Settlement and Citizenship

Whether you are looking to naturalise as a British citizen having obtained indefinite leave to remain, or you are looking to register as a British citizen on the basis of your parents’ nationality or status in the UK, speak to our nationality law solicitors on 0203 909 8399 or contact us online.

By making a successful British Citizenship application, you can live and work in the UK free from immigration controls. Unless you are British by descent, you must apply to be granted British citizenship, if you are married to a British citizen, granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or through the process of registration and naturalisation.

Individuals granted full citizenship in the UK are given the same rights as those born in the UK. The process for becoming a British Citizen can vary depending on your status in the UK when applying.

Eligibility

Generally speaking you will be required to have spent six years in the UK to become eligible to apply for naturalisation, however, there are exceptions. You may be eligible to apply for British citizenship if you satisfy the following criteria:

  • You must be 18 years old or over.
  • You must have good character (not have a serious or recent criminal record)
  • You have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, or as an EEA national have permanent residence in the UK.
  • You have not broken any immigration laws or conditions while in the UK.
  • You must satisfy the English language requirements and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test.
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Further information, help and advice

Our immigration lawyers can help you through your application for British Citizenship process. One of our lawyers can assess your eligibility, perform a full document check and complete your application form to the best standard.
For further information call us on 0203 909 8399 or contact us for more information and assistance in making an application for British citizenship.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I am an EEA national, when can I apply for British Citizenship?

Usually, as an EEA national you will be eligible to become a British Citizen once you have been living in the UK for a period of five years or more from the date of your application.

You can apply for Permanent Residency (PR) in the UK if you have been in the UK for a period of five years without having been outside of the UK for more than 90 days within any 12 month period. You will then be able to apply to become a British Citizen 12 months after you have been granted Permanent Residency, provided you meet the eligibility requirements, which include the English language requirement, as well as not having been outside the UK for more than 450 days during your five-year stay.

Of course, there are additional requirements for an EEA national to apply to become British so it is advisable that you speak to one of our immigration lawyers who will be able to help you through the process. There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British Citizen, so it is best to consult a professional immigration lawyer to discuss the best options for your application.

When an EEA National can apply for British Citizenship?

Usually, as an EEA national you will be eligible to become a British Citizen once you have been living in the UK for a period of five years or more from the date of your application.

You can apply for Permanent Residency (PR) in the UK if you have been in the UK for a period of five years without having been outside of the UK for more than 90 days within any 12 month period. You will then be able to apply to become a British Citizen 12 months after you have been granted Permanent Residency, provided you meet the eligibility requirements, which include the English language requirement, as well as not having been outside the UK for more than 450 days during your five-year stay.

Of course, there are additional requirements for an EEA national to apply to become British so it is advisable that you speak to one of our immigration lawyers who will be able to help you through the process. There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British Citizen, so it is best to consult a professional immigration lawyer to discuss the best options for your application.

Who can register as a British Citizen?

You may instead be able to register as a British Citizen although there are various complicated categories here including if you are a British Overseas or Overseas Territory Citizen, you have previously given up your citizenship, you are a person who is stateless or a child under 18. This includes children in the country on a dependent child visa or children born in the UK to non-British parents.

In certain cases, you may also be able to claim British citizenship through grandparents. Cases of this nature are complex and judged individually.

British parents of children born outside of the UK will need to apply for British citizenship for child born abroad as their child will not be recognised as a British citizen at birth.

Each category has different requirements that must be met.

What is the procedure to apply for British Citizenship?

There are many requirements you will need to meet in order to apply for British Citizenship. Here are a few things you should consider before starting your Naturalisation application for British Citizenship:

Immigration Time Restrictions – when applying for British Citizenship you must be free from immigration time restrictions on the day you make your application which often means having gained settled status before you apply.

Good Character Requirement – any applicant aged ten or over must be of good character to apply for British Citizenship. Essentially this means that you must show respect for the rights and freedom of the UK, have observed its laws and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident. The Home Office will carry out criminal and financial checks.

Sound Mind Requirement– applicants must satisfy the full capacity requirement when applying for British Citizenship (although in some cases this may be overlooked). This means that you are able to make your own decisions and understand the step you are taking when you apply for British Citizenship.

Dual Nationality – you do not need to renounce your existing citizenship as many countries will let you have Dual Nationality when you apply for British Citizenship. If you are a national of a country who does not allow this, your country of origin may regard you as having lost your existing nationality or refuse to recognise your new nationality. If you are currently a British Citizen you will not normally lose this status if you become the citizen of another country unless the new country requires you to give up your British nationality.

Can i apply for British Citizenship?

To apply for British Citizenship you will need to meet the requirements specified by the Home Office.

You will also need to hold Permanent Residency (or settled status). This is most commonly in the form of Indefinite Leave to Remain. You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years of continuous residence on the same visa type. If you have switched visas during your stay in the UK, your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain will have different requirements.

What is British Citizenship?

Naturalisation is the process of becoming a citizen of another country. For people coming to the UK, British Naturalisation is a process that will allow them to live and work in the UK free from immigration controls. Unless you are British by descent, you will have to apply for British Naturalisation to become a British citizen. There are various requirements you must meet to be eligible to apply for Naturalisation. You must:

  • be aged 18 or over;
  • be of sound mind and good character;
  • intend to continue living in the UK;
  • have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK;
  • be able to acceptably communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic; and
  • meet the residential qualifying period of five years (three for spouses/civil partners of a British Citizen).

If you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, or you are the family member of such a person, and you have exercised EEA free-movement rights in the UK for a continuous five year period you will automatically have Permanent Residence status. However, you must hold this status for 12 months before applying for Naturalisation.

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