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A Guide to British Citizenship / Naturalization with FAQ

Professional Immigration Advice Service by Best Immigration Lawyers in London

The process of applying for a UK citizenship can be quite daunting, over fifty percent of the received applications will be refused by the home office for several reasons ranging from;

  • Incomplete documentation.
  • Wrongly filled documentation.
  • Untimely response to UKVI’s enquiries.

Don’t allow your application to fail for the afore mentioned reasons. Getting your UK citizenship is a very important step in your life which underscores the need to try and get it right the first time. If you looking for affordable immigration lawyers in London to assist with your immigration related query, the professionals at Master Legal Services can help. We are one the best immigration lawyers in London that provide comprehensive immigration services to businesses as well as to individuals, based inside and outside the UK.

For further information, feel free to contact our office to speak to an expert on 020 8935 5205 or via Whatsapp on 07710987064. In the meantime, continue reading for further information about applying for British Citizenship.

What is Naturalisation as a British Citizen?

When you eventually acquire British citizenship, it will come with several rights and entitlements like the right to apply for a UK passport, the right to vote as well as the right to live and work within the shores of Britain, absolutely free from immigration control.

The only people who don’t need to apply for British citizenship are the ones who are British by descent, otherwise, you are required to make an application, proving that you are eligible for UK citizenship or naturalization. People who can submit applications are those who are spouses of British nationals or those who have met the required criteria for naturalization.

With all the process requirements – not least the British naturalization application fee – it becomes imperative for the applicants to approach the citizenship acquisition process with a good knowledge of what the Home Office wants to see in a successful application package.

A Guide to British Citizenship

Becoming a British citizen is not an easy task, there are several compulsory requirements put in place by the British nationality law which applicants are expected to comply with. Once you are successful with your application, you will be bestowed the same rights and obligations as those natural British citizens and you will also get to own a UK passport.

Who is eligible to become a UK citizen?

We have seen several categories as well as qualifying circumstances you need to get a UK citizenship.

These are when it is possible to apply to become a British citizen:

  • By Naturalization.
  • EEA citizens.
  • EEA PR Card holders.
  • Civil partners and spouses of UK nationals.
  • By Birth
  • Individuals who were born in Britain with at least one of their parents possessing qualifying circumstances.
  • By UK family ties
  • Individual who have at least one UK national parent.
  • Individual who have at least one parent of different UK nationality.
  • By previous British citizenship
  • Individual who have lost their UK citizenship
  • Stateless status
  • Individuals who don’t have any nationality.
  • By commonwealth origin
  • Individuals of Windrush Generation qualifying for UK citizenship     

British Citizenship Frequently Asked Questions

What do we mean by ‘British Naturalisation’?

The question of what is naturalization as a British citizen has a simple answer. It means the acquisition of British citizenship by an individual who has held foreign citizenship. Through the process, non-British citizens are allowed to become citizens of Britain, given the right to come and go with ease and settle permanently in the country as long as they meet the UK citizenship application timeline. In a nutshell, British naturalization is the process of obtaining British citizenship status.

How do I start the application process for British Citizenship?

You will need to complete an application form to apply for naturalization as a citizen of Britain. Our UK immigration lawyers can assist with this.

What date can you apply?

People often forget this but it is necessary that your application should be received on the day you are present in Britain at the on-set of the 5-years-period. In explanation, if you submit your application on the 1st of August 2015, your compulsory presence in the country starts counting from the 1st of August 2010 and for civil partners and spouses, it starts from the same date in 2012.

Completing the British Citizenship application form

Many applicants find it a bit difficult to complete their forms because you will be required to answer several questions in order to decipher your real intensions as well as judge your suitability for British citizenship/ naturalization. Some people try to get a British citizenship contact to aid in understanding all the necessary requirements. However, our British Citizenship lawyers can assist with this.

What standard requirements are necessary for you to naturalize as a British Citizen?

The citizenship requirement for naturalization in Britain are seven in number, they include

  • British citizenship by descent over 18 – the person’s age must be 18 and above.
  • He or she must be a right thinking individual
  • The individual must exhibit competence in English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh to a reasonable level.
  • The person must have plans to continue as a resident of UK or in Crown service (working in an international establishment with the United Kingdom as a member) or work in an association or organization founded in the UK.
  • The person must have sufficient understanding of life in the UK Economy.
  • The individual must have good character.
  • The person must meet all residential requirements.

How can I obtain a British Passport?

