How Can I Become A British Citizen?
The Law Of... becoming britishIf you're applying for British citizenship following Brexit, you might be confused about whether there are any changes to the process that might affect you.
Although the way in which you can apply for citizenship currently remains the same, it's a highly complex and time-consuming process – which is where our Immigration solicitors
How To Apply For Citizenship
You can apply for citizenship via naturalisation, or by registering as a British citizen. Adults follow the naturalisation process and children are registered as British Citizens.
Before you apply, you need to check whether you are eligible as there are different criteria that you must meet to be granted citizenship.
There's also a set fee for your application – this will vary depending on the type of application that you're making so it's important that you're aware of, and comfortable with, the fee before you continue.
The most common way of applying for citizenship
is through the process known as naturalisation.
You can apply for citizenship by naturalisation if you:
- Are aged 18 or over
- Are of a sound mind when you apply, so that you understand the process
- Don't have a serious or recent criminal record
- Haven't tried to deceive the Home Office, or you haven't been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years
- Will continue living in the UK
- Are able to communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable degree
- Have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK
- Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before you apply
- Have held indefinite leave (i.e. there's no specific date on which you were expected to leave) to remain in the UK for 12 months before you apply
- Have not been absent for longer than the permitted absences in the 12 month and 5 year period before you apply
If you're married to, or are the civil partner of, a British citizen and are applying for citizenship, the eligibility criteria are slightly different:
- You must be 18 years of age or over
- You must be married to, or are the civil partner of, a British citizen (at the time of your application)
- You need to be of sound mind, so that you understand the process
- You have to be able to adequately communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic)
- You need to possess sufficient knowledge of life in the UK
- You must not have a serious or recent criminal record
- You must be of good character and must not have tried to deceive the Home Office, or have been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years
- You need to be resident in the UK for a minimum of 3 years, have indefinite leave to remain when you apply, and you must meet certain residence requirements
Ways Of Applying
You can apply for citizenship by:
- Submitting an individual application
- Using an agent or representative to help with your application – this is usually a private company or individual who will guide you through the process and give you relevant advice.
Submitting Your Application
Once you've filled in your application, you will need to send it, along with specified fees and any supporting documents, to UK Visas and Immigration.
Waiting For A Decision
Once you've submitted your application, you'll receive a letter acknowledging your submission – this can take up to 4 weeks to reach you. It generally takes around 6 months for a decision to be made about your application, but bear in mind that this is just an estimate and some applications may take longer to review.
If your application is successful and you're over 18, you'll need to attend a citizenship ceremony. This is organised by your local council so you'll need to book your ceremony through them.
The ceremony usually takes place in a location near where you live and as part of the event you'll make an oath of allegiance and a pledge, promising to respect the rights, freedoms, and laws of the UK. Following this, you'll be given your certificate of naturalisation.
What Simpson Millar Can Do For You...
Applying for citizenship is a complicated process. Our Immigration solicitors
have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in this area and will walk you through the process step by step, from the first application through to acquiring citizenship. Our immigration law fees are transparent and fixed
, so you'll know which services you're receiving and you won't ever get any unexpected surprises.