How Can I Gain British Citizenship by Marriage?

How Can I Gain British Citizenship by Marriage?

Apr 09, 2024
Last Updated on May 21, 2024

Under the UK’s naturalisation laws, it is possible for a foreign national to gain British citizenship through marriage as long as they meet certain criteria. Understandably, overseas nationals with a husband, wife, or civil partner from the UK often want to explore their options for gaining British citizenship, giving them the right to remain permanently, travel freely, vote, and gain a British passport. If you are considering applying for British nationality after marriage, it is important to understand the requirements, timescales, and the evidence that you will need to provide to support your application. In this article, we will explain how to get British Citizenship by marriage, the requirements that must be met, how long the process takes, and how to ensure the success of your case. 

Can I get British citizenship by marriage?

Yes, it is possible to get British citizenship through marriage if you are married or in a civil partnership with a citizen of the UK. It is not enough just to be married to a British citizen; there are other requirements that must be met relating to age and residency, as explained below. 

What are the British citizenship by marriage requirements?

According to the UK’s naturalisation law, you can naturalise as a British citizen through marriage if you:

  • Are 18 years or over
  • Are married to, or in a civil partnership with, a British citizen
  • Meet the UK residency requirements (see below for more details)
  • Have permanent residence
  • Meet the language requirements
  • Have passed the ‘Life in the UK test’ and
  • Are of good character (i.e. no involvement in criminality, terrorism or international crimes, financial soundness, and use of deception)

English language requirements

The language requirements for UK citizenship through marriage state that applicants must have passed an approved English language qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level or have a degree that was taught or researched in English. There is no need to meet this requirement if you are 65 years or over or if you are from any of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British overseas territories, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or the USA.

Permanent residence requirement

British citizenship applicants must have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK (ILE), or EU Settlement Scheme ‘settled status’. Because you are married or in a civil partnership with a UK national, you will not need to wait until you have held ILR or settled status for 12 months or more, which is normally the case when applying for citizenship on the basis of permanent settlement. As such, you can apply immediately.

What are the residency requirements for British citizenship through marriage?

Before applying for British citizenship by marriage, you must have lived in the UK for a minimum of at least 3 years as a UK Spouse Visa holder. This is faster than the standard route for citizenship in the UK, which is normally 5 years. You must also not have been outside of the UK for more than 270 days in the 3-year period, and you must not have broken any immigration rules during your time here.

How do you get British citizenship through marriage?

To make a successful application for British citizenship, there are a number of steps that you will need to complete:

  1. Check that your country of nationality allows dual nationality – this is not always the case and should not be assumed.
  2. Prepare and submit an online application for UK naturalisation as a person who is married or in a civil partnership with a UK national.
  3. Pay the required application fee.
  4. Make an appointment with a UKVCAS service point to provide your biometric information.
  5. Provide any evidence to support your citizenship application – you can provide digital copies online or have them scanned when you have your biometric appointment.

Many UK citizenship applicants use an immigration Solicitor to handle their application on their behalf to ensure that it meets the requirements and standards required. 

How long does it take to acquire British citizenship by marriage?

Once you have submitted your application for British citizenship by marriage, you can expect to receive a decision typically within 26 weeks. If your application is successful, you will be asked to book a citizenship ceremony (this is mandatory). Your ceremony will be arranged through your local authority. At the ceremony, you will be asked to make an oath of allegiance or an affirmation and a pledge that you will respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. You will also be given a certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack.

Can I apply for a British passport if I am married to a UK national?

Yes, once you have British citizenship through your marriage to a UK national, you can apply for a British passport. 

If I acquire UK citizenship through marriage, will my children be British nationals?

Being a UK citizen through marriage does not automatically make your children British nationals. However, if your child was born outside the UK and they have a parent who has British citizenship other than by descent (i.e. they can pass on their citizenship to their child), they may already be entitled to British citizenship. If your child is born in the UK, they will acquire British citizenship on the basis of your UK citizenship, ILR, or EU settled status at the time of their birth.

Can I apply for British citizenship by marriage if my partner has died?

According to the UK’s naturalisation rules, it is not possible for a person to gain British citizenship if they were married to a British partner who has died. In this situation, there may be other immigration routes that you can consider. We would recommend speaking to an immigration Solicitor who can explain your options for British citizenship by marriage.

Final words

Gaining UK citizenship through marriage is a dream for many foreign nationals who want to make the UK their permanent home with their married partner. By understanding the naturalisation rules and requirements and preparing a robust application backed up by the evidence needed, you can be assured of a positive outcome. We wish you all the best with your UK citizenship application.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

Profile Picture

A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 14+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 5000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 1000+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

More from A Y & J Solicitors

One of the key criteria that must be met by overseas nationals applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa is the English Language requirement. If

UK Citizenship by Investment In 2024, the UK remains an ever-popular destination for overseas investors who wish to invest and grow their capital. In large

Under the current immigration rules, Skilled Worker visa applicants must meet the minimum salary requirement for sponsorship. **Important: the minimum salary for the UK Skilled

British citizenship Solicitors

Contact our immigration advisors to deal with your British citizenship application from start to finish

Experience Fast and Reliable Results

Experience Fast and Reliable Results

Click here to contact us Phone icon+44 20 7404 7933 WhatsApp icon+44 20 7404 7933
Contact us by mail iconContact us by phone iconContact us by WhatsApp icon