The process on how to get a British passport is a simple one – although the post office in your locality can assist you with the application forms, our lawyers can speed things up. You can either make your application by post on leverage on the Post Office Check and Send Services. It is also possible to renew, apply, update or replace your passport online but you will be required to make payment via a debit card which is far much cheaper than the post office.

People who go online to apply can also leverage the services of British citizenship helpline which works to proffer solution to any problem you might encounter.  Once you have started the process, it can take up to 6 weeks for your first adult UK passport to be ready, though in some cases, it has taken longer. All other types of application like renewal or getting a UK passport for a minor may take just three weeks, but then applying for a British passport for a child born abroad is a different ball game because extra information and documentation will be required. Besides if you fail to fill out your forms correctly, the process can take longer.

What residential requirements are necessary for naturalization as a British Citizen?

British naturalization qualifications come with two routes – the 3-year and 5-year routes

The 5-year route for British Naturalization :

  • The person applying must have been a UK resident for at least 5 years – this period is called the residential qualifying period.
  • Before your application date, you must have been around for 5 years.
  • Within the stipulated five years, the person cannot spend above 450 days outside the borders of the UK.
  • During the last year of that 5 year period, the person should not spend over 90 days outside the UK Economy.
  • During the five year period, the applicant must not be in breach of the Immigration Rules at any level.

In the case of the EEA nationals their own qualification period is 6 years.

The 3 year route for British Naturalization:

On the other hand, being the civil partner or spouse of a British citizen gives an individual eligibility to apply after three years in the United Kingdom; the necessary requirements are listed below;

  • You must have been a UK resident for at least three years before tendering your application.
  • During those three years, you should not exceed 270 days outside the shores of UK.
  • In the last one year, you must not spend more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom.
  • You must have been granted permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain.
  • Have never broken immigration laws during your stay in the UK.

Residential qualifying period for British Citizenship; when does it start?

The residential qualifying period starts from the day UKBA receives application from the individual. A person’s application may be unsuccessful if it is found out that he or she is not present in the UK at the commencement of the residential qualifying period. As an applicant, you must make sure you meet the entire requirements before applying.

Any time spent in the UK while exempted from immigration control cannot be included in the residential qualifying period. The exemption from immigration control can happen when a person has spent time in detention, as a diplomat in the United Kingdom, part of the armed forces. These periods will be seen as absence from the UK when the UKBA assesses a person’s application.

What immigration time restrictions are needed to apply for naturalization as a British Citizen?

An individual need to be free from immigration time restrictions when he puts in an application for naturalization. This should be evident during the last one year of the residential qualifying period, the only exception is if the person is wedded or is the civil spouse of a British Citizen.

An individual that is free from immigration time restrictions will have a sticker or stamp in his or her passport which states that he or she has indefinite leave to stay, enter, or no time limit to live in the UK. A letter or Biometric Residence Permit stating that the applicant is free from immigration conditions may be received from the Home Office by the applicant.

Is it possible to travel when your British Citizenship application is still under consideration?

You can travel after submitting your application

Previously, you submitted certified copies of your BRP and passport but now, it is required that you submit the original of your BRP together with the application and this will definitely stop you from travelling. You will be able to ask for your BRP from the Home Office to be able to embark on travel.

Here the UK citizenship application lawyer comes to play, they act as your legal representatives who take the worry out of the process of naturalization, making it as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Everyone knows that if it is not handled in the right way, a naturalization petition can lead to a denial and may even cause deportation from the UK. So it is better for you to cough out the average cost of immigration lawyer UK than to risk the whole process. While travelling. Always contact your legal representatives because an interview may be set up for you even before the submission of the application.

Once you have paid the lawyer fee for British citizenship application, your case will be in the hands of permanent residence solicitors or lawyers who are experts in handling such matters. Remember, your citizenship application lawyer fee will just be a token when compared to the loss you can possibly come across when you decide to go without the benefit that the legal process has to offer. To get the best immigration lawyers UK you may need to go online to get their contact as well as enlist their services. When you get everything right, your request might even end up being approved and you will be left with limited time to get your citizenship ceremony arranged.

UK Citizenship Application –How are absences treated?

The part where it is required that you detail your absence from the United Kingdom in the past few years is the first difficulty you are likely to encounter and this is dependent on which route you are taking whether 3 years or five years.

Residence Requirements section expects you to insert

  • The exact date you left the UK
  • The date of your return.
  • Your destination.
  • Reasons for travelling.
  • No of days absent.

The last column that requires you to fill out the number of days absent can be a bit problematic. Applicants should know that the Home office does not consider the days you spent travelling when they want to get the number of days absent.

