UK Citizenship – Important Guide

Introduction to UK Citizenship

A person with Indefinite leave to remain or EU settled status can become British Citizens through a process widely known and recognized as Naturalisation. Naturalisation allows such a person to acquire UK citizenship upon fulfilling the conditions laid down in the Immigration law rules. In this article, we will explore the process of acquiring British citizenship through naturalisation“.

Read Time: 5 minutes

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 What is on this page?

  • Introduction to UK Citizenship
  • Discretion, or Right for UK Citizenship
  • Naturalisation requirements for a married person
  • Life in the UK test
  • Criminal convictions
  • Naturalisation requirements for a non-married person
  • Withdrawal of UK Citizenship
  • Serious crime
  • Misleading information
  • Apply for naturalization
  • Fee for Naturalization
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Discretion, or Right for UK Citizenship

The grant of UK citizenship is discretionary which means that the Home Office is under no obligation to grant someone UK Citizenship. However, if the applicant fulfills the general requirement and is of good character, he is likely to be granted UK Citizenship. The important points to note are following

  • The Home Secretary has the discretion to grant UK citizenship to a person who is not a British National.
  • The grant of British Citizenship is not fundamental Human right; however, every applicant has a right to have his application considered fairly. The Home Office generally provides the reasons for refusal as a good practice and to avoid unnecessary litigation including Appeals and Judicial Reviews.
  • The requirements to obtain British Citizenship are slightly different for a foreign national who is married to a British citizen or person with settled status (ILR).

Naturalisation requirements for a married person

Where the applicant is married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen then he has to fulfill the following criteria;

  1. The applicant must be settled at the time of the naturalisation application.
  2. Must have been living in the UK for 3 years continuously before the application.
  3. Must also be physically present in the UK on the exact date of the application but three years ago.
  4. Must not be absent for more than 270 days in total during these qualifying three years and the applicant should not have spent more than 90 days outside from the UK in the year immediately before the application.
  5. The Home Office may disregard 30 extra days when counting 270 days and 10 extra days when counting for 90 days in the preceding year.
  6. The applicant must also have sufficient knowledge of the English language and must have passed the Life in the UK test
  7. The applicant must also be of a good character. The applicant must disclose all criminal convictions both inside and outside the United Kingdom including Motoring or Road Traffic Offences, CCJs, Cautions, and Criminal Convictions.

English Language Requirement

The applicant can demonstrate the English language requirements by

  • Possessing the Home Office approved qualification or by passing a specific language test from the Home Office approved test centre/college.
  • Possessing a degree which is in line with the guidance of the Home office; or 
  •  by satisfying that the applicant belonged to a majority English speaking country; or
  • the applicant has already met the requirement when he/she has made an earlier, successful application for the indefinite leave to remain.

Life in the UK test

The Applicant must have a valid Life in the UK Test passed certificate in order to apply for UK Citizenship.

Criminality / Criminal Convictions

Following criteria plays an important role. The applicant must check against this table whether his application will be successful. Applying for Naturalisation is a costly endeavor. One should only apply where he is sure that he meets all requirements.

SentenceImpact on Application
4 or more years imprisonmentThe application will be refused irrespective of when the conviction occurred
Imprisonment of more than 12 months and less than 4 YearsThe application will be refused unless 15 years have been passed since the end of the sentence
Up to 12 months’ ImprisonmentThe application will be refused unless 7 years have been passed since the end of the sentence
Non- Custodial SentenceThe application will be refused if the conviction occurred in the last 3 years. An applicant has to wait for at least three years from the date of conviction
UK Citizenship
UK Citizenship

Naturalisation requirements for a non-married person

Where the applicant is neither married to nor in a civil partnership with a British citizen or person with an ILR, for such applicant the requirements are following;

  • The applicant must be settled in the UK for at least one year before applying for naturalisation.
  • Must have been living in the UK legally for 5 continuous years at the time of the application.  
  • Must also be physically present in the UK on the exact date of the application but 5 years ago.
  • Must not be absent for more than 450 days in total during these qualifying 5 years and applicant should also not have spent more than 90 days in the year immediately before the application.
  • The applicant must also have sufficient knowledge of the English language and knowledge of life in the UK. 
  • The applicant must also be of a good character. The applicant must disclose all criminal convictions both inside and outside the United Kingdom including Motoring or Road Traffic Offences.
  • Must also have an intention to live in the United Kingdom.

Withdrawal of Citizenship

Home Secretary has the power to cancel or withdraw the citizenship of a person who has acquired British Citizenship through naturalisation or by registration, provided such a person is involved in the prohibited activities.

 Serious crime

Where a person has committed a serious crime, including cases that involve national security, terrorism, serious organized crime, war crimes, etc. Home Office will likely withdraw the citizenship.

Misleading Information

Where a person has been naturalized due to misleading information or withheld necessary information at the time of application, it is likely that upon the discovery of such information the person will be deprived of British Citizenship and he will subject to deportation unless some extenuating circumstances exist.

Apply for Naturalisation

Online

You can apply online, click here.

Paper Application

You can also apply through a paper application. The links to paper applications are given below.

Adult Naturalisation Application.

Child Naturalisation Application.

Naturalisation Application Fee

The fee is as follows

Application formType of applicationTotal fee payable
ANNaturalisation (Adult)£1330
MN1                                                                     Naturalisation (Child)                                                               £1,012
B(OS), B(OTA), RS1, S1, S2, S3 T, EMRegistration£1206
UKM, UKFSection 4C, 4G, 4H, 4I registration (ceremony fee only)£80

                                                                                                                                Source: Home Office

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the different ways of getting British Citizenship?

A. A person can get British Citizenship either by birth, as a son or daughter of a person who is a British Citizen or holds settled status at the time of the Birth of the child, or by Naturalization.

Q. What is the time required to apply for Naturalisation after Acquiring Settled status (EU) or Indefinite Leave to Remain.

A. The Applicant must wait for at least 1 year after obtaining the ILR or settled status before applying Naturalisation.

Q. Do I have to disclose all criminal convictions, civil penalties, and CCJs?

A. Yes, the Applicant must disclose all convictions, cautions, penalties, CCJs, failure to disclose will result in refusal and ban for a minimum of 10 years based on dishonesty or deception.

Q. is it guaranteed that I will be given British citizenship.

A. No. The grant of British Citizenship is discretionary, and it is not a right, however, if the Applicant fulfills the criteria, he is likely to become British Citizen.

Q. Do I have to attend a Citizenship Ceremony and Take an Oath?

A. Yes. The successful applicant must attend the ceremony and take an oath of allegiance to the Crown.

Q. What is the fee for the Naturalisation Application.

A. The current fee, as of November 2020, is £1,330. This includes the fee for the Citizenship Ceremony.

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