Obtaining British Citizenship (Naturalisation) is the ultimate goal for many people in the UK currently on Immigration restriction. Once a person has been granted British Citizenship (Naturalisaiton) they are officially free of all immigration restriction in the UK and they will have the right to permanently live in the UK. Once a person has acquired British Citizenship he can use the National Health Service free of charge, work in the UK without restrictions and will be eligible to vote. The British Nationality Act 1981 (“BNA 1981”) governs British Citizenship applications. However, it is Section 6 of the BNA 1981 that covers Naturalisation applications.
Eligibility for a Naturalisation Application under the British Nationality Act 1981
Those wishing to submit a Naturalisation application must ensure they meet the requirements under the British Nationality Act 1981. In order to submit a successful Naturalisation Application, Applicants must ensure they meet the following requirements:
- Applicants must be of sound mind and have good character;
- Applicants must intend on making the UK their main place of home and should be able to show some personal ties and connections to the UK;
- Applicants must have sufficient knowledge of English Language & Sufficient knowledge of life in the UK; and
- Applicants must meet the residency requirements and must not have absences from the UK exceeding 450 days in the qualifying period.
It is recommended those who wish to submit a Naturalisation application give us a call on 0207 1830 570 for a free telephone case assessments so can consider with you the requirements for a successful application.
What is the Residency Requirement in Naturalisation applications?
If you are applying for Naturalisation the Home Office would expect you to be resident in the UK and you must also be able to show your ties and connections to the UK. To satisfy the residency requirement applicants must not have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days in the last 12 months. In addition to this, if you are applying under Section 6 (1) of the BNA 1981, your absences in the qualifying period must not exceed 450 days. If you are applying under Section 6 (2) of the BNA 1981 your absences in the qualifying period must not exceed 270 days. It is possible to ask the Home Office to exercise discretion if you exceed the total number of permitted absences from the UK if you can show mitigating circumstances behind the absences.
What is the Good Character Requirement in Naturalisation applications?
A key requirement for a Naturalisation application is demonstrating good character. The difficulty with the good character requirement is that there is no statutory definition of what establishes good character. The BNA 1981 does not define the term “good character”. However, the Home Office guidance states the following on good character:
“To be of good character you must have shown respect for the rights and freedoms of the UK, observed its laws and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident of the UK”.
It is certain that the Home Office will carry out criminal records checks in every application and may also work with other public bodies to retrieve information about Applicants. Therefore, it is essential that all information is disclosed to the Home Office when applying for Naturalisation. It is advised that applicants also disclose minor parking offences such as fixed penalty notices and speeding offences under the Road Traffic Act 1984. A failure to disclose all relevant information is likely to result in your Naturalisation application being refused and in some circumstances issues of deception may arise.
If you have a criminal record or have had some issues with the law in the past it does not mean that you cannot submit a successful Naturalisation application. With the correct legal assistance and representation, a strong and persuasive application can be submitted. Our team of solicitors and barristers have a proven method of submitting all types of naturalisation applications.