Naturalisation is the process of becoming a British citizen. There are several avenues that lead to people having the right to apply to become naturalised citizens of the UK. The more common of these are based around those who have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK who decide that they want to become a British citizen. Gaining British citizenship is the ultimate aim for many migrants to the UK, but even if you do have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), it is not a given that you will automatically be able to gain British citizenship. One of the most important aspects of the naturalisation process is the application itself, and for that reason we're going to look at the application process for British citizenship in detail. The information contained here should give you a solid idea of the process, and it also offers answers to some of the more standard questions that arise from the British citizenship application process.
In order to apply to become a British citizen you need to be eligible. Eligibility criteria for British citizenship is split into a few main areas as laid out below:
● You were born in UK (though this is not granted automatically and some restrictions apply)
● Your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen
● You have gained Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
● You have either have a permanent residence document or “settled status” for EU citizens
You may also be eligible to apply for citizenship if you fit into any of the following areas:
● You have a British parent
● You have another type of British nationality
● You’re stateless
● You previously gave up (renounced) your citizenship
● If you’re a Commonwealth citizen
● If you are part of the “Windrush Generation”
If you fit into any of these categories then you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship. Many of these areas are subject to individual rules and variations so it is important that you establish that you are correctly eligible before making an application. If you are not currently eligible, your future prospects may be harmed by making an incorrect application now. If you are unsure about your circumstances, give our friendly team of immigration specialists a call and they can help you to establish eligibility for British citizenship.
As you may imagine, the process to become a British citizen is neither simple nor straightforward. You will need to have the following to make an application for British citizenship:
● Prove that you were in the UK exactly 3 years before the application date
● Have an eligible immigration status (such as Indefinite Leave to Remain or a British spouse)
● Be able to prove your English language skills (this depends on your country of origin and can be proved in various different ways - consult Gov.uk for more information)
● Pass the “Life in UK” test (the standard test that examines your knowledge of life in the UK. You will be required to enter the details of your specific test on your application form)
● Pass good character test (essentially a background check that covers your criminal history)
As long as you are able to provide all of the above, you will be able to make an application via the government’s new system. To do this you will need to make an online application and upload the required documents. You will be informed by the system of your next steps and you will also be required to pay the appropriate fees at this stage. After this you will need to attend a Post Office branch in order to provide your biometric data - a letter to do this is given to you during your online application. You will be informed of your success in due course (usually within six weeks).
At present there is no legal right to appeal the refusal of a British citizenship application. That being said, there is an option to ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision. This process is known as a “Request to reconsider”. You will need to fill out a form and pay the appropriate fee for the service (currently £372). There is no guarantee that an alternative decision will be made and the fee is non-refundable. There are very limited numbers of applications that are overturned in this manner so you need to be sure that you have a strong case.
You must be aware that there is little room for discretion when it comes to considering your application again. The main reason for a refusal is some kind of criminality, and there are various rules in place that are not flexible. If you have been turned down and are considering asking for your application to be reconsidered, please get in touch with our immigration experts who can help look into your case. Often our specialists can help with the application process and also with refusals. We may be able to save you considerable cost and heartache with our service. So if you need help, call today and let our team of experts take a look at your case and help you to decide what to do next.
If you need help with a British citizenship application then please get in touch. Our immigration experts can help to look into your case and give you clear and concise immigration advice that can make a huge difference to the lives of you and your family. We understand that immigration can be complex and stressful, why not let us take the strain and give you the confidence to make an application safe in the knowledge that a team of experts have supported you. Please call today and a member of our team will be more than happy to help you get started.