Complete Guide to British Citizenship Application 2024

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What is British Citizenship What are the different ways/pathways to acquire British Citizenship? Eligibility Criteria For British Citizenship Applying for British Citizenship Through Naturalisation: A Step-by-Step Guide Life in the UK Test For British Citizenship

What is British Citizenship

British Citizenship is your final step in your immigration journey to the UK. Whether you are a foreign national seeking to make the UK your permanent home, a child born to British parents abroad, or a resident looking to formalise your ties to the country, this page is designed to offer clarity and support at every step of your British citizenship journey.

Considering British Citizenship? We Can Help.

British Citizenship offers the full range of benefits and rights native-born citizens enjoy. It's a significant step, but the application process can be complex. Our experienced immigration advisers can guide you through each stage, ensuring a smooth and efficient application.

In this guide, we aim to explore different pathways to British Citizenship, Eligibility, application process, cost and timelines. Whether you're just beginning your journey or seeking answers to specific questions, we provide the information and support you need to embark on this meaningful and rewarding process.

Benefits of having British Citizenship

You can read a complete list of benefits of having British Citizenship here.

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What are the different ways/pathways to acquire British Citizenship?

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

By Naturalisation:

If you are an adult, who was not born in the UK. Naturalisation is the most common way for adults not born in the UK to become British citizens. Here's a quick rundown:

By Birth:

By being born in the UK, at least one of the parents is a British national or a settled person at the time of the applicant's birth. Being born in the UK doesn't automatically guarantee British Citizenship. However, it's a strong possibility! Here's a simplified breakdown:

By Registration:

This route is available only to applicants who hold different forms of British nationality or have connections to the UK. Registration is an alternative route to British Citizenship but has specific eligibility requirements. Here's a basic overview:

If a child was born outside the UK to British parents, they cannot be automatically classed as British citizens. The parents must complete the MN1 application form before the child turns 18 to become a British citizen.

Through Adoption:

This can be straightforward in some cases but depends on the circumstances of the adoption. Here's a breakdown:

Registration as an Option: * If you weren't automatically granted Citizenship through adoption, you might still be eligible to register as a British citizen, especially if you were adopted as a minor.

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Eligibility Criteria For British Citizenship



Naturalisation is the most common path to becoming a British citizen for adults who weren't born in the UK. Here's a breakdown of the essential eligibility criteria:

Additional factors: The Home Office may also consider your ties to the UK, such as family members who are British citizens.

By Birth


While being born in the UK doesn't guarantee automatic British Citizenship, it simplifies the eligibility criteria compared to Naturalisation. Here's a breakdown:

Exceptional Cases: If you were born in the UK and neither parent was British or settled, but one parent became British OR acquired settled status before you turned 18, you might still be eligible to register as a British citizen. If you were born in the UK and lived there until you were at least ten, you might be eligible to register despite not having a British parent.

By Registration


British Citizenship via registration has specific eligibility requirements; here's a breakdown of the key points:

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Applying for British Citizenship Through Naturalisation: A Step-by-Step Guide

Naturalisation is the most common path for adults not born in the UK to become British citizens. Here's a breakdown of the application process:

  1. Check Eligibility:

    Make sure you meet the basic requirements: You must be 18 years old or over, have lived lawfully in the UK for a set period (usually five years) with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settled status, have no serious criminal record or history of breaking immigration laws, intend to continue living in the UK, demonstrate proficiency in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic), and pass the Life in the UK test.

  2. Gather Documents: You'll need proof of your identity, residency, finances, and good character.
  3. Complete the Application Form: You can apply online through the UK government website:
  4. Biometric Enrollment: You must attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your fingerprints and a digital photograph.
  5. Application Fee: There's a fee of £1,500 for the application (as of May 7th, 2024).
  6. Processing Time: Processing times can vary but may be longer due to COVID-19. The Home Office will keep you updated on their website.
  7. Citizenship Ceremony: If your application is successful, you'll be invited to officially attend a citizenship ceremony to become a British citizen.

The application process for other routes to British Citizenship, such as by birth, descent, registration, and adoption, is similar to that of Naturalising except for a few other requirements. Please contact us for specific requirements.

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Life in the UK Test For British Citizenship

The Life in the UK test is a mandatory part of the British citizenship application process for most people applying by Naturalisation. It assesses your knowledge of British Life, values, and history.

Here's a quick rundown:

British Citizenship FAQ

How much does it cost to get British Citizenship?

British citizenship application fees depend on the route—Naturalisation: £1,580 (includes ceremony). There might also be costs for tests, language checks, and lawyer consultations.

What is the reasonable character requirement for British Citizenship?

To be "of good character" for British Citizenship, you must have a clean criminal record, not break immigration laws, and be financially responsible. You also must be law-abiding and respectful.

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

British citizenship processing times vary:

  • Naturalisation: Usually six months, but can take longer.
  • Registration: Often faster than Naturalisation.
Check the UK government website for updates.

Can I change my referee for British Citizenship?

Yes, you can change your referee for British Citizenship, but you'll need to:

  • Inform the Home Office.
  • Get a new referee to sign the declaration form.
  • Provide the Home Office with your new referee's details. You can learn more about this in our blog post here.

Who can be a referee for British Citizenship Applications?

Two referees are needed for your application:

  • British Citizen & Resident: One must be a British citizen who usually lives in the UK.
  • Professional or Over 25: The other can be a skilled, such as a doctor or lawyer, or someone over 25.

Can a friend be a referee for a naturalisation application?

Yes, as long as they have known you personally for a minimum of 3 years and are British Citizens or people of professional standing.

What does a referee for British Citizenship have to do?

A referee must:

  • Confirm your identity (photo, you are who you say).
  • Vouch for your character (sound person, responsible).
  • Provide details (about themself & your relationship).
  • Sign a declaration (eligible & info is accurate).

How long after ILR can I apply for Citizenship?

After 12 months of being on ILR status.

Married to a British citizen can i get a British passport

Marrying a British citizen doesn't give you an automatic passport, but it starts you on the path to getting one through naturalisation.

How much is the UK naturalisation fee

UK naturalisation costs £1,580

British Citizenship solicitor fees

British citizenship solicitor fees can vary depending on the solicitor's experience, location, and whether they offer a fixed fee or hourly rate. Here's a rough idea:

  • Fixed fee: £500-£1250
  • Hourly rate: £100-£150 per hour (plus VAT)
British Citizenship Lawyers
  • Easy Apply: Lawyers guide you through the complex process.
  • Strong Case: They ensure your application is complete and avoid rejection.
  • Help with Issues: Lawyers represent you if problems arise.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for UK citizenship

No, a lawyer is not mandatory to apply for UK citizenship. However, it's highly recommended for its complexity.


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