#1 What is Naturalisation?
Naturalisation as a British Citizen is made if you can demonstrate that you satisfy certain legal requirements.
Generally, naturalisation will occur after residing for a qualifying period of time in the UK and attaining ILR. The qualifying period will differ if you are applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a British Citizen.
If you Naturalise, you are eligible to apply for a passport and will have have the same rights and obligations as every other British Citizen.
#2 Who can qualify?
You may be eligible to apply for Naturalisation as a British Citizen after 5 years legal residence in the UK, or 3 years legal residence if you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen.
You will also need to meet the following requirements:
- Be aged 18 or over
- Be of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking
- Intend to continue to live in the UK
- Meet the English language requirements
- Have passed the Knowledge of Life test
- Be of good character
- Meet the legal residence qualifying period
#3 What if I hold another British Nationality?
If you are a British Overseas Citizen, a British National (Overseas), a British Subject, or a British Protected Person then you may be eligible to apply as a British Citizen through registration.
Further information and guidance can be found here.
If you are eligible to apply for registration, you will need to complete a form and pay the corresponding fees:
- For applications from the UK, you will need to fill in the form online.
- For postal applications from the Channel Islands, or Isle of Man, or elsewhere overseas, you will find application information here .
- For applications outside of the UK (excluding the Channel Islands and Isle of Man), you will need to will need to apply online here.
#4 What is the residence qualifying period?
3 year route
If you are married to or the civil partner of a British Citizen, you can apply under the 3 year route. You must:
- Have been in the UK for 3 years and have ILR on the date of application
- Have been living in the UK at the start of those 3 years
- Not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in those 3 years
- Not have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days in 12 months before application
5 year route
If you are not married to or the civil partner of a British Citizen, you must apply under the 5 year route. You must:
- Have been in the UK for 5 years and have had ILR for 12 months on date of application.
- Not have been absent for more than 450 days in that 5 year period
- Not have been absent for more than 90 days in the 12 months before application
In addition, you should not have been in breach of immigration law during the residential qualifying period and must have had the necessary permission under UK immigration laws to be in the UK.
#5 What date can I submit my application?
It is extremely important that you submit your application a day when you were physically present in the UK at the beginning of the qualifying period.
For instance – if you submit your application on 1st December 2019, then you must have been physically present in the UK on 1st December 2016, or 1st December 2014, depending on whether you are using the 3 year or 5 year qualifying period.
#6 What does “to be of good character” mean?
To be of good character means that you have shown respect for the rights and freedoms of the UK, have observed UK laws and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident.
You must declare any previous warnings, cautions, reprimands, custodial or non-custodial sentences and any past, current or future court appearances, in your application. You must also declare any involvement with War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, Genocide or Terrorism. This is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding this policy is available on this website.
Note that full background checks will be conducted when you submit your application and any attempt to conceal any previous history in the UK, or outside of the UK, may result in your application being rejected or you being removed from the UK.
#7 Can my Naturalisation be revoked?
If it is found that you used deception in your application, or that you are a threat to national security, the Home Office reserves the right to revoke your Naturalisation.
#8 How do I calculate absences from the UK?
When you complete your application form, you will be required to list all of your absences from the UK in the 3 or 5 years preceding your application – depending on whether you are applying under the 3 or 5 year route.
You must detail:
- The date that you left the UK
- The date that you returned to the UK
- Where you went
- Your reason for going there
- How many days you were absent
Calculating how many days you were absent from the UK can be confusing as the Home Office does not count travel days as absences from the UK. However, you are still required to note every time you travelled out with the UK.
So, for example, even if you went from London to Paris in the morning and returned the same day, you will need to record this absence and write 0 days absence.
A reminder of the residence requirements:
3 year route
- You must not have spent more than 270 days outside the UK during those 3 years
- You must not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
5 year route
- You must not have spent more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
- You must not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
#9 What documents must I provide?
Along with your application for Naturalisation, you will need to provide the following:
- Biometric information – your fingerprints and photograph
- Proof of identity
- Proof that you meet the English language requirements
- Proof that you have passed the Life in the UK test
- Proof of legal residence in the UK for the required period of time
- Proof of UK indefinite leave to remain
- Proof of relationship status if applying as a partner/spouse of a British citizen
#10 How can I apply for Naturalisation?
There are two ways you can apply for Naturalisation. Either:
- Submit an online application form yourself
- Use an agent or representative
#11 Where do I find the Naturalisation application form?
Use this form and guidance if you wish to apply for British Naturalisation in the UK.
Use this form and guidance if you wish to apply for British Naturalisation and live overseas.
#12 How much do all Naturalisation services cost?
If you are over 18 years of age, to apply for Naturalisation from inside the UK, it costs £1,330 plus an additional £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photographs) taken.
Current fee tables for all Naturalisation services are as follows:
|Naturalisation British overseas territory citizens||£1,000||£1,000||£0|
|Nationality registration as a British citizen – adult||£1,206||£1,206||£0|
|Nationality registration as a British citizen – child||£1,012||£1,012||£0|
|The arrangement of a citizenship ceremony (including the administration of a citizenship oath and pledge at the ceremony).||£80||£80||£0|
|The administration of a citizenship oath, or oath and pledge where the oath, or oath and pledge, are not administered at a citizenship ceremony or by a justice of the peace.||£5||£5||£0|
|Nationality registration British overseas territory citizen, British overseas citizens, British Subjects, British protected persons – adult||£901||£901||£0|
|Nationality registration – British overseas territory citizen, British overseas citizens, British Subjects, British protected persons – child||£810|
#13 How long does the process take?
