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British Naturalisation

Becoming a British Citizen through Naturalisation. The Journey to British Citizenship.

If you’re not already British by birth, the way to become a citizen is through a legal process called British Naturalisation. This opens doors for you in the UK, allowing you to get a British passport, cast your vote, and work or live without any immigration limitations.

Here’s what you need to know: To apply, you’ll have to prove that you tick all the boxes for naturalisation requirements. Otherwise, you could risk a rejected application and a loss of your application fee.

How We Help: A Mistake-Free Process for You.

Many naturalisation applications fall through because of paperwork mistakes or delays in responding to the Home Office. Don’t let this happen to you. We’re well-versed in the complexities and are committed to keeping you in the loop during every step. We aim to reduce your stress and help you navigate this life-changing journey.

Get in touch for personalised advice tailored to your situation.

What You Must Have: The Checklist for Naturalisation.

You must be:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • A UK resident with settled status for a minimum of one year.
  • Absent from the UK for not more than the set limit during the qualifying period.
  • Competent in English and have passed the Life in the UK test.
  • A person of ‘good character’ with no severe or recent criminal history.
  • In the UK lawfully during the entire qualifying time.
  • Intending to make the UK your forever home.

Other Rules: Based on Your Relationship Status.

If you’re not married to a British citizen, you’ll also need to show:

  • Less than 90 days absence from the UK in the last year.
  • Compliance with all UK immigration rules in the last five years.

And if you're married to a British citizen, the criteria slightly differ:

  • Less than 90 days absence in the last year.
  • A clean immigration record for the past three years.

Special Cases: Flexibility in Requirements.

Sometimes, the government exercises discretion in cases where you might not meet every requirement. These could relate to the absence rule or the 12-month ‘no time limit’ requirement. Also, certain conditions like age or health might allow for exceptions on the language and life test.

Do note, some criteria are non-negotiable, like having a good character and meeting the basic residency criteria.

When to Apply?

You can apply after having settled status for five years, or just three years if you’re married to a British citizen. If you gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), the waiting period can vary based on your marital status.

Got ILR? What's Next?

If you’re married to a British citizen, you can apply immediately after getting ILR. Otherwise, you must wait one year post-ILR to start your naturalisation process. Trust us to guide you through this pivotal life event. Feel free to contact us for any more details or guidance.

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English Skills Needed: To become a British citizen, you need to show that you’re good at speaking one of the British languages, like English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic. The UKVI will only accept IELTS tests from approved centres. You must score at least a B1 on your test from ESOL. You’ll have to do well in speaking and listening parts of the exam. NVQs and GCSEs won’t work here.

Exemptions: There are some cases where you don’t have to prove your English skills:

  • If you have a degree taught in English.
  • If you’re over 65.
  • If you have a serious health condition.
  • You can also use an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) to show your degree is equal to a UK one and taught in English.

Life in the UK Test: The test costs £50 and has 24 multiple-choice questions about British life and history. To prepare, use the Life in the UK Handbook. You need to get at least 18 right answers to pass. You can try as many times as you need. If you’ve already passed this test for other Home Office needs, you don’t have to take it again.

Exceptions to Life in the UK Test: If you’re under 18 or over 65, or have a chronic illness, you’re excused from this test.

Good Character: You must be a person of ‘good character’. This term isn’t clearly defined, but the Home Office will look at your background for things like criminal activities or financial troubles. Be extra careful when filling out this part of the application.

Criminal Record: Having a criminal history could affect your application. Always disclose any criminal records, as not doing so could lead to problems down the line.

Absence Rules: You can’t be outside the UK for more than 90 days in the year before applying. Over a five-year period, you can’t be out of the UK for more than 450 days (or 270 days if you’re married to a British citizen).

EU Nationals: If you came to the UK before 2021, you need full EU settled status and five years of residency. New arrivals will need a valid visa that allows for naturalization.

Referees: You need two people to vouch for you. One should be a professional person, and the other should be a British citizen over 25. They can’t be related to you, work for the Home Office, or have a recent criminal record.

How Long Does It Take?

Most applications take around 6 months. Simpler cases may only take 3-4 months.

Travel Rules: You can leave the UK while waiting for your application to be processed. Just make sure to keep your original passport and show your immigration status when you return.

Days Outside the UK: You can’t be outside the UK for more than 90 days in the year before applying, or more than 450 days over five years (or 270 days if married to a British citizen).

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