As a British citizen, you can live and work in the UK free from immigration controls. 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 ‘naturalisation’.

What is naturalisation?

British naturalisation is the process by which you can apply to become a British citizen. For some countries you are not permitted to hold 2 nationalities so it is worth checking before you commence your application that you are eligible and what is likely impact of your current right to nationality of applying to become British.

The rules governing eligibility for British citizenship and for the application process are strict and vary depending on the circumstances of your application.

Am I eligible to apply for naturalisation?

You are eligible to apply 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 not broken any immigration laws or conditions while in the UK.
  • You must satisfy the English language requirements and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test.

What is the naturalisation process?

If you have held the grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least 12 months, you maybe eligible to apply for naturalisation.

The application can only be submitted via post and must include relevant documentation including the application form completed by yourself and referees. Thereafter, UKVI will review and check your visa status in the UK as well as checking for an criminal or civil matters which may disbar you.

Once approved, you will receive an invitation to attend at a Citizenship ceremony which is usually local to where you live and at the ceremony you will receive your Certificate of Naturalisation.

Thereafter you are free to apply for a British passport which is usually processed within approximately six weeks and the UKVI can ask to interview you before processing the application.

You can apply for naturalisation after 12 months of indefinite leave to remain.

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 we can help

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 and naturalisation applications.

Do you need help with a naturalisation application?

Featured Videos

How does a non-EEA national apply for naturalisation?

What if your naturalisation application is refused?

How does an EU citizen apply for UK naturalisation?

Your Questions Answered

What will I need to show to apply for naturalisation?

There are a number of criteria which must be satisfied in full before your application will be approved, in brief:

  • Time spent in the UK
  • Date when you were granted Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • Have you passed Life in the UK test
  • Can you satisfy English language requirement
  • The total number of absences from the UK over the qualifying period
  • Any criminal or civil matters which may disbar you

The application form is fairly straight forward but the information concerning yourself, absences and documents that you submit in support of your application must be 100% else the application will be delayed or worse refused and in some cases action taken if UKVI allege you have made a false statement or submitted a fake document.

The British citizenship application is submitted via post and will be reviewed and checked by UKVI to cover your visa status, tax status, criminal and civil matters.

Once approved, you will receive an invitation to attend at a Citizenship ceremony which is usually local to where you live and at the ceremony you will receive your Certificate of Naturalisation.

Thereafter you are free to apply for a British passport which is usually processed within approximately six weeks.

How long does it take to get British citizenship?

On average, we advise our clients to anticipate that their application will be processed in approximately 3 months to process naturalisation applications. The complexity of your application will determine how long it will take for your application to be processed as well as the volume of other applications they have to process.

Note – Under the current rules, you do not need to send your original passport with the application providing a certified copy (every page) of your passport is sent as part of the document bundle. This allows you to continue to travel whilst your application is being processed.

What is the cost of naturalisation?

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.

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 recitifed, 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 application?

Yes, previous offences and convictions are likely to affect your application, although this does depend upon the type of conviction or offence.

For more information, it is best to speak to DavidsonMorris. Our solicitors will be able to advise as to when a conviction will become spent and when it is possible to apply to naturalise.

Naturalisation Articles


EU Naturalisation.

EU naturalisation is the process by which EEA nationals with more than 6 years in the UK can apply to become a British citizen, and be eligible for a British passport.

Read more
  • leave-to-remain-spent-convictions

Disclosing Spent Convictions

Proposal to change rehabilitation periods for spent convictions A private members bill has been put to Parliament in July 2019 which [...]

Contact Us

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Telephone number


Your Message