Guide on the application for British citizenship

Applying for British citizenship or nationality can be an ultimate immigration application for many migrants. Achieving British citizenship grants you full rights to live, work, and travel as a UK citizen. You can enter and leave the country without restrictions and enjoy the status that such esteemed citizenship offers. It is very rare that citizenship gets revoked; therefore, obtaining British citizenship will ensure you and your family feel secure.

For many people who have migrated to the UK and built a life here, the moment they qualify to apply for British citizenship is a culmination of years of hard work and planning.  Being denied citizenship after investing so much of your life into the process can be devastating.  Therefore, it is essential to prepare a quality application for naturalisation that improves chances of positive results.  At A Y & J Solicitors, we can help you put together a strong application and collate all the required documentation.

What is the application for British citizenship by naturalization?

The application for British citizenship by naturalization is the application process overseas nationals undertake to become a full citizen of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. All naturalisation applications made to the government are considered on a discretionary basis, which means that, although the requirements to be met for naturalisation are written in the law, no applicant is considered to have the “right” to citizenship by virtue of meeting these requirements. The requirements for naturalisation are clearly defined, but each and every case will be considered individually. Read more here all about naturalisation

What are the differences between British citizenship and ILR?

Indefinite Leave to Remain status (ILR) grants the holder permission to stay in the UK without any time limit. Holders of ILR can live, work and study in the UK without seeking prior permission. They can access healthcare and benefits and also may qualify to sponsor certain family members to join them in the UK from overseas. Children born in the UK to those who hold ILR status would automatically be British by birth.

Notably, someone with ILR status can be deported and their ILR status revoked.

Most critically, if the ILR holder stays outside the UK for continuously 2 years or more, they would lose their ILR status (their status would lapse). If ILR status lapses, they may need to apply for a new visa to return to the UK. In contrast, British citizenship can be revoked under the most serious circumstances, but it cannot be lost through any period of absence from the UK. Click here to know more about ILR

I was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. When can I apply for British citizenship?

Unless you are married to a British citizen, you will need to wait 12 months from the date your ILR was granted to apply for naturalisation as a British Citizen. You must also have lived in the UK for 5 years, prior to the application date to be eligible to apply.

Those married to British Citizens can apply for naturalisation as soon as they hold ILR status, they must also have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the application date, to be eligible to apply.

How can I become a British citizen by Naturalisation?

You will need to:-

  • Check you meet the requirements, including residency requirements and good character requirements;
  • Gather the necessary supporting evidence for your application;
  • Seek references from two individuals who meet the requirements to act as referees for your application;
  • Complete an online form;
  • Submit the form and pay the relevant fee;
  • Upload scanned copies of your supporting documents to the correct online portal;
  • Book and attend a “biometric appointment”;
  • Cooperate with the Home Office in case of any requests for additional information during the decision making process, if applicable;
  • On receipt of your approval you will be issued with a Citizenship invitation letter – you must arrange a Citizenship Ceremony as soon as possible and within 3 months of the letter. You will not be a British Citizen until you have completed your ceremony;
  • Attend your ceremony, where you will be required to swear an oath/affirmation of allegiance and you will be given your certificate of naturalisation.

How long does the British citizenship application process take?

The application can take as long as 6 months to be decided, but applications are often decided much sooner. Once approved, you will receive your approval letter and shortly after will receive a citizenship invitation letter. You will need to arrange a citizenship ceremony at your local registry as soon as possible. Ceremonies are subject to availability. You will only become a British citizen once you have attended your ceremony and received your certificate of naturalization. You can apply for your first British passport once the process of naturalisation is complete.

A Y & J Solicitors are specialist immigration lawyers with expertise in British Citizenship applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with any UK immigration law concerns, contact us. We’re here to help!

How can I acquire British citizenship by Marriage?

Marriage to a British citizen does not qualify you directly for British citizenship. To qualify for British citizenship, you must also have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, whether that ILR status was granted on the basis of a spousal visa or on another immigration route. In addition to being married to a British citizen and holding ILR status, you must have also resided in the UK for 3 years prior to your application.

What are the requirements for British citizenship by birth?

