Naturalisation Guide

Naturalisation is the most common way for adults to acquire British citizenship. The naturalisation route to British citizenship enables adults who do not fulfil automatic registration criteria but who have lived in the UK for specified periods to apply to become a British citizen.

A person who becomes a British citizen through naturalisation is considered a British citizen otherwise than by descent.

A Naturalisation certificate is issued and will be required at the point you want to apply for a British / UK passport.

British citizenship gives you the right to:

  • Overseas protection
  • Vote in UK referendums and general elections
  • Stand for Parliament in the UK
  • Work and live in the UK permanently.

Eligibility

There are two main categories with different sets of requirements depending on whether or not the applicant is the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen.

Non-spouse or civil partner of a British citizen

If the applicant is not the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen, the following requirements must be met at the date of application. The applicant must:

  • be 18 or over
  • be of sound mind
  • be of good character
  • intend to have their home or principal home in the UK, or intend to enter or continue to work in Crown service or in the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member or the service of a company or association established in the UK, and
  • meet the Knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic Language and Life in the UK requirements
  • the applicant was in the UK at the beginning of the period of five years ending on the date of application
  • during those five years, the applicant spent no more than 450 days outside the UK
  • during the last 12 months of the five-year period, the applicant spent no more than 90 days outside the UK
  • on the date of application, the applicant is free from immigration time restrictions, and has been free from immigration time restrictions for the 12-month period ending on the date of application, and
  • in the five-year period ending on the date of application, the applicant has not been in the UK in breach of the immigration laws

Spouse or civil partner of a British citizen

If the applicant is the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen, the following requirements must be met at the date of application. The applicant must:

  • the applicant was in the UK at the beginning of the period of three years ending on the date of application.
  • during those three years, the applicant spent no more than 270 days outside the UK
  • during the last 12 months of the three-year period, the applicant spent no more than 90 days outside the UK
  • on the date of application, the applicant is free from immigration time restrictions, and
  • in the three-year period ending on the date of application, the applicant has not been in the UK in breach of the immigration laws
  • be 18 or over
  • be of full capacity (ie of sound mind)
  • be married to or registered as the civil partner of a British citizen on the date of application
  • be of good character, and
  • meet the Knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic Language and Life in the UK requirements

How long does it take to get Naturalisation Certificate?

Most British naturalisation applications take between 3-4 months to be processed. Straight forward applications can be decided within 2 months, and more complex can take up to 6 months. Processing times will also vary depending on the Home Office’s caseload.

Contact our specialist team today if you require further information on naturalisation.