What is Naturalisation?

Naturalisation is the legal process by which a non-British adult can apply for British citizenship

Naturalisation is not an entitlement. It is a matter of law as set out in the British Nationality Act 1981 and the Home Secretary may exercise discretion to naturalise you only if you satisfy a number of statutory requirements. It may be possible to grant your application even if you are not able to meet all of the requirements, but this cannot be done in all cases.

Becoming a British citizen is a significant life event. Apart from allowing you to apply for a British citizen passport, British citizenship gives you the opportunity to participate more fully in your local community.

What criteria must you meet if you are not married to or the civil partner of a British Citizen?

The legal requirements you should meet before you apply are that you:

  • Are aged 18 or over when you apply
  • Are of sound mind so that you understand the step you are taking
  • Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before you apply
  • Must be free from immigration restrictions for the UK on the date you make the application and for the 12-month period before making the application
  • Must not have had more than 450 days outside the UK in the 5-year period before making the application
  • Must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12-month period before making the application
  • Must have been physically present in the UK on the day 5 years before the application is received by the Home Office
  • Must not have been in breach of immigration laws in the 5-year period before making your application
  • Intend to continue to live in the UK
  • Have passed the Life in the UK test
  • Have sufficient speaking and listening knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • Are of good character

    Further Information and FAQs

    • How can you show that you are free from immigration restrictions for the UK?

      People who are free from immigration restrictions will usually hold a status such as indefinite leave to remain (ILR), including ILR issued under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), which is also known as settled status. You will also meet this condition if you have the right of abode in the UK. Irish citizens are also considered settled from their date of arrival in the UK, meaning they are free from immigration restrictions for naturalisation purposes without having to hold leave under the immigration rules.

      When applying, you must provide one of the following to show you are free from immigration restrictions:

      • Your 16-digit unique application number (UAN) if you have been granted indefinite leave (also known as settled status) under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
      • Your biometric residence permit, passport, Home Office letter or any other documents confirming your right to remain permanently in the UK
      • Valid certificate of entitlement to the right of abode
      • If you are an Irish national, you must provide your Irish passport

      If you are not free from immigration restrictions, you should apply for permission to stay permanently in the UK before you seek to naturalise and wait a further 12 months before applying if you are not married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen.

    • What happens if you exceed the statutory absence requirements?

      There is discretion to disregard absences in excess of the limits if there are special circumstances. Excess absences may be disregarded attributable to some of the following reasons:

      • You meet all of the other requirements and you have established your home, family and a substantial part of your estate in the UK
      • An unavoidable consequence of the nature of your work. For example, if you are working for a UK based business which requires frequent travel abroad
      • Exceptional or compelling reasons of an occupational or compassionate nature such as having a firm job offer for which British citizenship is a genuine requirement
      • You were unable to return to the UK because of a global pandemic
      • A posting abroad in Crown or designated service

      If any of the above apply, you must provide documentary evidence of the reasons for your excess absences. Otherwise, your application is likely to fail and your fee will not be fully refunded.

    • Are there any exemptions to meeting the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirements?

      You must demonstrate both knowledge of language and life in the UK unless you are aged 65 and over or have a long-term physical or mental condition that permanently prevents you from doing so.

    • What happens if your application is successful?

      If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. You will receive an invitation from the Home Office, and this will confirm the local authority you should contact to arrange your ceremony. 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.

      You will be asked to affirm or swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Monarch and to pledge your loyalty to the UK. This is a legal requirement for adults and is the point at which you will become a British citizen. Following this, you will be presented with your certificate of naturalisation as a British citizen.

Why Viaje

Why use VIAJE for British Citizenship (Naturalisation) matters?

Managed many successful applications filed under the British Nationality Act 1981 for British citizenship and obtained approval for many complex discretionary applications on the basis of legal representations written as regards the residence and good character grounds

It’s all taken care of: we provide expert legal advice specific to your matter

Excellent technical knowledge of all aspects of British citizenship (naturalisation) matters

Cost effective service with upfront fixed fees so that you know what to expect

Being able to contact your lawyer out of traditional office hours, assisting clients globally

Unwavering commitment to delivering excellent client care

Meticulous preparation of all supporting documentation to expedite the approval process

If you’re seeking to
Naturalise as a British Citizen,
we’re here to help

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