On average, decisions on your application for Naturalisation take 4-6 months. If successful, you will receive a letter from the Home Office inviting you to book a place for a Citizenship Ceremony.
#14 Who can be referees on my application?
You will need two referees on your application who have known you for at least 2 years.
One must be a person of professional standing, of any nationality and the other must be a British Citizen, aged 25 or over or a professional person.
For child applications, one referee must be a person who has engaged with the child in a professional capacity such as a doctor or a teacher, and the other must be a British Citizen, aged 25 or over or a professional person.
#15 Can I travel while my application is being decided?
You are entitled to travel while your application is being decided. However, bear in mind that you are required to submit your original passport and BRP with your application. Therefore you will have to request these back from the Home Office which could delay your application.
Also important to remember that you are only allowed to be absent from the UK for 90 days in the 12 months preceding your application.
#16 What is the Citizenship Ceremony?
If you are over the age of 18 and your application is successful, you will need to attend a Citizenship Ceremony. You will have 90 days to book this ceremony. If you do not attend the ceremony within 90 days without good reason, your application for citizenship will be refused and you will need to re-apply
If you are in the UK, bookings are made through your local council. The cost of the Citizenship Ceremony is £80. You are usually allowed to invite 2 guests.
If you are outside the UK, arrangements will be made for you to make the oath/affirmation and pledge at the British Embassy, High Commission, Consulate, Governor’s Office or Lieutenant Governor’s Office.
At the ceremony, you will be asked to affirm or swear an oath of allegiance and to pledge your loyalty to the UK and then be presented with your certificate of registration as a British citizen.
#17 What happens after I receive my Naturalisation certificate?
You must send your biometric residence permit (BRP) back to the Home Office within 5 working days of getting your certificate of British citizenship along with a covering letter explaining that you have now become a British Citizen.
You must send your BRP and letter to:
PO Box 195
Be aware that you will be fined £1000 for failure to return your BRP within 5 working days after receiving your Naturalisation certificate.
- You can apply for a British passport. You can find more information here about applying for your first British passport.
- If you do not want a British passport you can apply for a certificate of entitlement instead.
Please note that you cannot enter the UK using your certificate of British Citizenship.
#18 What is a Certificate of Entitlement?
This is a certificate that proves that you have Right of Abode in the UK and goes in your passport. If your passport expires, you will need to apply for a new Right of Abode certificate.
If applying from inside the UK
- You must complete fill in the online application form and pay £372
If applying from outside the UK
- You must apply online and pay £388
You cannot apply for a Right of Abode certificate if you already have a British passport or a valid certificate of entitlement in another foreign passport.
#19 Do Irish nationals need to meet the qualifying period?
If you are an Irish national, you do not need to apply for a permanent residence document before you apply for naturalisation. This is because Ireland is part of the Common Travel Area and Irish citizens are not normally subject to any form of immigration control on arrival in the United Kingdom.
#20 Can I apply to naturalise my children ( under 18 years of age) ?
A separate application must be made for each individual – children cannot be included in an adult’s application.
You can apply to register your children for citizenship if they were born:
- Outside of the UK
- Inside the UK before you were granted indefinite leave to remain
Your child may automatically be a British citizen if they were born both:
- In the UK
- After you were granted indefinite leave to remain
Click here for information and guidance on registering children under 18 years of age.
#21 Can I hold dual citizenship?
Dual Citizenship – or dual nationality – is allowed in the UK. This means you can have both British Citizenship and the Citizenship of another country.
But be aware that some countries do not allow their nationals to hold dual Citizenship – you will have to check with your own country’s authorities about their laws on dual nationality.
#22 What is the English language requirement to naturalize as a British Citizen?
In order to naturalize as a British Citizen, you are required to show that you meet minimum B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in speaking and listening.
You may meet the English requirement in several ways:
- By passing an English language test in speaking and listening at B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
- The test provider must be approved by the Home Office and can be found in Appendix O of the Immigration Rules.
- By being a national of one of these majority English speaking countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago USA.
- Holding an academic qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree or higher (not including professional and vocational qualifications) that have been taught in English
- Holding an academic qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree or higher (not including professional and vocational qualifications) from one of the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda;
- The Bahamas;
- Dominica; Grenada;
- New Zealand;
- St Kitts and Nevis;
- St Lucia;
- St Vincent and
- The Grenadines;
- Trinidad and Tobago;
- the UK;
- the USA
- Already having met the B1 English language requirement in a previous UK visa category that has provided you with continuous permission to reside in the UK
You are exempt from the language requirement, if you fall under any of these categories:
- You are under the age of 18 (at the time you make the application); or
- You are over 65 (at the time you make the application); or
- You have a physical or mental condition that makes it unreasonable for you to fulfil the standard English language requirements
#23 Are there any other tests to naturalize as a British Citizen?
To naturalize as a British Citizen, you must also successfully pass the Knowledge of Life Test. This is a computer based test based on the contents of the handbook, Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents. There are 24 multiple choice questions and you will be given 45 minutes to complete the test. You will be told if you have passed the test the same day.