Naturalisation as a British citizen
An application for UK naturalisation is the process by which a non-UK citizen becomes a British citizen. It will grant you an unrestricted right to work, leave and enter the UK and ability to enjoy the full range of public services available to every other British citizen. Depending on your circumstances, there are different ways to obtain British citizenship through naturalisation.
Are you eligible for naturalising in the UK?
Naturalising in the UK is not an entitlement and there are strict legal requirements to satisfy. Generally, you must satisfy the following requirements:
- You must have settlement in the UK (either ILR or settled status) and have held it for 12 months (unless married to a British Citizen)
- You must be aged 18 years or over when making the application
- You must have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years
- You must pass the English Requirement Test and the Life in the UK test.
It is important to note that these requirements differ depending on whether or not you are married or are in civil partnership with a British Citizen or if you are applying only based on your residency in the UK.
Exemptions from the English language test
Some people may be exempt from doing the English language test. One does not need to undertake the English language test if :
- You are older than 65 years old or
- You have a serious, perpetual physical or mental condition that would prohibit you from taking the test or
- You have a degree that was taught or researched in English. If you have a degree from a UK university, you only need your degree certificate to prove knowledge of the English language. If you have a degree from a university outside of the UK, you will also need a degree certificate AND an ‘Academic Qualification Level Statement’ from UK NARIC.
Furthermore, if you are currently a citizen of the following countries, you do not need to prove knowledge of English.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- Ireland (for citizenship only)
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Exemptions from the Life in the UK test
The following are exempt from doing the Life in UK test. If you are applying for citizenship, there are not many exemptions. However, you can be exempt if:
- You are under 18 years of age
- You are over 65
- If you have already undertaken the life in UK test during a settlement application.
- You have a serious, perpetual physical or mental condition
For more information on this test, click here.
What does the UK naturalisation process entail?
After making sure that you meet the requirements of naturalisation, you will need to fill the UK government form AN according to your specific eligibility and submit your application along with documents required. You will be required to provide information on your criminal convictions, parents’ identities, your employment records and previous addresses.
Once the naturalisation fee is paid, the application form and documents will be sent for UKVI for further evaluation. Your application will be acknowledged within 2-4 weeks and will be decided upon within 6 months of submission.
You may be asked to attend an interview of citizenship and provide further biometric information. While your application is under consideration, it is important to ensure that your respond to any inquiries requesting for further information.
If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend the citizenship ceremony from the Home Office. If you are living abroad, the Citizenship Ceremony will take place at the embassy or consulate in the country you reside in.
You are expected to attend a ceremony within 3 months of receiving your invitation. Otherwise, it will expire and you will have to re-apply.
How can we help?
Our team of specialist immigration solicitors are here to offer you current and accurate advice in a cost-effective manner by working with you on a fixed-fee basis.
- We will work with you to identify your immigration goals and thereafter advise on the most appropriate application to make
- We offer advice on the supporting documents to submit with your application
- Drafting legal representations in support of your application
- Liaising with the Home Office or UKVI until a final decision is made on your application
We are happy to provide an initial 15-minute telephone consultation to discuss your case further – do not hesitate to get in touch