close menu

Naturalisation in the UK

There are different ways to become a British citizen. You may apply for citizenship through either naturalisation or registration in the UK.

General criteria for naturalisation:

  • You must have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
  • You must have resided in the UK for five years

Naturalisation and registration for British citizenship

It is possible to become a British citizen by naturalisation or registration. Generally, naturalisation as a British citizen will occur after attaining ILR and then residing for a qualifying period of time in the UK.

To qualify for naturalisation when married to a British Citizen, you are required to:

  • Have been in the UK for five years on any legal visa status and have ILR on the date of application
  • Have been present in the UK on the date three years prior to the application being received by the Nationality Directorate
  • Not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in those three years
  • Not have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days in the immediate 12 months before application
  • Be of good character
  • Pass the British citizenship test/Life in the UK Test
  • Have sufficient knowledge of English
  • Have an intention to live in the UK
  • Be over 18 years old

As a married partner, you can apply for naturalisation immediately after receiving ILR.

To qualify for naturalisation if you are not married to a British Citizen, you must:

  • Have been in the UK for the last five years and hold ILR for at least the last 12 months
  • Have been present in the UK on the date five years prior to the application being received by the Nationality Directorate
  • Not have been outside the UK for more than 450 days in that period
  • Not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days in the 12 months before your ILR application
  • Be of good character
  • Pass the British citizenship test/Life in the UK Test
  • Have sufficient knowledge of English
  • Have an intention to live in the UK
  • Be over 18 years old

Speak to one of our consultants about how we can help you to naturalise. Alternatively, our free online visa assessment can tell you if you qualify.

Conditions for naturalisation in the UK

Once your naturalisation application is approved, you will be invited to attend a British citizenship ceremony. This ceremony will take place in your local council area in the UK only. Once you have done this, you will be eligible to submit an application for a British passport.

Registration requirements

British citizenship can also be obtained by registration. For example, If you were born between 7 February 1961 and 1 January 1983 and your mother was born in the UK, you will qualify for registration as a British citizen straight away.

If you were born prior to 7 February 1961, you will only be eligible to hold right of abode (RoA). Once you have resided in the UK for five continuous years on the RoA status, you will be eligible to naturalise under the five-year rule.

UK Status Trace

If you were born in a country that is different to that of a parent or grandparent, or you have a UK-born ancestor, then it is possible that you have a claim to British nationality.

The problem for most of our clients is how to find the information to determine whether they have this claim. We offer a service that will enable you to find out if you (or your family) are eligible. Philip Gamble & Partners, a sister company to 1st Contact, are specialists in British nationality claims. They offer a Status Trace service to those who are struggling to find out whether they have a claim to British nationality.

The process involves an examination of your nationality documents (birth and marriage certificates, as well as old passports and other documents that may have a bearing on your nationality status) and takes the form of a multi-page report written by our team of nationality experts.

If there is any doubt as to whether you or your family could qualify for British nationality, Philip Gamble & Partners will give you a definitive answer.

This site uses cookies, close this notice to continue to browse as normal or read about our cookies policy.