Naturalisation as a
British Citizen

Experienced immigration lawyers on hand to help you apply for British citizenship after obtaining indefinite leave to remain. 

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There are several ways to become a British citizen. Some individuals may be born as British citizens, others will need to be registered as British, but most commonly individuals that have resided lawfully and settled in the UK will need to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.

You should check whether your country of nationality allows dual citizenship. Some countries do not allow dual citizenship and you may therefore lose, or have to give up, your existing nationality in order to become a British citizen.

Our years of specialist expertise and up-to-the-minute knowledge of British citizenship and nationality rules mean our team can significantly increase your chances of a successful application.

Eligibility

Check you meet and understand the requirements before you submit your application. You must:

  • Have lived in the UK lawfully for the required time period without excess absences;
  • Have been in the UK on the first day of the qualifying period;
  • Be free from immigration time restrictions on the date of application and have been for at least 12 months (unless the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen);
  • Make the UK your future home;
  • Have passed the Life in the UK test unless you are exempt;
  • Show that you have sufficient knowledge of the English Language unless you are exempt;
  • Be of good character.

In special circumstances, some discretion may be exercised over absences, presence in the UK on the first day of the qualifying period, and immigration time restrictions in the last 12 months.

You can only apply to naturalise as a British citizen if you are an adult (aged 18 or over). Children under the age of 18 may be registered as a British citizen if they meet the relevant criteria.

Sound Mind Requirement

You must also be of ‘sound mind’. This is to ensure that you have the capacity to understand the implications of the decision to naturalise as a British citizen. There is discretion to overlook this requirement in certain circumstances, where it is in the applicant’s best interests to do so.

If you are applying on behalf of someone who is not of sound mind and for whom you are responsible, relevant details of that person’s medical condition and of your role as their caregiver can be provided when you apply.

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EEA Nationals

If you are an EEA national, you cannot rely on permanent residence status, which was granted prior to the introduction of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). For any such persons, you must convert your permanent residency in the UK to ‘settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), then supplying evidence of your settled status will also normally meet the lawful residence requirement. This means you do need to explain why you did not hold comprehensive sickness insurance.

You must normally have made an application for status under the EU Settlement Scheme, (EUSS) prior to the deadline in July 2021. If you are yet to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), you must provide evidence to demonstrate why you could not reasonably apply before the deadline.

Citizenship Ceremony

If your application is granted, you will have to attend a citizenship ceremony at a local designated registry office. At the citizenship ceremony, you will make an oath of allegiance and a pledge, promising to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. You will also receive your naturalisation certificate.

To travel outside the UK after getting British citizenship, you’ll need to apply for a British passport or a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode. You cannot use your naturalisation certificate to travel.

Citizenship Ban

Under the recently introduced Illegal Migration Act 2023, a person will not be eligible for citizenship if they meet ALL of the following criteria:

entered or arrived in the UK from 7th March 2023 onwards
entered illegally (without valid ETA, or other permission such as valid entry clearance or in breach of a deportation order)
you did not come directly from a country in which your life was at threat

This includes where you entered as a child and are now applying as an adult. It also applies if you left the UK following an illegal arrival meeting the criteria above and later re-entered lawfully.

If the above criteria applies to your application is likely to be refused without consideration and any fees paid will not be refunded. The only exception is where the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Convention would be breached if your application was not considered.

For further advice or to discuss your visa application with one of our UK Visa specialists, contact our team on 0161 843 9000 or complete our enquiry form below.