Naturalisation is a privilege acquired by people who can demonstrate that they have lawfully resided in the United Kingdom for 5 years and satisfy the Home Office’s requirements under British Nationality Act 1981.
If you are applying as a national of a Non-EEA (European Economic Area) country you must have also held Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR) for a minimum of 12 months as well as 5 years of lawful residency. The requirements differ if you are married or in a civil partnership with a British Citizen, with the main difference being the term of lawful residency changing to 3 years.
In principal, all the requirements must be satisfied in order for an application to be approved but from our experience, we have seen the Home Secretary use her discretion in some applications where all the requirements are not fully satisfied.Naturalisation is the most common way to become a British citizen.
British Naturalisation as a married partner in the UK
If you are married to a British citizen your application will be governed by Section 6 (2) of the British Nationality Act 1981. Your Application must meet the following requirements:
- You must be married to a British Citizen and be aged over 18 at the time of the application;
- You must have lawfully resided in the UK for a minimum of 3 years and have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK. In addition to this you must be able to communicate in English; and
- You must be of good character.
Residence requirements for Naturalising as a British Citizen
In order to submit a properly executed naturalisation application, applicants must demonstrate they have been lawfully present in the United Kingdom for 3 years prior to the date they submit the application. In some occasions where there are special circumstances, the Home Secretary may exercise her discretion where the applicants’ absences exceed the minimum residency requirements. Applicants must ensure they have had no more than 270 days outside the UK in the 3 year period and no more than 90 days in the 12 month period before submitting the application. In addition, Applicants must also ensure that are not in breach of any immigration rules and are free of immigration restrictions.
Applicants must ensure they have had no more than 270 days outside the UK in the 3 year period and no more than 90 days in the 12 month period before submitting the application. In addition, Applicants must also ensure that are not in breach of any immigration rules and are free of immigration restrictions.
EEA Nationals: Naturalising as British Citizens post-Brexit
In the aftermath of the EU referendum, there is an element of uncertainty amongst EU citizens leaving many gravely concerned about their future in the UK. In spite of Pro-Brexit activists claiming the focus is not limit the free movement rights of EU citizens it remains unclear what may happen once Article 50 is triggered. Previously, EEA nationals who had lawfully resided in the UK were eligible to naturalise after 5 years of lawful residency but it is likely there will be major changes to the current legislation governing Naturalisation.
As the Prime Minister Theresa May responded when asked about the future of EU citizens in the UK:
“I want to be able to guarantee their rights in the UK. I expect to be able to do that and I intend to be able to do that, to guarantee their rights. The only circumstances in which that would not be possible would be if the rights of British citizens living in other EU member states were not guaranteed.”
This has clearly brought about a web of uncertainty on the settlement of EU citizens in the UK and it has compelled many EU citizens to act immediately and seize the opportunity in securing their status in the UK as British citizens. We highly recommend Applicants who wish to acquire British Nationality to submit their applications without further delay as the Home Office have been overwhelmed with Naturalisation applications since the EU referendum. Due to the high number of applications received by the Home office, there is currently a backlog of cases which as a consequence means long delays.
Contact us for a successful UK Naturalisation application
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers.
Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 0845 8622 529 for a free telephone assessment and free case assessment.
If you wish to consider your options, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.
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. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
If you need professional legal advice about applying for Naturalisation please contact us for a case assessment on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form.