Naturalisation Certificate (A Guide!)


The naturalisation certificate is issued to an individual as evidence that they have been granted British citizenship.

Naturalisation certificates can be used to apply for a British passport (original form only is accepted), and for general identification purposes. Strict rules apply however in order for the certificate to be acceptable.


Lost or stolen naturalisation certificate?

In the event you have misplaced your certificate, or it has been stolen, you should notify the Home Office and apply for a new certificate to be issued. You must also report to the police if stolen.


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Incorrect information on your naturalisation certificate?

Likewise, where the certificate contains errors, this should be brought to the attention of the Home Office with supporting evidence to show why the amendment is required. 

If UKVI has made an error when issuing the certificate, provided this can be evidenced, the certificate would usually be reissued. 

Certificates can also be ‘endorsed’ whereby the information contained was believed to be correct at the time of issue, but has since been proven or alleged by the certificate holder to now be incorrect.

Only endorsements relating to changes to personal details officially accepted by the Home Office can be used to change their personal details on a passport or passport application.


Are damaged, defaced or laminated naturalisation certificates acceptable for a passport application?

The UK passport office only accepts naturalisation certificates that are legible and in good, original condition. Plastic laminates will not be accepted.


How do I replace, amend or get a copy of my naturalisation certificate?

You may only request a duplicate certificate from UKVI if you were registered or naturalized after October 1986.

Replacement naturalisation certificates can be applied for using form NC, Application for Duplicate Citizenship Certificate.

You must pay a fee, £250 as at October 2020, to order a replacement registration or naturalisation certificate, or to correct mistakes on a certificate, unless the error was the UKVI’s fault.

If you became a citizen on or before 30 September 1986, you can search the National Archives and order a certified copy for a registration certificate issued between 1 January 1949 and 30 September 1986 or naturalisation certificate issued between 1 January 1844 and 30 September 1986.


How do I apply for my first naturalisation certificate?

There are two main routes to British naturalisation; the 5 year route and the 3 year route.

The 5-year route for British Naturalisation 

Typically, in order to qualify under this route you will need to have been in the UK lawfully for 5 years and for one of those years you must have held the status of indefinite leave to remain.

As with all the immigration categories you will have previously been in, there are residence requirements that you must meet. You must:

  • have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application
  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • been granted indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence and held this for at least 12 months, as mentioned above
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

Note that EEA nationals will typically need to have spent 6 years in the UK in order to qualify for British naturalisation.


The 3-year route for British Naturalisation 

Alternatively, if you are the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen you will be eligible to apply after 3 years in the UK. The residence requirements are as follows:

  • have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the date of your application
  • spent no more than 270 days outside the UK during those 3 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • been granted indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK


Naturalisation requirements 

Regardless of which route you qualify under, there are additional, mandatory requirements on applicants. You must:

  • be over 18 (there are separate provisions for children)
  • be considered to be of good character – this is a hugely complex area, and the ground cited in the majority of citizenship refusals
  • have met the knowledge of English language and life in the UK – this is a two part test that involves you passing the Life in the UK test and meeting the English language requirement as a separate limb
  • be of sound mind. This means you must be capable of making decisions for yourself

One of the more challenging requirements for applicants that travel extensively is the Residence Requirement. The application will need to detail your absences from the UK in the past 3 or 5 years depending on which route you qualify under.

You are expected to insert:

  • the dates that you left the UK
  • the date your returned
  • where you went
  • your reason for going there; and
  • how many days you were absent

Note that when calculating the number of days absent, the Home Office does not take into account days that were spent travelling.


Travelling while a citizenship application is under consideration

You are allowed to travel whilst your application has been submitted.

Previously, certified copies of your passport and BRP were accepted. Now you are required to submit your original BRP with the application which of course inhibits travel. The upside to this is that you are able to request your BRP back from the Home Office in order to travel.

It is important to stay in contact with your legal representative whilst you are travelling as you may be required to attend an interview before the application is submitted.

As well as that, your application might be approved and you will have a limited time in order to arrange your citizenship ceremony.


Naturalisation applications & certificates 

DavidsonMorris specialise in all aspects of UK naturalisation. 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 and British naturalisation applications. We have the insight to guide you through all stages of the process to make your British naturalisation application as smooth as possible. TO arrange a telephone consultation with one of our specialists, contact us.


Last updated: 30 October 2020 


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

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