British Citizenship

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What is British Citizenship How is British Citizenship different from Indefinite Leave to Remain? How do I apply for British citizenship after getting ILR? What is the UK Dual Citizenship? What are the different ways to acquire British Citizenship? What are the British citizenship requirements? What is the 'Good Character' requirement? What are the English Language requirements for British Citizenship? What are the documents required while registering for British Citizenship? What is the cost of applying for British Citizenship? How can you apply for British Citizenship? What is the British citizenship application form? How long do you have to stay in the UK to get British Citizenship? How long does it take to process a British citizenship application? How to seek British citizenship by birth, descent or marriage How to ‘naturalise’ as a British citizen

British Citizenship

British citizenship is likely your final destination in your immigration journey. With UK nationality, you have access to all the same benefits and rights as UK-born citizens. However, the British citizenship application is complicated and lengthy to complete.

If you need guidance with your British nationality application, our immigration lawyers are here to help. Get in touch with our team to book a free initial consultation by calling 0207 993 6762.

What is British Citizenship

There are numerous ways you can obtain British citizenship: by birth, by descent or by what is called ‘naturalisation’. Each pathway has different rules and eligibility criteria. For instance, to be able to claim British citizenship by descent, you must have close familial ties to the UK.

As such, the vast majority of UK visa applicants apply to naturalise as a British citizen. After UK citizenship status has been granted, you must then attend a British citizenship ceremony as an official registration. You are also able to apply for a British passport straight away, and can continue to live in the UK with freedom to work, live, rent, study, retire or whatever you decide to do. You can even leave the UK for long periods of time without losing your British citizenship status.

However, the British citizenship application is lengthy and complex. Applicants must satisfy strict criteria and prove that they meet all of the requirements in their application.

If you need expert help and assistance with your British citizenship application, our immigration lawyers here at 1 Absolute Advisor are well-versed in UK nationality law and can assist you no matter the complexity of your circumstances.

An individual with British Citizenship can live and work in the UK free of any immigration controls. Having British Citizenship also means you can participate in the country’s political life, such as voting in the elections. You are also eligible to get a UK passport if you have British Citizenship. You might be a British Citizendays depending on where and when you were born, and your parent's circumstances when you were born.

How is British Citizenship different from Indefinite Leave to Remain?

British Citizenship is not the same as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as only the former will grant you full permanent rights. Although, there are many rights given to those with UK Indefinite Leave to Remain and UK Citizens. Some of them are:

There are several added benefits to full UK citizenship. If you become a UK citizen, you will be able to leave the UK for extensive periods. But, an individual with ILR or permanent residency can lose their status if they stay out of the UK for more than two years. While someone with permanent residency can live, work, pay complete tax and move like any other citizen, they will not be able to take part in elections and they cannot hold a British passport. However, you will need to give up the citizenship of your home country to acquire British Citizenship, unless you can apply for dual citizenship.

How do I apply for British citizenship after getting ILR?

An individual who has held Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK for 12 months or more, is eligible to become a British National. The same rule applies for those who hold Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK and for the EU and EEA citizens who have had the EU settled status for a specific amount of time.

The applicants who are married to a British citizen, are allowed to apply for naturalisation immediately after getting their Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. You are not allowed to spend more than 90 days away from the UK during the 12 month qualifying period. You will be asked to provide details regarding any absence that you had made before you submitted your request.

You will lose your status of Indefinite Leave to Remain if you are away from the UK for more than two years and you will not be able to qualify for British Nationality until you have spent further eligible time in the UK. If the applicant is an EU citizen holding settled status, they will lose their right to settle in the UK if they spend more than five years overseas. If they wish to reobtain their status, they must submit a new application.

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What is the UK Dual Citizenship?

The United Kingdom allows Dual Citizenship as there is no need to renounce your previous nationalities. Holding a dual nationality means you can be a British national along with being a citizen of any other country of your choice. The UK law also allows multiple citizenships which means you can apply for UK naturalisation even if you hold more than one nationality. There is no requirement for registration for dual citizenship. You can apply for foreign citizenship in any country that allows dual citizenship if you are already a British National.

However, each country has its own set of rules regarding dual nationality. Hence, it is important to check with your respective country’s embassy or consulate whether you can maintain your status in the UK.

If you are a British citizen who wants to attain citizenship in a country that does not permit dual nationality, you will have to give up your status. In other cases, becoming a British citizen will automatically result in a loss of any previous nationality. Hence, it is advisable to check if you have to notify your country of original citizenship of your intention to obtain British Nationality before submitting your application.

What are the different ways to acquire British Citizenship?

There are different ways and routes to acquire British Citizenship, some of them are mentioned below:

What are the British citizenship requirements?

The British Nationality Act stipulates applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Be of age 18 or over
  2. Have continuously lived in the UK legally for at least 5 years
  3. Have spent no longer than 450 days ‘absent’ from the UK during the 5-year period
  4. Have had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status for at least 12 months before the application date
  5. Prove English language ability at B1 level
  6. Pass the Life in the UK test
  7. Pass the ‘good character’ requirement (I.e., have not broken any UK laws or breached immigration conditions)

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What is the ‘Good Character’ requirement?

To become eligible for British Citizenship, you must demonstrate your “good character”. Good character means you must not hold any severe nor recent criminal record. The Home Office will also be reviewing whether you have committed any criminal offence overseas and if you have any UK immigration-related issue. Apart from that, the UKVI will also consider any contributions made by you towards society.

