Naturalisation Certificate Replacement Processing Time in the UK
If you have become a British citizen either through naturalisation or registration, you will have received a UK citizenship certificate. This document can be used to prove your status as a citizen of the UK, if you are applying for a job, mortgage, or for a range of other purposes. If your citizenship certificate has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can order a replacement. In this article, we will explain the process for ordering a new naturalisation certificate in the UK, the costs, and what you will need to do if you became a citizen on or before 30 September 1986.
How Do I Acquire a British Naturalisation Certificate?
In the first instance, if you are not currently a British citizen, you will need to complete the application process. Naturalisation refers to the process of becoming a citizen after moving to the UK from another country. You will only be eligible for citizenship once you have been living in the UK and if you hold the correct status, as follows:
Married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, you will be able to apply for UK citizenship after you have lived together in the UK for three years. To qualify as a citizen, you will need to have indefinite leave to remain (ILR), settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (i.e. not pre-settled status), or hold permanent residence. You will also need to:
- Be 18 or over
- Be 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
- prove your knowledge of English language, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
- show you’ve passed the life in the UK test
- be of good character
Holders of indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
In most circumstances, you will be eligible to apply for ILR after five years of living in the UK lawfully. Once you have ILR, you will then be able to apply for British citizenship one year later.
You will also need to*:
- Be over 18
- Prove you were in the UK exactly five years before the day the Home Office receives your application
- Prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
- Have passed the life in the UK test
- Intend to continue living in the UK
- Be of good character
Migrants with ‘permanent residence’
Individuals and family members from the EU, EEA or Switzerland can acquire permanent residence status after five years in the UK, and citizenship one year later. Those who met the five-year residence requirement over one year ago will be able to apply for citizenship immediately. The additional criteria* for this route to citizenship are the same as for ILR (as listed above).
EU nationals with Settled Status
EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals can acquire Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme after exercising their treaty rights in the UK for five years. They can then apply for British citizenship 12 months later. The additional criteria* for this route to citizenship are the same as for ILR (as listed above).
In all cases, you will need to complete Form AN (Application for naturalisation as a British citizen), either online or by using the paper form. At present, it costs £1,330 to apply for naturalisation in the UK in addition to £19.20 to have your biometric information processed.
How Can I Acquire A Replacement UK Citizenship Certificate?
It is not uncommon for important documents such as citizenship certificates to be mislaid or damaged. There are two separate processes to request a replacement depending on when you became a British citizen.
If you acquired UK citizenship after 30 September 1986
Assuming that you are physically in the UK, you can apply online for a replacement certificate using form NC. The cost is £250. If you are applying from outside of the UK, you will need to complete the paper version of form NC and send it to:
- the Lieutenant Governor if you are in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
- the Governor of the territory if you are in a British Overseas Territory
- UK Visas and Immigration at the following postal address if you live elsewhere:
New Hall Place
If you acquired UK citizenship before October 1986
Unfortunately, it is not possible to get a replacement certificate from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if you became a British citizen prior to October 1986. Instead, you may be able to order one from the National Archives. The National Archives hold copies of registration certificates which were issued between 1 January 1949 and 30 September 1986, and naturalisation certificates issued between 1 January 1844 and 30 September 1986.
If you make a request to the National Archives, a member of their team will contact you via email or post with the results of your search within ten working days. Their website explains, “If we find the certificate, we will provide the certificate number and explain how to order a copy. Standard copies take up to 24 working days to dispatch. Certified copies take up to 16 working days to dispatch. If we don’t find the certificate, we will advise who to contact for further information”. Having the assistance of a trained archive specialist will mean that you don’t have to complete the search on your own (a potentially daunting process), and should increase your chances of acquiring a copy of the certificate you need.
If you need to replace your UK certificate of naturalisation / citizenship, the process is relatively quick and easy if you were first granted your certificate from October 1986 onwards. If you received yours earlier, thankfully the National Archives do keep official records, and should with the aid of their expertise, be able to provide you with a copy.
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