Applying for British citizenship is a costly process and you will lose your application fee if refused. There is also no right of appeal.
We are on hand to help with your application.
With so much at stake, it will be important to get your application right first time.
DavidsonMorris are specialists in British citizenship applications. We can guide you through the process, from establishing eligibility to completing the form, compiling all necessary documentation and liaising with the Home Office on your behalf.
What is British Citizenship?
As a British citizen, you can live and work in the UK free from immigration controls. You can also apply for a British passport and you will attain the right to vote.
Am I eligible to apply for British citizenship?
Unless you are British by descent, you must apply to be granted British citizenship. Applications can be made by individuals who are married to a British citizen, or by individuals who meet certain criteria for through naturalisation.
The rules governing eligibility for British citizenship and for the application process are strict and vary depending on the circumstances of your application.
You are eligible to apply for British citizenship if you satisfy the following criteria:
- You must be 18 years old or over.
- You must not have a serious or recent criminal record.
- You have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, or as an EEA national have permanent residence in the UK or have been granted EU settled status.
- You have not broken any immigration laws or conditions while in the UK.
What will I need to show to apply for British citizenship?
As part of your application you will need to demonstrate:
- If you are married to a British citizen – that you have been in the UK for three years and have Indefinite Leave to Remain when you apply, and that you have not been outside of the UK for more than 90 days in the past 12 months or 270 days in the past three years.
- If you are not married to a British citizen – that you have lived in the UK for at least five years before your application date, that you have not been outside of the UK for more than 90 days in the last 12 months, or more than 450 days during the last five years, and that you will continue to live in the UK as a naturalised citizen.
What you need to know about British citizenship
It is important to check if your country of origin allows you to hold both British citizenship and citizenship of that country, as some do not permit this. The UK does allow you to have more than one nationality.
How long does the British Citizenship application process take?
On average, we advise our clients to anticipate that their British citizenship application will be processed in approximately 2-3 months if there are no issues or delays. Processing can take up to 6 months with more complex applications or if the Home Office caseload is high.
What does it cost to submit a British Citizenship application?
Home Office fees are subject to frequent change and you should check before sending in your application.
Also note, if you make a mistake and fail to submit a relevant document, your application will be automatically refused and you will lose the fees.
I am an EEA national, when can I apply to become British?
As an EEA national you will be eligible to become a British citizen once you have been living in the UK for a period of 5 years or more on the date of your application.
EEA nationals can apply in one of two ways.
You can apply to naturalise after 12 months with EU settled status, whereby you will be required to provide evidence that you meet the residency requirements. Alternatively, you can apply if you hold Permanent Residence in the UK.
Additional requirements apply to become British so it is advisable that you speak to one of our immigration lawyers who will be able to help you through the process.
There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen, so it is best to consult DavidsonMorris to discuss the best options for your application.
What happens when a dependent child is also applying for British citizenship at the same time?
A parent can apply for British citizenship under Form AN at the same time as their child (under Form MN1). Parents should however consider the possibility that the child may be found to be eligible for registration, but that their own application may be refused.
Section 7 of Form MN1 invites the parent to confirm that, in this event, the child should still be registered as a British citizen.
If the relevant box is not ticked, the child’s application will be treated as having been withdrawn at the point when the parent’s application is refused. The child’s application fee (£936) will not be refunded.
What if the application is refused?
You may resubmit an application however it is important to understand why the application failed in the first instance and how this can be addressed or rectified, for example an error in completing the form, the incorrect fee paid or failure on discretionary grounds.
I have criminal convictions will this affect my citizenship application?
Previous offences and convictions are likely to affect your British citizenship application, although this does depend upon the type of conviction or offence.
For more information, it is best to speak to DavidsonMorris. Our lawyers will be able to advise as to when a conviction will become spent and when it is possible to apply for citizenship.
How we can help you
At DavidsonMorris we have the experience to advise you on the most appropriate type of application for your individual circumstances and have the insight to make the application process as smooth as possible.
As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of British citizenship applications.