If you were born in the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983, you would be a British citizen by birth. If you were born inside the United Kingdom after 1 January 1983, you would be a British citizen by birth if at least one of your parents was a British citizen or settled in the UK when you are born.

What are the mandatory British citizenship by descent requirements?

A British citizen by descent is someone who was registered as a British citizen or who was born outside the UK to a British parent. If a British citizen by descent’s child is born overseas, they cannot normally pass their citizenship directly on, they may need to Register the child for British citizenship, if eligible. If the other parent is a British citizen otherwise than by descent, for example, someone British by birth, naturalisation or adoption, then that parent should be able to pass their citizenship directly on to the child.

Can a refugee acquire for British citizenship?

Yes, a refugee who meets the requirements can apply for British citizenship. Strict requirements apply for naturalisation, particularly with regard to prior breaches of immigration history, so the individual’s circumstances must be reviewed carefully in case their immigration history might affect their application or eligibility.

How can I track my British citizenship application status?

Once you have submitted your application and paid the relevant fee, you will have a unique reference number for your application. This reference will also be used when you upload your supporting documents and enroll biometric data. However, it is not normally possible to track your application directly.  If any additional documents are required, the Home Office caseworker will contact you in writing. If the application  falls outside the normal service standard, you should receive a letter confirming this. When your application is decided, you will receive a letter confirming the decision.

Is dual citizenship allowed in the UK?

Yes, British laws allow all citizens to hold another nationality or nationalities.

What are the British citizenship fees?

The Home Office fee for naturalisation is £1,330 (including the £80 itizenship fee). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.

The Home Office fee for adult registration is £1,206 (including the £80 Citizenship fee). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.

The Home Office fee for child registration is £1,012 (an additional £80 Citizenship fee would be charged if the minor turned 18 during the application process). The biometric enrolment fee is £19.20.

There are no priority services available for Naturalisation.

What is the British citizenship “90 days rule”?

As a qualifying condition for naturalization as a British citizen, you cannot have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days in the 12 months prior to your naturalisation application.

What are the immigration routes for British citizenship registration?

It may be possible for adults to register as a British citizen on the following basis:-

  • Born before 1 January 1983 to a British mother;
  • You have another form of British nationality.

Adults and children may be eligible to Register if:

  • They were born in the UK; and
  • Neither of their parents was British or settled; and
  • Lived the first 10 years of their lives in the UK; and
  • In any of the first 10 years, have not spend more than 90 days outside the UK.

A non-British child (under 18) may become eligible to register as a British citizen if they were born in the United Kingdom and one of their parents has been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain/Settled status.

A non-British child born outside the UK to a parent who has been granted ILR may also be able to apply for registration in limited circumstances.

What documents do I need to register for British citizenship?

This depends on the basis of the claim to the British citizenship. In some cases, you may need to provide evidence of residency in the UK.

Check if You can become a British citizen

Whether you can become a British citizen depends on your circumstances. There may be more than one way for you to apply and if this is the case, you can choose which route to use.

You can apply for British citizenship if:

  • you have resided in the UK for 5 years or more; and
  • you have held Indefinite Leave to Remain for 12 months or more, or
  • you have held EU Settled Status for 12 months or more.

Spouse’s of British citizens can apply for naturalisation having resided in the UK for three years if:

  • they have Indefinite Leave to Remain, or
  • an EEA Settled Status.
  • You may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship if:
  • you have a British parent
  • you are stateless
  • you hold another type of British nationality
  • at some stage, you renounced your British citizenship
  • If you are a Commonwealth citizen, you may qualify for British citizenship under the windrush scheme if:
  • you or your parents came to the UK before 1973,
  • you live in the country and have not left the UK for more than two years

We will analyse the unique circumstances of the applicant and provide honest advice; our immigration law experts are happy to assist you. Contact us for more information.

Eligibility requirements for British citizenship by naturalisation

You must meet the following criteria:

  • Have lived legally in the UK for at least five years
  • Have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for at least 12 months
  • Meet the residency requirements
  • Have proof of language proficiency:
    • nationality from an English-speaking country
    • OR an accepted English language degree
    • OR you have successfully passed an accredited English language test
  • Pass ‘Life in the UK’ test
  • Have a good character
  • Plan to live permanently in the UK

For details on these requirements, our immigration law experts are happy to assist you.  Please contact us.