In explanation, an applicant who went for holiday to the Bahamas on the 1st of May 2012 and came back on the 15th May that same year, will have his number of days absent recorded as 13 and not 15. In the same vein, an applicant who travelled to France on the 23rd of March 2013 and returned the same day or even the next day will have his number of days absent recorded as 0 days. Though you will still be required to list the travel on the schedule.

Who can stand as referees for British citizenship process?

British citizenship referee is a vital part of the application that you will send to the permanent residence UK services. This page on the form requires that you fill out the names of two people as your referee. People who will stand as your referees have to be those that have known you for a period of three years at least. One among them can come from any nationality but must have a professional standing like police, accountant, chemist, etc.

Normally, the second person must be of British nationality and must have a British citizen passport. He may or may not be a professional person but his age must be above 25 years. The two referees must complete and sign the same page as you are not allowed to use two different pages; your passport must be attached to this page.

What supporting documents do I need formy UK Citizenship Application?

It is important that your application should be submitted with the right documents, else you risk rejection. The most important is providing evidence of your stay in the country for the past three or five years and in the case of the EEA nationals, it is six years. So it becomes imperative that your presence in the country be properly documented. That is the only way the Home Office can know what you have been up to for the past few years. Part of your documentations also includes all your academic qualifications and economic activities. People have been known to leverage on the services of nationality checking services to ensure that everything is in the right order.

If you are trying to acquire British citizenship by marriage, which means you are seeking naturalization on the basis of civil partnership or marriage with a British national, it becomes important that the evidence of your relationship be produced. This can come in the form of a marriage certificate. 

How long does it take to get British citizenship after applying 2017?

Averagely, you may begin to expect it within two months but then it differs from person to person and the complexity of a person’s application will go a long way in determining how long it will take. Again the volume of pending applications at the Home Office also comes to play.

Is it possible to pass over my existing British nationality to a spouse, partner, child or even adoptive child?

Any offspring of a citizen of the UK or UK overseas territories citizen is likely to automatically acquire their parent’s citizenship at birth. If any of your family members are not automatically a UK citizen, the person can make a registration under one of several categories but the inherent rules can be very complicated. If it is a free initial evaluation, then you will be required to fill out the initial evaluation Form for yourself and for the child or spouse separately.

Most of the categories for child registration stipulate that the application be received before the child attains the age of 18. If you submit the application when the child is above 9, there must be evidence that the child is of good character and this is applicable in almost all the categories. The best approach is to assess the position and if needed, apply for registration on time and it is best done when the child is still below 16.

Right from 2003, you can acquire UK citizenship by registration through the mother of a child, this is applicable to individuals that were born before 1983. Whether their parents are alive or deceased. The rules you are likely to encounter here are complex. It is also possible to process your registration when one parent had once lived in the UK or a resident of an overseas territory belonging to the UK, or was in government service of, and one grandparent was born in, the United Kingdom or an overseas territory belonging to the UK.

A child who is not eligible for registration can still register on a discretional basis or the registration can be done on the basis that the child in question is stateless. When an application is the discretionary type, you will need very strong, well constructed supporting arguments indicating continuing connections to the United Kingdom, the child’s plans or even human rights considerations. The spouse of a UK citizen or a UK overseas territories citizen may be able to get a UK citizenship or a UK overseas territories citizenship via a shorter than normal period of dwelling in the UK or a UK overseas territory, or occasionally government service.

An offspring of a UK citizen which covers UK subject, UK Overseas citizen, UK National (Overseas), UK protected person may acquire citizenship by registration in exceptional situation like a child’s state of statelessness

Do I expose my existing UK citizenship to risk when I need to acquire or use another country’s passport or nationality?

Generally, Britain permits the use of dual nationality or citizenship; however, this comes with some necessary exceptions.

  • Any UK protected person or British subject who happens to acquire any other nationality or citizenship will likely lose his or her UK nationality.
  • Any UK citizen who acquires another passport or nationality will be susceptible to losing their UK citizenship by way of deprivation by the government of the United Kingdom.

Is it possible to renounce my UK nationality? What long term implications are there to the process?

If you have made the decision to renounce your UK nationality, there is a form that you need to fill out in order to make a declaration. There is no other process that has effect in British law, when you have succeeded in renouncing your UK citizenship, it may have some effect on where you travel to and where you can live. It comes with some long-term implications for both the applicant and the members of his or her family who you must give very careful considerations to before taking action.

Generally, renouncing your UK nationality will put an end to your UK passport as well as all consular protection formally enjoyed from the British government. In most cases, renunciation of your UK nationality puts an end to your residence in Britain, However, some exceptions exists for individuals born before 1983.

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