Applications for naturalisation | British citizenship

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British citizenship & nationality

British nationality is defined in law. The United Kingdom’s British nationality laws are amongst the most complex in the world, due to the UK's former status as an imperial power. There are several different classes of British national, the most common being British citizens.

Nobody has to become a British citizen, if they are not one already, but British citizenship can bring considerable benefits and advantages. An adult will normally apply to become British by a process called naturalisation. For children under the age of 18 years, the process is called registration. In very limited circumstances, an adult may also become British by registration.

Applying for naturalisation as a British citizen

We have considerable experience in dealing with applications for naturalisation (application form AN). Home Office application fees are expensive, and refusal will not give a right of appeal, so careful preparation of the application is essential.

If your application requires an English language B1 qualification in speaking and listening then particular care is required to ensure that the qualification is recognised by the Home Office.

An application will normally be refused if the 'good character' requirements are not met; this does not only concern criminal behaviour. An applicant can be refused for numerous reasons which include getting into debt, entering the UK illegally (in the last 10 years) or working without permission (in the last 10 years). We can assist you in any of the following ways:

  • General advice and guidance; for example, to check that the application criteria are fully met.There are some limited circumstances in which the Home Office can exercise discretion and approve an application that does not fully meet the requirements for naturalisation (below).
  • Application checking service. If you have completed your application and gathered all of the supporting documents, we will check that everything is in order. Our fixed fee for this work is less than the fee charged for using the Nationality Checking Service and, unlike the NCS, our fee includes legal advice and a full eligibility check.
  • Preparation and submission of applications. We will fully prepare the application and submit it to the Home Office on your behalf. We will deal on your behalf with any matters that arise during the period that the application is under consideration.

Listed below are the requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen.

Requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen based on five years’ residence:

On the date of application the applicant must:

  • be of full age (18 years or over);
  • be of ‘full capacity’ (of sound mind);
  • either meet the ‘residence requirement’ (below) or be serving outside the UK in Crown Service.

The ‘residence requirement’ that the applicant must meet is that they were:

  • present in the UK at the beginning of the period of five years ending on the date of application;
  • not outside the UK for more than 450 days in that five-year period;
  • not outside the UK for more than 90 days in the period of 12 months ending on the day of application;
  • not subject, under the immigration laws, to any restriction on their period of stay in the UK on the date of application, or at any other time in the 12-month period ending with the date of application; and
  • not in breach of immigration laws at any time in the five years ending with the date of application in the UK.

On the date of consideration of the application the applicant must also satisfy the following requirements:

  • be of good character;
  • have a sufficient knowledge of the English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic language and sufficient knowledge about ‘life in the UK’;
  • still be of ‘full capacity’; and
  • intend to continue living in the UK, or to continue in Crown service, the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member, or the service of a company or association established in the UK.

There are discretions to approve applications which do not meet the ‘knowledge of English language and life in the UK’ requirements, and some of the residence requirements.

Requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen based on three years’ residence:

On the date of application the applicant must:

  • be of full age (18 years or over);
  • be of ‘full capacity’ (of sound mind);
  • be married to or have formed a civil partnership with a British citizen; and
  • meet the ‘residence requirement’ (below).

The ‘residence requirement’ that the applicant must meet is that they were:

  • present in the UK at the beginning of the period of three years ending on the date of application;
  • not outside the UK for more than 270 days in that three-year period;
  • not outside the UK for more than 90 days in the period of 12 months ending on the day of application;
  • not subject, under the immigration laws, to any restriction on their period of stay in the UK on the date of application; and
  • not in breach of immigration laws at any time in the three years ending with the date of application.

On the date of consideration of the application the applicant must also satisfy the following requirements:

  • be of good character;
  • have a sufficient knowledge of the English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic language and sufficient knowledge about ‘life in the UK’;
  • still be of ‘full capacity’.

There are discretions to approve applications which do not meet the ‘knowledge of English language and life in the UK’ requirements, and some of the residence requirements.  

Direct Immigration Solutions | Norwich | Norfolk | NR2 1EU | East Anglia | UK | tel: 01603 666661 | web: www.immigrationlegalhelp.co.uk

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