Unless you have a claim to Citizenship based on ancestry you will probably have to apply for naturalisation in one of the following two categories:
- Naturalisation after five years in the UK (in practice for many it is after six years).
- Naturalisation after three years in the UK as a spouse of an UK Citizen
Please note that you have to pass the UK government's Life in the UK Test and in some circumstances you will need to take an English language test before you can apply for citizenship.
Naturalisation after five years in the UK
Please note that many people this is after six years in the UK, as it usually takes five years to gain indefinite leave to remain and then you have to wait an additional year before you can apply for citizenship.
If you are not married to a British Citizen you will need to meet the following requirements to apply for naturalisation:
- You must be aged 18 or over and are not of unsound mind.
- You must be of good character.
- You should be able to communicate in the English language (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic). There are exemptions to this requirement, for example if you are elderly or mentally handicapped.
- You should intend to live in the UK or in Crown Service abroad (working directly for an UK Government organisation), or be employed by an international organisation of which the UK is a member, or be employed by a company or association established in the United Kingdom.
You will also need to meet the following residence requirements over the last five years.
- You must have been physically in the UK exactly five years before the date the application reaches the Home Office; and
- During the last five years you must not have been outside the United Kingdom for more than 450 days (about 15 months); and
- During the last 12 months of the five-year period you must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days; and
- During the last 12 months of the five-year period your stay in the United Kingdom you must have held permanent residence/ indefinite leave to remain (ILR); and
- You must not have been living in the United Kingdom in breach of the UK immigration rules at any time during the five-year period ending with the date that the application is received by the Home Office.
The processing times for naturalization applications can take a number of months. If you would like assistance with a naturalisation application made on the basis of having permanent residency, please contact our office on 0344 991 9222 or complete our online enquiry form for naturalization.
Naturalisation after three years in the UK as a spouse of an UK Citizen
The requirements for naturalisation as a spouse of a British citizen are very similar to those mentioned above. The main difference is that there is a shorter residency requirement of three years in the UK as opposed to five years. The three years of the residency requirement are counted from the date your naturalization application is received by the Home Office.
Further details on residency requirements are as follows:
- You must have been living in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the three- year period; and
- On the date that your application is received in the Home Office, you must have permanent residence/ ILR in the UK; and
- During the three-year period you must not have been outside the UK for more than 270 days (approximately 9 months); and
- During the last 12 months of the three-year period you must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days; and
- You must not have been in breach of any UK immigration rules at any time during this three-year period of residence in the UK.
Please contact us for more information and assistance on making an application for naturalisation based on marriage to a British citizen.