Becoming a British citizen is a significant life event and can be achieved through one of a number of ways. Dependant on individual circumstances, the most popular ways of acquiring British Citizenship is through either Registration or Naturalisation.
British Nationality is a comprehensive and a detailed process due to the legislation that surrounds it and it is crucial that legal advice and assistance is sought at the beginning of the process to avoid any unnecessary complications or delays. We are experts in assisting with ‘non-standard’ or complex claims for British Citizenship.
Naturalisation is the process whereby non-British adults who have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, either on the basis of their marriage to a UK Citizen or on some other basis, become British. 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, though there is a right to request a review of an unfavourable decision.
What requirements do I need to meet?
The criteria to be met before naturalisation is granted are that you must:
- Be over the age of 18 years of age and be of sound mind;
- Meet the ‘residence requirements’ i.e. have been lawfully resident in the UK for a minimum of 5 years on the date of their application, unless the application is on the basis of marriage to a UK Citizen, in which case a minimum of 3 years lawful residence is required;
- Have no time limits on your stay in the UK
- Be of good character
- Have sufficient knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic and have sufficient knowledge of Life in the UK.
In addition to these requirements, all applicants except those applying on the basis of their marriage to a British Citizen must also show that they intend to live permanently in the UK and to have their main home here.
If naturalisation is granted you will have to attend a Citizenship ceremony, usually held by your local authority, where an oath of allegiance or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen will have to be taken, and a pledge of loyalty to the UK given, before the process of becoming a British Citizen is complete.
Registration is a simpler method of acquiring citizenship than naturalisation, but only certain people are eligible for it.
Registration is the only way in which children can become British and is also used for adults in special circumstances. It is necessary for those over ten years old to be of good character, but 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 7 February 1961 and 1 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, as indeed they still remain for people born abroad to British mothers before 7 February 1961.
British nationals (other than British citizens) who have indefinite leave to remain 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 persons 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, British subjects and British protected persons who have no other nationality
- Former British citizens who renounced British citizenship
Our team of Immigration Lawyers have a wealth of experience in British Nationality Law and are available for advice and assistance with the application process and documentary evidence required to ensure that your application meets the stringent requirements.
If you would like to know more about obtaining British Citizenship or you wish to discuss your Immigration matter Contact us today.