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Naturalisation frequently asked questions (FAQ)

The application form used to apply for naturalisation as a British Citizen is known as Form AN.
The following are the seven requirements needed before the individual can apply for naturalisation as a British Citizen:
  • The individual must be aged 18 or over;
  • The individual must be of sound mind;
  • He or she must be able to communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to an acceptable level;
  • He or she must also plan to keep living in the UK or continue in Crown service (the service of an international establishment where UK is a member) or the service of an organisation or association founded in the UK;
  • The individual must have adequate knowledge of life in the UK Economy;
  • :He or she must be of good character;
  • The residential requirements must be met by the individual;
  • The applicant must have been a resident for a period of at least five years in the UK and this period is known as the residential qualifying period;
  • Before the date of the application, the individual must have been present for a period of five years;
  • During the five year period, the individual must not spend more than 450 days outside the UK Economy;
  • In the last year of the five year period, the individual must not spend more than 90 days outside the UK Economy;
  • During the five year period, the applicant must not be in breach of the Immigration Rules at any level.
From the day the individual’s application is received by the UKBA, the calculation of the residential qualifying period begins. At the beginning of the residential qualifying period if the applicant is not present in the UK, his or her applications may end up being unsuccessful. The applicant must make sure his requirements are met before making an application. For instance, an applicant must show that they were in the UK on 26 March 2005 if their application will be received by the UKBA on 25 March 2005.

The applicant is not permitted to include time spent in the UK while he or she is exempted from immigration control as part of the residential qualifying period. During the time where an individual is exempted from immigration control is when the individual has spent time in any place of detention or as a member of the armed forces or as a diplomat in the UK. When the UKBA assesses the individual’s application, these exempted periods are treated as absence from the UK Economy.
When an individual applies for naturalisation, he or she must be free from immigration time restrictions. During the last twelve months of the residential qualifying period, the individual must be free from immigration time restrictions unless he or she is married or is the civil partner of a British Citizen.

A stamp or sticker will be in the applicant’s passport which states that the applicant has indefinite leave to remain or enter or no time limit to stay in the UK if the applicant is free from immigration time restrictions. Also, the applicant may receive from the Home Office a letter or Biometric Residence Permit which states that the individual is free from immigration conditions. .
An applicant who has exercised EEA free-movement rights for a continuous period of five year period in the UK ending on or after the 30th of April 2006 and is a national of the Economic European Area (EEA) country or Switzerland or the family member of such an individual, he or she will automatically be granted permanent residence status. The applicant does not need to apply for leave to remain. Before applying for naturalisation the individual must have held a permanent residence status for a period of twelve months.

The individual’s residence will be broken if he or she has been outside the UK for a period of six months or more in any one of the five years of residence period but this does not apply if:

  • The individuals absence has been due to military service;
  • The absences were due to significant reasons such as pregnancy, serious illnesses, childcare, study, overseas posting or vocational training and all the absences are under one year.

The individual will lose his or her permanent residence status if he or she is absent from the UK for a continuous period of two years or more.

As long as the individual has not been absent for a period of two years or more and he or she has indefinite leave to remain (ILR), he or she will be considered to be settled in the UK.

The individual must not have been away for more than 450 days throughout the last five years during the residential qualifying period. In the last one year of those five years, the individual must also not have been absent for more than 90 days. The UKBA has the discretion to permit absences over the normal limits.
The following must be shown if the individual is applying on the grounds of his or her Crown service and not for his or her residence in the UK:
  • On the date that the application is received, the individual must show that he or she has been serving overseas in the Crown service;
  • He or she must have been the owner of a responsible post abroad;
  • Over a substantial period, the individual must show that he has been given outstanding service;
  • He or she must also show that they have a close link with the UK.
The only alternative to the residence requirements for naturalisation is the Crown Service. Although the other requirements for naturalisation must be met by the individual.
Absences of up to 300 days are normally disregarded by the Home Office.

An individual who has established a home, family, a huge part of his or her estate in the UK and the individual has also met all other necessary requirements, the Home Office will disregard his or her absences if the individual has been absent between 301 and 540 days.
The following will also be expected by the Home Office:
  • For the individual to be away from the UK for 450 days, he or she is expected to have been a resident for the past four years in the UK; or
  • The individual must have been a resident in the UK for the past five years if he or she has been away for more than 450 days; or
  • For the absences to occur, the individual must proof that he or she must have been serving overseas in Crown service or his/her spouse or civil partner was serving overseas in the Crown service or a designated service; or
  • Due to the nature of the individual’s work, the absences could not be avoided, for instance if the individual is a merchant seaman or works in a UK-based business that involves frequent travel overseas; or
  • There are unique and convincing motives of an occupational and compassionate nature, such as the getting a British citizenship is a sincere requirement for an individual who just got a firm job offer.
The absences are normally disregarded by the Home Office if an individual has been away during the final year for a total of 100 days from the UK.

During the final year if an individual has been absent from the UK for a period of 101 to 180 days the Home Office will disregard the absences if:

  • Over the qualifying period the individual has met the residence requirements;
  • The individual has a connection with the UK Economy by establishing his or her home, family or a huge part of his or her estate.

If the individual has not met the residence requirements over the qualifying period and has been absent between 101 to 180 days, the Home Office will disregard these absences if:
  • A connection has been created with the UK by establishing the individual’s home, family and a huge part of his or her estate;
  • The absences happened because the individual was serving overseas in Crown Service or for a convincing job-related or compassionate reason.

The absences will only be disregarded if the individual has been away from the UK for more than 180 days if:
  • Over the qualifying period, the individual has met the residence requirements;
  • By establishing a home, family and a huge part of his or her estate, the individual has demonstrated a connection with the UK Economy; and
  • The absences occurred due to the individual serving overseas in Crown Service or for a convincing job-related or compassionate motive.
The absences will only be disregarded by the Home Office in exceptional cases if the individual has not met the residence requirements and his or her absence from the UK has lasted for more than 180 days.
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