Updated Policy Guidance: Naturalisation as a British citizen

The Home Office has just updated its policy guidance for Naturalisation as a British citizen by discretion. Whilst the amendments are only minor technical changes such as replacing temporary admission with immigration bail and the clarification that spouses and civil partners of British citizens in the armed forces should be considered under the criteria for spouses and civil partners of Crown servants, it is important to be aware of the many requirements that need to be satisfied before submitting an application for naturalisation as a British citizen. LEXVISA specialises in citizenship applications and would be delighted to be able to assist with any new applications. Please call our team to arrange an initial consultation to discuss your naturalisation case.

What does it mean to Naturalise as a British citizen?

To naturalise as a British citizen means that you get a British passport and are therefore free from immigration restrictions in the UK; which is the ultimate goal for many migrants. Before applying to naturalise as a British citizen, Applicants must have the right of permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The route to naturalisation can vary depending on the Applicant’s immigration history and whether all of the requirements could be met. For example, if an Applicant applies for a spouse visa and meets all of the requirements for both the initial and the extension application, they can then apply for indefinite leave to remain and then citizenship the following year; meaning it has only taken 6 years to get a British passport. If however one of the requirements for the spouse visa could not be met but the Secretary of State still exercised discretion and granted the visa but put them on the 10-year long-residence route, then it would take 11 years to get British citizenship.

The requirements that an Applicant must meet vary slightly based on whether they are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen. In cases where the Applicant is married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, they must meet the requirements of section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981, anyone else is required to meet the requirements of section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Children under the age of 18 cannot be “naturalised” as a British citizen. Where a child is included on an application, the Home Office must consider whether that child is already a British citizen or if they can be registered as a British citizen either because they have an entitlement or at the discretion of the Home Secretary.

What are the main requirements to Naturalise as a British citizen?

For Applicants who are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, they will need to demonstrate that the following requirements are met for their naturalisation application:

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old;
  • Applicant must be of full capacity;
  • Applicant must be married to or is in a civil partnership with a British citizen;
  • Applicant must be able to meet the residency requirements including not having excessive absences from the UK during the qualifying period ;
  • Applicant must be of good character; and
  • Applicant must meet the English language requirement and show sufficient knowledge of life in the UK.

The requirements for Applicants who are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen are similar with the exception of the marriage requirement. They must also show that they intend to make the UK their main home.

Using Legal Representation to submit an application to Naturalise as a British citizen

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Naturalisation Application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Naturalisation Application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Naturalisation Application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Naturalisation as a British citizen applications

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your Naturalisation Application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your UK Visas and Immigration application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to a successful application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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