Sections

British Citizenship

If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.

There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’.

You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’re of sound mind
  • you’re of good character
  • you’ll continue to live in the UK
  • you have met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements

You must usually also have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 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 stay in the UK, ie there’s no specific date that you have to leave
  • had indefinite leave to stay in the UK for the last 12 months
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.

You can’t include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control (eg as a diplomat or member of visiting armed forces) as part of the 5 years.

You may be able to apply to become a British citizen by ‘registration’ in certain circumstances.

Children under 18

You can apply on behalf of a child under 18 if they meet the eligibility criteria. They don’t have to pass the Life in the UK Test.

If your spouse is a British citizen

If you’re married to, or the civil partner of, a British citizen, you can apply for citizenship if:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’re of sound mind
  • you’re of good character
  • you have met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements
  • you have no immigration time restrictions

Unless your spouse or civil partner works abroad either for the UK government or for an organisation closely linked to government, you must usually also have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 3 years before your application is received
  • spent no more than 270 days outside the UK in those 3 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

After you’ve applied you’ll get a letter confirming your application. It can take up to 4 weeks for you to get the confirmation.

A decision about your application will usually be made within 6 months - some applications can take longer.

Citizenship ceremonies

You’ll be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony if your application is successful and you’re over 18.  You must attend a citizenship ceremony if you’re living in the UK at the time.  Your ceremony will usually take place close to where you live.  You’re usually allowed to take 2 guests with you and you must take your invitation with you when you go to your ceremony.

Citizenship ceremonies are organised by your local council and are usually done in groups. You can organise your citizenship ceremony with your council if you want a private ceremony or have any special requirements.

During the ceremony

You’ll have to make an ‘oath of allegiance’ (or you can make an ‘affirmation’ if you prefer not to swear by God) and a pledge. This means you’ll promise to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK.

Citizenship certificate

You’ll be presented with your certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack. Some local councils arrange for photographs or videos of the event to be available for you to buy.