How do I apply for british citizenship?

Overseas applicants can now apply online. You will need to fill out an online form and answer all questions that are relevant to your application. You can edit and download the application before it is submitted. Our team can provide you with advice on the best options available to you and your family.

What is the British citizenship application form?

The application form for British Citizenship depends on the type of citizenship application you are making. Most British citizenship applications are processed online. As an applicant, you should check the type of citizenship application you require and then complete the form online. Payment would also be processed online and you would be able to access a different portal to upload supporting documents and book a biometric appointment.

Some application forms are still available to complete on paper and submit by post. For example, the Form AN is the correct form for naturalization and the form MN1 is the correct form to Register a minor child. Applicants are discouraged from using the postal application, unless necessary.

What Are the documents required to obtain British citizenship?

You will need to provide the following documents with your application (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Your passport/travel document and valid identity card (if applicable)
  • Proof you have Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency
  • Your Life in the UK test pass certificate
  • Your marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable)
  • P60s for the previous six years, or five years if married to a British citizen
  • Payslips (if P60s do not cover the whole period)
  • Self-employed applicants require self-assessment statements for each year of the six /five years

Our team can assist you with collating the required documentation and ensure nothing is missed.

Who can be a referee for my British citizenship application?

One referee must be a person of any nationality who is a professional, such as a doctor or minister of religion. A lawyer can act as a referee, but this must not be the person representing you in your application. The second referee must be a British citizen and also either a British citizen or over 25 years old.

What are the advantages of becoming a British citizen?

There are many advantages to becoming a British citizen.  One of the most important advantages is the emotional peace of mind of knowing that you have as much right to remain in the UK as a person who was born here, regardless of future government policies.

Other advantages include:

  • You can travel in and out of the UK freely and for a long as you want
  • You can fully participate in all local and general elections and exercise your right to vote
  • You will be eligible for all state benefits and healthcare

What can I do if my application for British citizenship is refused?

Applications for British citizenship can be refused for many reasons.  One of the most common is that the application form has been filled in incorrectly and/or the correct documentation has not been supplied.

If your application has been refused, our immigration lawyers will examine the reason why and provide expert advice on the best plan of action.  This could include resubmitting the application, reconsideration application or seeking a Judicial Review.

Why Choose A Y & J Solicitors while applying for British citizenship?

British Nationality Act 1981 is complex and very challenging.  Expertise in this very technical field of law is essential for successful British citizenship application. The highly qualified lawyers at A Y & J Solicitors are passionate about helping clients to gain citizenship.  They take the time needed to ensure that you understand the process and will assist with all the details required for application.


To meet the ‘continuous residency requirements,’ you need to show that you have lived in the UK for at least five years and during that time:

  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those five years or 270 days during the last three years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

If you are concerned about whether you meet the ‘continuous residency requirements’, please talk to one of our immigration law experts.

There is no statutory definition of ‘good character’ and no statutory guidance on the interpretation or application of the requirement.  There is, however, internal guidance to Home Office decision makers in the form of the Nationality Guidance (NG) Good character requirement, which provides information on how the requirement is applied in practice in relation to all relevant applications for British citizenship.

Things which may lead immigration officials to believe you are not of good character include (but are not limited to):

  • a criminal conviction
  • deception in your dealings with immigration officials
  • financial matters including bankruptcy, debt, unlawful recourse to public funds, or non-payment of council tax
  • notoriety in the local or wider community

If you believe that some aspect of your application may mean that you fail to meet the good character requirement, speak to one of our immigration lawyers.  Our knowledge and experience mean that we can assist you with explaining your circumstances to the Home Office.

Read More – Good Character For British Citizenship Applications

Success Story on British Citizenship Application

Naturalisation Application
On March 06, 2018 | In British Citizenship | By A Y & J Solicitors

Naturalisation Application as a British citizen—Details Matter!

A client was ready for British Citizenship application Mr C has been in the UK for over 10 years, acquiring residency through various immigration visa categories. He first approached A Y & J Solicitors when he required assistance in making an entry clearance application as a Tier 5 migrant and we successfully assisted him in…

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