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Applying for British Citizenship
Becoming a British citizen is a significant life event and can be achieved in a number of ways, depending on your individual circumstances. The most common ways of acquiring UK citizenship is through registration or naturalisation.
Achieving British nationality is a comprehensive and detailed process due to the legislation that surrounds it, so it is crucial that legal advice and assistance is sought at the beginning of the process to avoid any unnecessary complications or delays.
The immigration solicitors at JMW are experts in assisting with applications for British citizenship, regardless of how complex a claim may be.
To speak to a solicitor about making an application for British citizenship, get in touch with us today by calling 0203 675 7600, or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the immigration team will get back to you.
How JMW Can Help
Our team of immigration lawyers has a wealth of experience in British nationality law and are available to provide advice and assistance with the application process, and documentary evidence to ensure that your application meets the stringent requirements.
We aim to provide our clients with the highest-quality service and will always go that extra step to meet your needs. We are aware of the variety of different circumstances and requirements that can affect any individuals, and this understanding helps us handle your application comprehensively.
You will be in direct contact with the solicitor handling your application throughout the process, and will receive regular updates on its progress.
What is Naturalisation?
Naturalisation is the process whereby non-British adults who have been granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, either on the basis of their marriage to a UK citizen or becoming British through some other means. There is no automatic right to British citizenship, and such applications are always at the discretion of the Secretary of State. There is no right of appeal against a refusal; however, there is a right to request a review of an unfavourable decision.
What are the Requirements for Naturalisation?
The criteria that need to be met before naturalisation is granted include:
- Being over the age of 18, and of sound mind
- Being lawfully resident in the UK for a minimum of five years on the date of the application - unless the application is on the basis of marriage to a UK citizen, in which case a minimum of three years lawful residence is required
- Having no time limits on your stay in the UK
- Being of good character
- Having sufficient knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
- Having sufficient knowledge of life in the UK
In addition to these requirements, all applicants, except those applying on the basis of marriage to a British citizen, must also show that they intend to live permanently in the UK and have their main home here.
If naturalisation is granted, you will be required to attend a citizenship ceremony before the process of naturalisation is complete - this is usually held by the local authority. The ceremony includes an oath of allegiance or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen, and a pledge of loyalty to the UK.
How to Become a British Citizen Through Registration
Registration is a simpler method of acquiring citizenship than naturalisation, but only certain people are eligible for it. The process is the only way in which children can become British, and is also used for adults in special circumstances. An application requires those aged over 10 years old to be of good character; however, it is not necessary to demonstrate knowledge of the language, or of life in the UK.
It is now also possible for people born to certain British mothers between 7th February 1961 and 1st January 1983 to register as British. At the time when they were born, only British fathers could pass on their nationality to children born abroad.
British nationals (other than British citizens) who have ILR in the UK or a right of abode are eligible for British citizenship by registration after five years’ residence in the United Kingdom.
Other cases where somebody may be entitled to registration include:
- Registration by birth or adoption in the UK
- Registration on parents becoming British or settled in the UK
- Registration due to early years spent in the UK
- Birth outside the UK
- British overseas citizens, subjects and protected persons who have no other nationality
- Former British citizens who renounced citizenship