Naturalisation and becoming a British citizen

naturalisation

The most common way to gain British citizenship is by ‘naturalisation’. This could be a route for you if you are over the age of 18; are of good character; plan to live in Britain; and you meet life in the UK, English knowledge and residency requirements.

In order to apply for citizenship in this way, you must usually have lived in Britain for a minimum of five years before you apply and have not left the UK for over 450 days in total or over 90 days in the last year.

You must also have had settlement rights for the last year if you are from beyond the EEA or have been a permanent resident for a year if you are an EEA citizen. You may need to be able to offer a permanent residence document and have not contravened immigration rules and regulations during your time in the UK.

You can make an application for a child if they are eligible. They will not have to pass the Life in the UK Test.

Married to a British citizen?

If your spouse or civil partner is a citizen of Britain you can apply to become one too if:

– You are an adult.

– You are of sound mind and good character, without a recent or serious criminal record.

– You have fulfilled the Life in the UK and knowledge of English requirements.

– You have indefinite leave to stay or permanent residence and you meet the requirements for residency.

Unless your civil partner or spouse works abroad for a government-linked organisation or the government itself, you will normally also need to have:

– Lived in Britain for a minimum of three years before applying.

– Spent less than 270 days outside Britain in three years or 90 days in the last year.

– Kept within immigration rules and laws.

The process of becoming a citizen

After you have made your application, you should receive a written acknowledgement of receipt. This may take four weeks to arrive. A decision on your application is usually taken within six months, although this can be extended in some cases.

You will be informed if you need to provide extra information in order to assist with your application. It is important that UK Visas and Immigration is informed if your personal situation alters, such as you get married, are arrested, or move house during your application.

It is also possible that you will be invited to an interview where you will need to communicate without the help of an interpreter.

Citizenship ceremonies

If you are successful in your application, you will be able to book your place at a special citizenship ceremony. This ceremony will normally be held near to your home address and you should be allowed to invite two guests to accompany you.

These ceremonies are organised by the local authority and are normally carried out in groups, although you can request a private ceremony. You may also ask that your ceremony be held at a consulate or embassy if you are not living in the UK.

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