British Citizenship

British citizenship
Legally reviewed by: Nisha Leel

Cartwright King’s specialist Immigration Lawyers can help you apply for British Naturalisation, freeing you from immigration restrictions. There are multiple routes to becoming a British Citizen, and our dedicated Immigration Team ensures that you get the right advice to give your application the best possible chance of success.

Get in touch with our dedicated UK Immigration Team now for help.

How Cartwright King’s UK Naturalisation Lawyers Can Help

With different pathways to becoming a British Citizen, it’s important that you apply via the correct route, otherwise your application could be delayed or refused. That’s why Cartwright King’s specialist Immigration Team can assess your eligibility and ensure that the application paperwork is all present and correct. We can help with:

  • British Citizenship by naturalisation applications
  • UK citizenship through marriage or civil partnership
  • Applications for British Citizenship based on five continuous years in the UK
  • British Citizenship applications through permanent residence status
  • British Citizenship through the EU Settlement Scheme*
  • British Citizenship through a British parent
  • British Citizenship through the Windrush scheme
  • British Citizenship if you have connections with Gibraltar
  • British Citizenship applications if you have lived in Hong Kong

Apply for British Citizenship

If you have been living as a legal resident in the UK for over a certain amount of time, we can help you apply for British citizenship. Achieving citizenship carries lots of benefits, including having the right to vote in the UK, being able to apply for a British passport and having unrestricted entry into the UK.

Our immigration team are highly experienced in helping people from all across the world settle in the UK as a citizen. With our knowledge and expertise, our solicitors can give you the guidance and assistance you need to successfully become a British citizen.

Who Can Apply for British Citizenship

To be able to make a British citizenship application, you first must have indefinite leave to remain. If you are a foreign national who has been living in the UK for at least five years, then you may first of all want to apply for permission to settle permanently. This is known as applying for permanent settlement, more often called indefinite leave to remain.

After you have been granted your indefinite leave to remain and you have been living in the UK for at least one year since you will likely be able to apply for British citizenship.

To be eligible for citizenship you must meet a number of requirements and you need to be considered ‘of good character’. The application process can be complex and lengthy, but you don’t need to worry. With Cartwright King the process will be stress-free.

Our solicitors will be by your side every step of the way, answering your questions and making sure you understand everything you need to know.

Requirements For Your British Citizenship Application

Before you begin your application to become a British citizen, there are a number of requirements you have to meet. The minimum requirements for becoming a British citizen are:

  • Being aged 18 or over
  • Being of good character – this means you cannot have a recent or serious criminal record, you have not attempted to deceive the Home Office, and you haven’t committed immigration offences in the last ten years
  • Planning to continue to live in the UK following receiveal of your citizenship
  • Having met the English Language and Life in the UK test requirements
  • Meeting certain residency requirements (listed below)

At Cartwright King, we know that everyone’s situation is different. Our British citizenship application team will be able to help you find out if you are eligible to apply for British citizenship.

British Citizenship Application for EU Nationals

You can apply for British citizenship as a EU national if you have been living in the UK for over 5 years and you have held your permanent residence status for at least 1 year.

EU citizens can benefit from applying for citizenship to ensure their rights in the UK are protected after Brexit. To be successful in your citizenship application you must meet the same requirements as outlined above. For expert advice on your British citizenship application as a EU national, get in touch today.

What You Have to Prove as Part of your British Citizenship Application

In addition to meeting all of the above, you will need to prove that all of the below apply to you, in order to be successful in your citizenship application:

  • You have lived legally in the UK for at least five consecutive years before the date of your application
  • You have spent no more than 450 days outside of the UK during the five years
  • You have spent no more than 90 days outside of the UK in the last year
  • If you are from outside the European Economic Area, you have been settled in the UK with indefinite leave to remain for the past year at least
  • You’ve held permanent residence status for the past year if you’re a citizen of an EEA country
  • You have not broken any immigration laws while you have been living in the UK, whether you’re from inside or outside the EEA

It is also possible for you to apply for your own British citizenship on the basis of your spouse being a British citizen, if you entered the UK on a spouse visa originally. Our immigration team can advise you on how to go about doing so.

How to Apply for British Citizenship

Citizenship by Naturalisation – Apply for British Citizenship

In order to become a British citizen if you are a migrant, you will go through a process called ‘naturalisation’. This essentially just refers to the amount of time you live in the UK for before you apply to become a British citizen.