What are the English Language requirements for British Citizenship?

If you are applying for British Citizenship, you need to prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic by passing a listening and speaking test at B1 level. The English test qualifications will only be recognised and accepted if they're from the UKVI approved test centres. You can also prove your English language requirements by presenting evidence of a degree taught or researched in English. However, nationals of certain countries are exempt from fulfilling the English Language requirement.

Which documents are needed in the British citizenship application?

When applying for British citizenship, you must prove to UKVI that you are an upstanding citizen, that you can adequately understand English and that you meet all of the other requirements.

This means you are required to submit a portfolio of supporting evidence within your application. Accurate evidence and documentation will ensure a smooth application process, so it’s important that your portfolio is honest, relevant and answers each and every requirement.

In your application, you might submit the following documents:

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What is the cost of applying for British Citizenship?

The cost of applying for British Citizenship is £1,206 for adult registration as a British Citizen. The fee for child registration as a British Citizen is £1,012. The fees for Naturalisation is £1,330.

These fees do not include the additional cost of £80 for your citizenship ceremony, which will be refunded if your application request is refused or withdrawn. If you have submitted your form online, you will be asked to pay by credit or debit card, and if you have used the paper form, you will have to use the payment slip to pay by either cash or cheque.

Your fees for British Citizenship must be paid in full to make your application valid. You will not get a refund if your request is refused or withdrawn, however, if you have failed to provide your biometric data, your form will be rejected as invalid and your fee will be refunded after deducting an administrative charge of £25.

How can you apply for British Citizenship?

There are three ways to prepare an application for naturalisation. They are:

If you are applying for citizenship on your own, you must fill the Form AN. As a part of the application process, you are required to provide your biometric information which includes fingerprints and photos, which will cost you £19.20. You will be contacted by The Home Office to let you know if you can provide your information at a local post office. You can submit your forms and documents from within the UK or abroad. Once you have completed your Form AN, Application for Naturalisation, you will need to send it along with the application fee and supporting documents to the UKVI office.

What is the British citizenship application form?

To submit your request for citizenship, you must complete and file a Form AN, which is an application for Naturalisation as a British Citizen. Every section of this form will require you to provide all the necessary information about your case to prove your eligibility. This includes information regarding your biographical data, proof of residency, details regarding your employment status and any dependant who is applying with you. If you are applying as a spouse of a British National, you will also have to provide evidence of your relationship. You will also have to include details of your two referees who will have to sign your form to confirm that all the information you have provided on your form is correct.

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How long do you have to stay in the UK to get British Citizenship?

An applicant can apply for UK citizenship with permanent residence status after having lived in the UK for at least 12 months after getting a permanent residence status. you will also need a permanent residence document that proves you've lived in the United Kingdom for five years, this can be any five year period.

How long does it take to process a British citizenship application?

The Home Office will only start processing your application after you have paid the appropriate application fee. Applications for British nationality are usually decided by the UKVI within six months. Although it is not possible to apply for the premium priority service to speed up this type of application, you can receive your decision from the Home Office before the expected waiting time. While some complex cases may take more than the average six month period, if you provide comprehensive and necessary documentation about your situation, the Home Office will be able to review your application faster. However, if you fail to submit all the necessary documents and evidence, your request might get delayed. After your application is accepted, you will have to wait until you are called for your Citizenship Ceremony to receive your Naturalisation certificate and to apply for a British Passport.

How to seek British citizenship by birth, descent or marriage

To apply for British citizenship by birth or descent, the general rule of thumb is that at least one of your parents was a British citizen or someone with Settled Status at the time of your birth. However, there are also cut off points and various thresholds, such as when you were born. Alternatively, you may already be considered a British national if you were born in the UK after 1 January 1983.

If you are the spouse of a British citizen, you can seek UK nationality much faster than most other immigration routes. As long as you are married or in a civil partnership with a UK citizen, and you have lived in the UK for at least 3 years with Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can make the switch.

However, most people tend to become a British citizen by naturalisation, otherwise known as the 5-year route. Under this route, after 5 years of residency in the UK you are able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). After a further 12 months of ILR status, you can finally apply for British citizenship.

There are other ways to claim citizenship status, such as if you have Refugee Status or you are deemed ‘stateless’.

How to ‘naturalise’ as a British citizen

Naturalisation refers to the process of gaining British citizenship after accumulating significant residency in the UK. It is reserved for people who were not born in the UK but who wish to remain in the country and call Britain their permanent home.

A key component of British citizenship by naturalisation is that you have continuously and legally lived in the UK and your total number of absences from the country have not exceeded 450 days in total, and 90 days in the past 12 months. The most recent 12 months before you submit your application is referred to as the ‘qualifying period’. If your absences exceed 90 days during this qualifying period, your immigration lawyer may advise you to wait a few months until you become eligible again.

How can your immigration lawyers help?

At 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration solicitors can offer full application assistance with your British citizenship query. In fact, we will even assess your case for free over the phone. Our lawyers will then verify that you are eligible and advise you on your next steps.

Whether you need full application guidance or general advice with your UK nationality application, our immigration lawyers based in London are here to help. Call our friendly customer care team today on 0207 993 6762 for your initial free British citizenship consultation.

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British Citizenship FAQ

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