Naturalisation

Naturalisation applications are costly and you will not be refunded if your application is refused.

We can help you apply for British naturalisation.

Unless you are British by descent, to become a UK citizen you have to apply to the Home Office through the process of British naturalisation.

With British citizenship, you can apply for a British passport, vote, and live and work in the UK free from immigration controls.

Through your naturalisation application, you will need to evidence that you meet the naturalisation criteria, or your application will be refused and your fee will not be refunded.

British naturalisation requirements

You are eligible to apply for British naturalisation if you satisfy the following criteria:

Age
You are 18 years old or over.

UK residence & valid status

You have held settled status in the UK for at least 12 months at the time of making your application, either under Indefinite Leave to Remain, or as an EEA national have permanent residence in the UK or settled status.

Absence
You do not have excessive absences from the UK during the qualifying period, ie more than 450 days in the last 5 years and absences have not exceeded 90 days 12 months immediately prior to submitting your application. When calculating the number of days absent, the Home Office does not take into account days that were spent travelling.

Naturalisation test
You satisfy the English language requirements and have passed the Life in the UK test.

Good character
You are of ‘good character’ and do not have a serious or recent criminal record and have not broken any immigration laws or conditions while in the UK.

Naturalisation as a spouse of a British citizen

Spouses of British citizens can apply after three years’ continuous residence in the UK, where they have ILR, permanent residency or settled status.

Absences can be no more than 270 days in the last 3 years and have not exceeded 90 days 12 months immediately prior to submitting your application.

British naturalisation & dual nationality

Before applying to naturalise as a British citizen, you should also confirm if your existing country of nationality permits citizens to hold dual citizenship with the UK. As some countries do not permit citizens to hold two nationalities, it will be important to understand the impact of British naturalisation on your current nationality.

How to make a British naturalisation application

To apply to naturalise as a British citizen, you will need to complete form (AN) and pay the UK naturalisation application fee of £1,330 (as set in March 2019).

In support of your application, you will also need to compile and submit documents to prove your eligibility.

While the application form may be relatively straightforward, the information concerning yourself, absences and documents that you submit in support of your application must be comprehensive or you risk the application being delayed or refused, with a loss of your application fee.

UKVI also have powers to take action where it is alleged you have made a false statement or submitted a fraudulent document.

In most cases, you will also need to attend an appointment at a UKVCAS centre to submit your biometric information.

Once submitted, UKVI will then review your submission, cross-referencing with information such as HMRC records, verifying your visa status in the UK and as well as checking for any criminal or civil matters which may disbar you.

If approved, you will receive an invitation to attend a Citizenship ceremony at a centre local to you. Here, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalisation, which you can use to apply for a British passport.

British naturalisation application referees

You will need to provide details of two referees within your naturalisation application. Both naturalisation referees must have known you personally for at least three years. One of the referees must be a person with a professional standing e.g. accountant, police officer, chemist etc, and can be of any nationality. The other referee person should be a British citizen with a British passport and either be a professional person or be aged over 25. Both referees must sign and complete the same page with a passport picture of you attached. You cannot use two separate pages.

Naturalisation application refused?

If your naturalisation application has been refused, you will need to understand the grounds for refusal to determine your next steps, whether that is to resubmit the application or to make a new one. For example, was there an error in completing the form, did you pay the incorrect fee or was the application refused on discretionary grounds? Given what is at stake, taking advice can help to understand your options and how best to proceed.

Naturalisation with a criminal record

Previous offences and convictions are likely to impact your naturalisation application. The degree to which you will be affected will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the offence(s), whether you received a custodial sentence and whether the conviction is spent. You are required by law to disclose all criminal offences as part of your naturalisation application. Failure to do so can result in a refused application and can impact any future UK applications you make.

How we can help

British naturalisation applications commonly fail due to incorrect documentation, errors when completing the form and failing to respond to Home Office enquiries in a timely manner.

You can avoid a refused application by taking professional advice on how to make your British naturalisation application.

We understand how stressful Home Office application processes can be, and take a proactive approach to keeping you updated on the progress of your application. We take great pride in playing a supportive role to ease the pressure as you make a life-changing process.

British naturalisation FAQS

Can you travel after submitting your naturalisation application?

Yes, you are permitted to travel in and out of the UK while your naturalisation application is being processed.

What is the British naturalisation application fee?

It costs £1,330 to make a British naturalisation application. Note that Home Office fees are subject to frequent change and you should double-check the cost when submitting your application to avoid a delay or refusal on the grounds of failing to pay the appropriate fee.

How long does British naturalisation take?

Most British naturalisation applications take between 3-4 months to be processed. Straight forward applications can be decided within 2 months, and more complex can take up to 6 months. Processing times will also vary depending on the Home Office's caseload.

How can DavidsonMorris help?

As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we can support you through every step of the British naturalisation process, from guidance on eligibility and completing the application form to compiling the relevant supporting documents.

Need advice?

Contact our experts:

020 7494 0118

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