Apply for British Naturalisation
By its definition, naturalisation is a legal process through which someone changes their nationality. Successful applicants for British naturalisation are officially considered British citizens internationally and carry all the same rights both nationally and internationally as anyone born in the UK.
For a long time, people living in the UK under foreign citizenship had not been able to apply to become a full British national through naturalisation. For example, before 1844 UK naturalisation could only be granted by an official and private act of parliament. Since 1844, the costs of naturalisation have come down and it has been dealt with directly by the Home Office itself.
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What Exactly Is British Naturalisation?
At its most basic level, British naturalisation is the most commonly used route for people with foreign citizenship to apply to become a British citizen. If you are successful and become naturalised as a full British national, you’ll gain the same rights as anyone born here. You’ll be able to live and work in the UK freely without being held subject to immigration control or immigration laws. For a lot of people coming to the UK with the intention of finally settling here as a British national, UK naturalisation is an important final step in their immigration route.
In order to be eligible to apply for British naturalisation, you’ll have to meet certain criteria. As well as this, you’ll need to also demonstrate certain characteristics that prove you are an appropriate candidate for becoming a British subject, which might include:
- Passing the Life in the UK test – an official government test set by the Home Office in which you will have to prove an understanding of British culture, customs and tradition.
- Proving that you have spoken and written proficiency in a recognised British language – This may include having to take an IELTS Language test to prove your proficiency. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t necessarily have to be English – you are also eligible if you can speak, read and write Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
- Demonstrating you have ‘good character’ – The clearest and obvious way to discern this is usually a criminal record. If you have a proven criminal record, you may be in danger of being perceived to not have ‘good character’ in your UK naturalisation application.
Do You Meet British Citizenship Eligibility?
Becoming naturalised as a full British national means that you no longer have to worry about making visa applications or abiding by the requirements and eligibility criteria of Indefinite Leave to Remain. As a non-EEA citizen hoping to come from a non-European country to settle in the UK, the likelihood is that you will have to apply for naturalisation on the basis of having spent 5 years in the UK lawfully or 12 months in a settled status unless you have a claim for British citizenship based on your ancestry. However, there are different eligibility requirements to be aware of.
The eligibility requirements to file a successful citizenship application in the UK are quite strict. This is because it is generally the last step in a foreign national’s journey to earning all the same rights as people born in the UK. Crucially, this also means that you will be able to apply for an official British passport and gain all the same international travelling rights as any UK citizen.
British nationality law and immigration control is strict in general, so we always recommend seeking professional advice when assessing your eligibility. The experienced and OISC-accredited immigration lawyers here at LPS can provide comprehensive immigration advice and assistance, helping to assess your eligibility and to also help put your application together too, strengthening your chances of success.
As an adult, non-EEA national applicant seeking to become a full British national, you must have spent the required amount of time in the UK before applying. The time requirement is entirely based on your current and previous immigration status – for most applicants, you must have been living in the UK lawfully for five years, although spouses of British nationals can complete the same process after three years of living in the UK.
What to do now?
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are the UK Child Dependent Visa requirements?
- under the age of 18;
- not leading an independent life;
- not married or in a civil partnership; and
- has not formed an independent family unit.
There are several additional requirements, with more for adopted children.
If the parent of the dependent child applies to enter or remain in the UK as a partner or parent, they must meet a financial requirement. In all other cases, the parent will need to show they can accommodate the child without help from public funds. In some cases, depending on the status of the parent(s) settlement, the child may need to apply as a points-based system (PBS) dependent
More information on Child Dependent Visas
Am I eligible for an Adult Dependent Visa?
The application must be made from outside the UK and your visa must be obtained before travelling.
More information on Adult Dependent Visas
Am I eligible for a UK Ancestry Visa?
You cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents.
A British Ancestry Visa allows holders to live, work and study in the UK for a period of up to five years, at which point they may be eligible to apply for a renewal or apply for settled status in the UK.
Find out more about UK Ancestry Visas
Can I join my migrant relative in the UK?
As the partner or dependent child (under 18) of a migrant who is in or coming to the UK under most categories of the points-based system, you can apply for a visa to join them here as a PBS dependent.
You will need to show that:
- you intend to live with the migrant worker, and
- your relationship is genuine.
Or for children:
- you have not formed an independent family unit, or
- are leading an independent life.
The migrant worker will also need to prove that they can support you without relying on public funds.
Is there a visa for parents of British citizens?
- you have sole responsibility for the child, or at the very least access rights;
- you can maintain yourself without relying on public funds;
- you meet the suitability and English language requirements.
If you meet all the requirements you will be given temporary permission to remain in the UK for 30 months. You will be eligible to stay for a further 30 months if you continue to meet the requirements and after five years you can apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain).
If you are outside the UK you must obtain your visa before travelling.
If you are already in the UK you will be eligible so long as you are not on a Visitor Visa or on temporary admission, permission to stay was not given for a period of less than six months (unless as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner) and you are not in breach of the Immigration Rules (overstaying for less than 28 days will not be taken into account).
I am here under the Points Based System (PBS) - can my family members join me?
I have been refused a Family Visa UK – can I appeal?
As the law currently stands, you will be able to appeal in the event that your UK Family Visa is refused.
In the event that your application is refused, there may be other options even after the refusal. Speak to an immigration lawyer to get the best and most up to date advice.
The law at the present time in respect of Visit Visas does not allow for a full right of appeal. You can only appeal such visas on very restricted grounds. If you have been refused a Family Visit Visa it is advisable to speak to one of our experts to advise on your options.
What services does LPS offer?
With our team of expert immigration lawyers, we will be able to assist you with any type of Family Visa application.
- assess your eligibility for a Family Visa;
- assess whether your UK relative is eligible to act as your sponsor;
- help you make sure you have acceptable proof of your relationship to your relative for your application;
- perform a full document check to ensure that they are sufficient;
- confer with you in person, via phone or Skype at a suitable time for you;
- prepare a Letter of Representation to accompany your application. This is a document containing information about your case and its merits. It will also reference all relevant UK immigration laws that might support your application;
- liaise with the Home Office throughout the process;
- complete each part of your application in full and to a professional standard