial Review.

What does the ‘good character’ requirement mean?

There is no statutory definition of ‘good character’ and no statutory guidance on the interpretation or application of the requirement.  There is, however, internal guidance to Home Office decision makers in the form of the Nationality Guidance (NG) Good character requirement, which provides information on how the requirement is applied in practice in relation to all relevant applications for British citizenship.

Things which may lead immigration officials to believe you are not of good character include (but are not limited to):

  • a criminal conviction
  • deception in your dealings with immigration officials
  • financial matters including bankruptcy, debt, unlawful recourse to public funds, or non-payment of council tax
  • notoriety in the local or wider community

If you believe that some aspect of your application may mean that you fail to meet the good character requirement, speak to one of our immigration lawyers.  Our knowledge and experience mean that we can assist you with explaining your circumstances to the Home Office. Read More – Good Character For British Citizenship Applications

Can you appeal a British citizenship refusal decision?

There is no legal right to appeal citizenship decisions. However, you may be able to request the Home Office to reconsider the refusal decision. This is only possible if you believe that the decision was not soundly based on law, policy or procedure. The refusal letter will contain an explanation of the reason(s) why your application was refused.