Who Can Be a British Citizenship Referee?
If you are looking to naturalise as a British Citizen, you will need to provide referees in your British
citizenship application. However, it’s important to note that the requirements around the UK citizenship referees are very specific – you can’t ask a friend or a neighbour (within reason), but you also can’t ask a stranger.
So, who can be a British citizenship referee? In this blog, we’ll explain everything.
What is a British citizenship referee?
First of all, it might be beneficial to familiarise yourself with what a referee is. Essentially, a referee is required to personally endorse your British Citizenship application. This person must be someone you know reasonably well for at least 3 years as they need to confirm your identity. The reason the UK Government stipulates referees as a mandatory aspect of the UK Nationality application is to prevent fraudulent and deceptive applications. Hence, it is important you have the correct referees who can vouch for your identity.
How many referees are needed for British citizenship?
Sometimes, applicants fail to provide enough referees for their application. When this happens, your
application could be delayed or even refused, though usually, the Home Office will grant an
extension in which you must find enough referees who meet the criteria. Fortunately, you only need two referees to apply for citizenship.
Who can be a referee for the UK citizenship application?
The second important thing to note is that at least one out of your two referees must be someone
with professional standing in the community within the UK.
Plus, he/she must:
- Have known you for at least three years
- Be aged 18 or over
- Have full British citizenship with a valid UK passport
Can a relative be a citizenship referee?
In short, it’s unlikely that your relative will be able to provide a reference for your citizenship
application. The rules stipulate that referees must have no family connection to the applicant.
In addition, he/she cannot be:
- Related to you or your child
- Your solicitor, agent or immigration lawyer
- Employed by the Home Office
- Someone who has been convicted of an imprisonable offence in the last ten years
What is an acceptable ‘professional person’?
As aforementioned, at least 1 of your referees must work in a certain industry to be classed as a
professional person. According to the latest Government criteria, an ‘acceptable professional person’ applies to people who work in any of the following professions:
Articles clerk of a limited company
Assurance agent of a recognised company
Bank or building society official
British Computer Society (BCS) – professional grades with are Associate (AMBCS), Member
(MBCS), Fellow (FBCS) (PN 25/2003)
Chairman or director of a limited company
Christian Science practitioner
Commissioner for oaths
Councillor – local or county
Civil servant (permanent)
Designated premises supervisors
Director or Manager of a VAT registered charity
Director, manager or personnel officer of a VAT registered company
Engineer with professional qualifications
Fire service official
Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
Justice of the Peace
Legal secretary (members and fellows of the Institute of legal secretaries)
Local government officer
Manager or Personnel officer (of the limited company)
Member of Parliament (MP)
Member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces
Merchant Navy Officer
Minister of a recognised religion
Nurse (RN, SEN or holder of a BA in nursing)
Officer of the armed services (active or retired)
Paralegal (certified or qualified paralegals, and associate members of the Institute of
A person with honours (such as OBE, MBE and so on)
Personal licensee holders
Post Office official
President or secretary of a recognised organisation
Salvation Army officer
Trade Union officer
Travel agency (qualified)
Valuers and auctioneers (fellow and associate members of the incorporated society)
Warrant officers and chief petty officers
How to find a ‘professional person’ when you live outside the UK
If you are applying for British citizenship and you don’t have a suitable referee – for instance, if you
are legitimately living outside of the UK and don’t happen to know a suitable person for 3 years,
then the Home Office will consider alternatives.
In this unique situation, UKVI will consider a referee if they are a Commonwealth Citizen. They may
also, be a citizen of the country in which you are currently residing. Their identity and capability to be your referee will be formally checked by the British consul.
Will the UK Government assess my referees?
The caseworker assigned to your citizenship application may find it necessary to find out more
information about your referees. Sometimes checks are conducted at random, to ensure compliance, while other times it is mandatory as your referee might have accidentally failed to provide enough information. He/she could be contacted for more information.
How can your London immigration solicitors help?
1 Absolute Advisor only hires qualified and passionate immigration lawyers. We know the British
citizenship rules inside out – and will know if your referees are suitable enough.
Our lawyers are also able to advise you throughout the Naturalisation application. So, whether you
need general advice or thorough step-by-step guidance, hire one of our expert immigration lawyers
today to ease the stress of the citizenship application. If you’re still unsure, read our top 10 questions about British citizenship referees that our lawyers face every day or give us a call on 0207 993 6762 to find out more.