Start typing and hit "Enter" to search.
immigration solicitors near me

British Citizenship by Marriage

The UK, like many other countries, offers citizenship to foreign nationals with a British spouse or partner, enabling both to live together in the UK indefinitely. Citizenship offers much more than the indefinite right to reside in the UK; it also allows those granted the ability to apply for and acquire a British passport and gives them the right to vote. For many, the idea of securing citizenship in the UK provides a strong sense of belonging, security, and long-term commitment. Each year, tens of thousands of migrants gain citizenship in the UK through marriage. According to official UK statistics, the number in 2018 was 22,488; this rose to 25,736 in 2019 and rose by a further 3,248 in 2020, representing an overall increase of 14%. If you are one of the many hopeful migrants who wish to become a UK citizen through marriage or partnership, in this article, we will explain the eligibility rules and how to apply.

Am I Eligible For British Citizenship Through Marriage Or Partnership?

Under the current UK government policy, you can apply for British citizenship by ‘naturalisation’ if you:

  • are 18 years or over
  • are married to, or in a civil partnership with someone who is a British citizen
  • have lived in the UK for at least three years before the date of your application – time spent as a diplomat, member of a diplomat’s staff or household, or a member of visiting armed forces will not count towards this time. The time spent in the UK must also have been continuous; this means you have not:
    • spent more than 270 days outside the UK during the three years before your application
    • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

The rules also state that you “may be exempt from the residency requirements if your partner works abroad either for the UK government or an organisation closely linked to government”.

To apply, you must hold one of the following types of permanent immigration status:

  • indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK
  • settled status’ (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’)
  • indefinite leave to enter the UK (permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad)
  • a permanent residence document to prove you have permanent residence status

Assuming you meet the requirements for age, relationship, length of time in the UK before you apply, and your current immigration status, you also need to meet the English language, Life in the UK test, and character requirements; more on these below.

What Are The English Language Requirements For UK Citizenship As A Spouse?

The English language requirements are the same for anyone who is applying to settle in the UK. This does not apply to anyone outside the age range of 18 to 65, anyone who is exempt due to a physical or mental impairment, or is from one of the following countries; Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Ireland (for citizenship only), Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.

If the exemptions do not apply to you, you will either need to pass (and provide proof that you have passed) an English qualification at CEFR B1, B2, C1 or C2 level, or that you have a degree taught or researched in English. If you have a degree taught or researched in English, if this was from a UK university, your degree certificate is sufficient. If this was gained outside the UK, you will need to need an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) confirming your degree is equivalent to a UK qualification.

We should add that it is possible to meet the language requirement for Gaelic and Welsh also, not just English.

What Is The Life In The UK Test?

The ‘Life in the UK’ test is an official government test that prospective citizens are required to complete. It must be prebooked online and currently costs £50. There are over 30 test centres dotted around the UK, so you can select one which is closest to where you live in the UK. The test itself includes 24 questions (multiple choice) relating to different aspects of life in the UK, including the monarchy, institutions, historical landmarks, sports, and culture. The current pass mark is 75%.

If you pass, you will receive a unique reference number that proves you were successful; this needs to be added to your citizenship application. If you fail, it is possible to retake the test after waiting a period of one week (you will need to rebook and pay again, however).

How Do I Apply For UK Citizenship As A Spouse Or Partner?

The application form is completed online, and you will need to book an appointment at a UKVCAS service point to have your biometric information scanned. You can also provide your documents to be scanned at the same time. The current application fee is £1,330, and you will need to pay £19.20 to have your biometrics taken. The processing time for citizenship through marriage is currently around six months, but if your case is particularly complex or insufficient information is provided, this may take longer.

Final Words

After many years of living in the UK with your partner/spouse, you will likely be looking forward to securing British citizenship to cement your future and that of your immediate family. The process of securing citizenship is quite straightforward, however, given the importance attached to receiving a positive decision, it is important to provide all of the information requested in the application fully and accurately. If you are unsure if you meet the criteria for citizenship, or if you would like to have your application checked prior to submission, speak to an Immigration Solicitor who can review your case and give you the confidence that you have a robust case with the strongest possible chance of success.

Some of our Happy Client
  • immigration solicitors near me
  • immigration solicitors near me
  • immigration solicitors near me
  • immigration solicitors near me

Reiss Edwards Awards

immigration solicitors near me
immigration solicitors near me
immigration solicitors near me
immigration solicitors near me
immigration solicitors near me
immigration solicitors near me
ACQ5 Awards Award immigration solicitors near me
Lexis Nexis immigration solicitors near me
Three Best Rated immigration solicitors near me
Department For International Development immigration solicitors near me
University Of Cambridge immigration solicitors near me
Lexology Legal Influencers immigration solicitors near me


Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar

I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Reiss Edwards Reviews


"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

Read More

Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

Read More

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

Read More

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

Read More
Back to Top