British Citizenship / Naturalisation
UK Citizenship Application / Naturalisation Process
You are required to complete and submit the citizenship application to acquire full UK Citizenship by naturalization process. Each section of the Citizenship application requires details to prove your eligibility. These include:
- Details of employment status.
- Proof of residency.
- Biographical information.
- Evidence of genuine relationship (for the spouses of a British citizen).
- Details of two referees who will need to validate that the information you have provided is correct.
Applying for UK Citizenship
Following is the step-by-step guidelines to successfully apply for UK Citizenship:
- Check if you have met the significant requirements, including good character requirements and residency requirements.
- Ensure you have gathered all the required supporting documents for your application.
- Provide the details of two referees who would support your application.
- Complete an online application form.
- Submit the form and pay the UK citizenship cost of approximately £1,330 and an additional £19.20 for the biometric enrolment (fingerprints and photographs).
- Upload the scanned documents using the online portal.
- Book and attend the biometric appointment at the UKVCAS centre.
- Arrange and attend the Citizenship ceremony once you’ve received a UK naturalisation invitation letter, i.e. within three months of the letter.
Be sure to attend the Citizenship Ceremony, which will require your oath of allegiance. Only then will you be able to receive the naturalisation certificate and acquire British nationality.
Citizenship UK Residency Requirements
- A valid certificate of English language and Life in the UK (UK Citizenship) test.
- Evidence of a valid passport, birth certificate, and a valid travel document if applicable.
- Proof of past immigration history/status.
- Proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain status or EU settled status, i.e. Biometric card, residence card.
- Proof of lawfully residing in the UK during the qualifying period.
- Travel details of any time spent outside the UK, i.e. must show that you were not absent from the UK for more than 450-days during your 5-year qualifying period.
- Proof of character suitability requirements, i.e. must not have breached the immigration laws.
- Proof of exercising the treaty rights in the three- or five-years period depending on your immigration status, i.e. bank statements, letters from the educational institutes, current employment.
Referees’ Requirements for UK Citizenship ApplicationYour UK Citizenship application must be duly certified by at least two referees, undersigning to validate that you have provided the correct details. Your referees must be one with professional background. The referees must be well acquainted with you for at least three years, but they must not be related to you in any way. Moreover, your referees should also satisfy the good character requirements and not have violated any law in the last ten years. One of the referees must be a British citizen.
Differences between British Citizenship by naturalisation and ILR
In both cases, you reserve the right to work, study and live in the United Kingdom without any immigration restrictions. Nevertheless, you should know the significant differences between naturalisation UK and ILR mentioned herein.
With British Citizenship / Nationality, you can enjoy the full rights of a UK citizen. You can leave and enter the UK without any immigration restrictions or control. Moreover, you don’t have to abide by the 180-day absence rule, which implies that your period of absence from the UK will not affect your immigration status.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
You are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain after your qualifying period under strict Home Office rules and regulations. With ILR, you can access public funds, including government bursaries, state pensions, etc. Likewise, you can enter and return to the UK without needing to apply for any immigration visa. ILR grant is a penultimate step towards getting naturalisation as a UK citizen. Nonetheless, you are not allowed to remain absent from the UK for more than 2-years or else your ILR status will lapse.
If you are a holder of dual nationality (citizen of another country), you can renounce your UK citizenship by naturalisation status. Nonetheless, you may not need to give up your British nationality if you wish to register as a citizen of another country that allows dual Citizenship. However, if you are willing to give up your British citizenship, for instance, to become national of any other country that does not allow British Citizenship. You will receive a ‘declaration of renunciation’ once your request is approved. While this may affect your UK naturalisation, other family members can retain their UK citizenship as British nationals.
Please keep in mind, that you must be:
- at least 18 years old
- meet the ‘sound mind’ requirements (be legally considered to make your own decisions)
Apply for resumption if you have changed your mind and want to resume your British nationality status. It is crucial to keep in mind while ‘resuming’ your Citizenship in the UK that you continue to satisfy the good character requirements per Home office Policy to reclaim your citizenship status in the UK.
Requirements to Apply for UK Citizenship by Descent
You may apply for UK citizenship/naturalisation by descent if:
- You were born (outside the UK/ abroad).
- Your grandfather was a British born employed in crown service.
Please bear in mind that you will not ‘automatically’ acquire nationality by descent in the UK if your parents were British Citizens.
Apply for UK Citizenship as a Refugee?
Stages to apply for UK Citizenship by refugee status
With the announcement of Borders, Citizenship and Immigration act 2009, there are three stages for refugees to acquire permanent residence and UK naturalisation (Citizenship), and these include:
Stage-1: Securing Temporary residence status (five years).
Stage-2: Probationary Citizenship (One to three years). This stage requires:
- passing the UK Citizenship Test/Life in the UK.
- satisfying ‘good character’ requirements.
Stage-3: Getting full Citizenship (naturalisation) or Indefinite status.
Track UK Citizenship Application
Generally, the average processing time for a UK Citizenship application is within three to six weeks or even longer, depending on the complexity of your case.
Interestingly, you are free to travel abroad while your UK Citizenship application is still in the process. Although the online tracking system is not available, you may stay in contact with the UKVI via email or a call to inquire about your status.
UK Citizenship by Birth & by Descent?
Citizenship UK by Birth
You would be British by birth if you were born in the United Kingdom prior to 1 January 1983, however if you were born after 1 January 1983, you would only be British if one of your parents was British or hold an Indefinite Leave to remain at the time of your Birth.
Citizenship UK by Descent
If you are born outside the UK to a British parent you will be British by descent but will require registration as a British Citizen.