How to apply for a British Passport after Indefinite Leave to Remain
One of the considerable benefits of settling in the UK is to gain British citizenship and apply for a British passport after Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). In this article, we look at the difference between the benefits of ILR compared to British citizenship and being a UK passport holder, how to become a British citizen as an ILR holder, how long after ILR you can apply for British citizenship, and applying for a British passport after indefinite leave to remain.
ILR vs British passport/citizenship
There are some important differences between holding ILR and being a UK passport holder. Gaining ILR is a key step for migrants who have come to the UK and plan to remain permanently. With ILR, you will:
- be able to bring your family members to the UK
- have the right to remain indefinitely in the UK
- be able to work without restrictions
- be able to study
- free of immigration control (i.e. you will no longer need to apply for a visa to stay in the UK)
- free to travel in and out of the UK (you will need to ensure you do not spend over 2 consecutive years outside of the UK or you risk losing your ILR)
- able to access the National Health Service (NHS) at no cost
- be able to claim public funds (i.e. benefits)
Once you gain British citizenship after ILR (or if you gain British citizenship after settled status), you will enjoy additional benefits. One is that you will not be at risk of losing your citizenship if you spend more than 2 years outside the UK. In addition, you will be able to vote in public elections and stand for public office if you wish to do so. And, of course, you can apply for a British passport.
As a British passport holder, you will benefit from one of the most powerful passports in the world. You can travel more easily in and out of the UK, and you will be able to travel without needing a visa to around 140 countries. With your UK passport, you will also be able to travel to several countries with online travel authorisation, and you can apply for a visa on entry in many other countries.
When can you apply for a British Passport after ILR?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to apply for a British passport after ILR (i.e. you cannot go straight from ILR to a British passport). After you get ILR, you need to wait for 12 months to apply for British citizenship. Once you have British citizenship, you will be eligible to apply for a UK passport. However, if you are married to a British citizen, you don't need to wait for 12 months to apply for British citizenship.
How to become a British Citizen as an ILR holder
As long as you have waited the appropriate 12 months after receiving Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be able to make an application for British citizenship.
You will need to make an application to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) which will include all that is needed to prove your eligibility to remain in the UK and to become a British citizen. To apply to naturalise as a British citizen, you must:
- be over 18
- prove you have lived in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Island 5 years before the date your application is received by the Home Office.
- not have been outside the UK for more than 450 days in the 5-year period before applying
- not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days in the 12-month period before applying
- be able to prove your knowledge of the English language (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic)
- be of sound mind so that you understand the step you are taking
- have passed the life in the UK test
- intend to continue living in the UK once you become a UK citizen
- be of good character
- not have breached the immigration rules
How to apply for a British Passport after British citizenship?
The process of applying for a UK passport once you have citizenship is extremely straightforward. The main steps you will need to complete are as follows:
- Complete the online passport application form:
- Child application form1 (for those under 16 years)
- Adult application form2 (for those over 16 years)
- Pay the passport application fee (see below for the British passport fees)
- Upload the supporting documents (see below for some of the documents you may be asked to provide)
Once your passport application is processed, your new passport will normally be sent to the address you provided.
You will be advised which documents to provide by the HM Passport Office. These may include:
- A digital photo
- Evidence of the applicant’s citizenship (e.g. a citizenship certificate)
- Full birth certificate
- Any valid passports from another country held by the applicant
- Any court orders (e.g. showing who has parental responsibility)
- Confirmation of identity
Cost of getting a British passport
The current British passport fees are as follows:
- Child passport: £49
- Adult passport: £75.50
Processing time for British passport application
It may take up to 10 weeks to receive your passport. This will depend on the time of year (i.e. if there is high demand for passports) and whether you have provided all of the information requested.
How can Reiss Edwards help?
The citizenship immigration team at Reiss Edwards possesses a wealth of experience in helping migrants to the UK to successfully apply for a British passport. Our team of immigration solicitors can:
- Check your eligibility for a British passport for you and your family members
- Advise when you can apply for a British passport
- Explain how you can overcome any issues which may prevent you from acquiring a British passport
- Apply for your passport on your behalf (and on behalf of your family members)
- Deal with the HM Passport Office regarding any queries
- Handle any refusals of passport applications.
1 GOV.UK: Child Application Form
2 GOV.UK: Adult Application Form