There are three ways to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation:

  • Make an individual application
  • Use the Nationality Checking Service (NCS)
  • Use an agent or representative

Making an Individual British Citizenship Application

To make an individual British citizenship application, you need to fill in Form AN – application for naturalisation as a British citizen.

Applying using the NCS

The NCS is run by local councils and they can help you make your British citizenship application on your behalf.

Apply Through an Agent or Representative

An agent or representative is a private company or individual that can help you with your application and give you advice.

Check if an agent or representative is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

You can also use solicitors or barristers that aren’t registered with the OISC. These include:

  • General Council of the Bar
  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland

The application fee for citizenship is £1,206.

Documents You Need to Provide for Your British Citizenship Application

To apply for British citizenship – either individually or as a spouse – you need to provide evidence of:

  • Your identity
  • Your knowledge of language and life in the UK
  • Your lawful residence in the UK
  • Your employment in the UK
  • Your marriage or civil partnership, if you’re making a joint application
  • Your biometric information

You must provide the biometric information itself, including fingerprints and a photo. This can be done at your local Post Office, and costs £19.20.

The Home Office will tell you when you need to provide your biometric information and it will only be held until you’ve attended your citizenship ceremony.

After You Have Applied

After you have applied you will get a confirmation letter. This can take up to four weeks. A decision about your application will usually be made within six months, however, some applications may take longer.

You will be told if you need to provide more information to help with your application.

You should also contact UK Visas and Immigration if your situation changes during your application, for instance, if you change your address or get married.

Additionally, you might be asked to attend an interview where you will need to speak without an interpreter.

Citizenship Ceremonies

If you apply for British citizenship and your application is successful – and you’re over 18 – you will be invited to book a place at a citizenship ceremony. You’re usually allowed to take up to two guests. Please note, you need to take your invitation with you when you go to the ceremony.

You will also need to pay a ceremony fee of £80.

What You Need To Do After Your Citizenship Ceremony

Once you’ve got your certificate of British citizenship, you need to send your biometric residence permit back to the Home Office.

You need to do this within five working days of either:

  • Going to your citizenship ceremony
  • Getting your certificate of British citizenship

Cut your biometric residence permit (BRP) into four pieces and put it in a windowless envelope. Include a note saying you are returning your permit because you have become a citizen.

The note needs to include your name, date of birth and the document number, located on the front of the card.

Why Choose Cartwright King for British Citizenship Application Advice?

We understand that there’s a lot at stake when it comes to applying for British Citizenship. Becoming a British Citizen means that you can truly call the UK your home, have access to all the same rights as British Citizens and be free from immigration restrictions.

Whatever your circumstances, we listen, we understand and we care about the outcome of your case. That’s why we are committed to successfully securing British Citizenship with professional, sensible legal advice and sure guidance.  

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 Top Tier law firm with specialist lawyers that are calm under pressure, giving you peace of mind that we’re the right law firm to help you resolve your British Citizenship requirements.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

I have applied for UK naturalisation, will I get a passport if approved?

No. You have to make a separate application for a British passport if your naturalisation application is approved. Following approval of your naturalisation application, you will be required to attend a ‘citizenship ceremony’, where you will receive your certificate of naturalisation. 

Once you have this, you can apply for your British passport.

I am the spouse/civil partner of a UK citizen, when can I apply?

As the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen, you can apply for British naturalisation after three years in the UK, provided that:

  • You have been in the UK for three years and you have indefinite leave to remain status on the day of your naturalisation application
  • You have not been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in those three years
  • You have not been absent from the UK for more than 90 days in 12 months before your application

What does the term 'to be of good character' mean?

As part of your UK citizenship application, you will be asked to demonstrate that you are a ‘person of good character.’ This means you have shown respect for British culture, values and the rights and freedoms of the UK, adhered to UK laws and fulfilled your duties as a resident.

When applying for British Citizenship, you must disclose:

  • Any previous cautions, reprimands, custodial or non-custodial sentences 
  • Past, present or future court appearances 
  • Involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or terrorism

This list is not exhaustive.

Be aware that when you apply for British Citizenship, a full background check will take place. Attempts to conceal any part of your history within or outside the UK could result in your application being refused and potential removal from the UK.

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