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Applying for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 19 Aug 2019 | comments*Discuss
Applying For Uk Citizenship

Before Applying for Citizenship

Before making a formal application for British citizenship applicants should ensure that they satisfy all eligibility criteria. They will also have to have taken, and passed, either the Life in the UK Test or the combined English for Speakers of Other Languages and citizenship classes course. Applicants for UK citizenship will fail if they have not passed either the test or a course before they make their application.

Eligibility for UK Citizenship by Naturalisation

The application for British Citizenship by naturalisation is made using form AN.

To be eligible for British citizenship by way of naturalisation applicants must:

  • Be aged at least 18 and of sound mind;
  • Intend to continue to live in the UK;
  • Be able to speak English to an acceptable level. Applicants can also satisfy this requirement if they are able to communicate in one of the other languages of the UK: Welsh or Scottish Gaelic;
  • Have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK;
  • Be of good character – this relates to whether or not an applicant has any relevant criminal convictions; and,
  • Satisfy the residence criteria.

The Residential Qualifying Period

The starting point for satisfying the residence criteria for British citizenship is that the applicant has lived in the UK, with permission, for five years – this is the ‘residential qualifying period’.

An applicant for citizenship must also have been in the UK on the date which fell five years before the date on which they make their application. When considering applications for citizenship the relevant date is the date on which the application is received by the UK Border Agency. This means that applicants must physically have been in the UK precisely five years before the date on which the application is received. If they were not, the application will fail even if all other eligibility criteria are met. Timing when the application is submitted could be crucial to its success.

The residence requirement can still be satisfied even if the applicant has spent substantial periods of time outside the UK during the residential qualifying period. To remain eligible under the residential requirement applicants:

  • must not have been out of the UK for more than 450 days in the whole of the five year period; and,
  • must not have been out of the UK for more than 90 days in the last 12 months of the five-year qualifying period.
Applicants must also not have been in breach of any of the immigration rules during the five-year qualifying period.

Applying for UK Citizenship

Once applicants are satisfied that they meet all criteria they should complete form AN in block capitals using either a black or a dark blue pen. Many local authorities provide a service whereby they will check forms to ensure that they have been filled in correctly. A fee may be payable for this service.

Form AN in divided into six sections – not all applicants have to fill in all sections. Sections 1 to 3 and 5 and 6 are to be completed by all applicants. Section 4 only relates to applicants whose application for citizenship is based on Crown service.

Sections 1 to 3 cover personal information, residence requirements and good character. All sections must be filled as completely as possible. Special care should be taken when providing personal information as this will be used when preparing the certificate of naturalisation which is the proof of British citizenship.

Section 5 of the form requires the applicant to provide a full face passport photograph. This section also requires the applicant to give the names and details of two referees who have known the applicant for three years. One applicant must be a “professional” and the other must be a British passport holder who is either at least 25 years old or a professional. The UK Border Agency website contains a list of all professions which qualify an individual to be a referee.

Section 6 requires the applicant to give a signed declaration in support of their application. The form should be dated and all relevant documents which prove that the eligibility criteria are satisfied must be submitted with the form.

Paying the Fee

The fee for the application must be paid at the time the application is submitted and may be paid by debit or credit card, cheque, or transcash. A payment slip should be downloaded from the UK Border Agency website. The fees are non-refundable.

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HI ! how long does it take for 16 years old, citizenships
israt - 19-Aug-19 @ 7:10 PM
I had an Entry 3 English certificate with a date of 2014 from Trinity College and a Level 2 ESOL from City&Guilds 2018 I just heard they are not valid for the process of British Citizenship, is that true? Thank you
Evling - 12-Jul-19 @ 11:01 AM
if I applay for British citisenship will I need to prove that I was working for last 5 yesars and paying tax?What if I have a gap of 2 years?can I still applay for it ?
amber - 5-Jun-19 @ 9:57 AM
Hi ...I have been in uk from last 17 years on ILR...been out of uk more than 470 days in last 5 years.. can I apply for British citizenship after I pass my life in uk test ?? And also been out of uk this year from 1st jan to 27th March so when can I take my life in uk test ?? How long I have to wait to book my test ??
Sukhi - 18-Apr-19 @ 1:35 AM
Hi I am a residentin Uk since 2007 and never stayed more than a mouth outside of uk. I have applied for EU settlement Scheme this year and was granted indefinite leave to remain. Do I still need to wait for another 12 months after getting IR document? Or can I apply for citizenship straight away as I got the status on 2012? Kind Regards
Orlandini - 5-Apr-19 @ 10:12 PM
Hi, I've lived in the UK since 2009 and I've been married to a UK citizen also since 2009. I've had ILR since 2013. I passed English level 2 City and Guilds with a combined Life in the UK course to get this. I passed my Life in the UK test 2018 and am now looking to get UK Citizenship. Do I need English level B1 to achieve this?
Fang - 21-Jan-19 @ 2:37 PM
My son was born in UK hes 18 now does he need to write the life test.
Ess - 3-Jan-19 @ 1:42 PM
I got my ILR in 2010 when I wanted to apply for my naturalisation I was told we now need to wait for 10 years from the time I received my ILR to apply for naturalisation is that true!
Bibs - 25-Nov-18 @ 10:25 PM
I am a British Citizen by Registration since 1993. I just gave birth to my daughter in Hong Kong this year. I believe she is a British Citizenship by descent. I wonder what document can I apply for her as a proof of her citizenship other than a British passport? I have a certificate of registration. Will she have something similar as a proof of citizenship?
STL - 1-Nov-18 @ 1:58 PM
@Mj- So, what happened? Have you applied for citizenship? I have same problem here with my ILR in expired passport but I've been living here for over 10 years. Do I need to get BRP to be able to apply? Kind regards Amp.
Amp - 27-Oct-18 @ 3:40 AM
Dear Concern I have the citizenship documents of uk, camden. I was born there on 15 august 1982. My parents were unaware about the process of applying citizenship. We stayed in uk for 3 years. My father was a govt official and was deployed there for a limited time. Please help me regarding this issue.
sheetal - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:34 AM
How does having an IVA affect citizenship application
Dixie - 29-Jul-18 @ 4:51 AM
@Mj - You will need to apply for the biometric card before you can apply to naturalise as a British citizen.
TJ. - 18-Jul-18 @ 12:38 PM
@Nikki - You can apply for ILR if you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of at least 5 years on ONE specific visa. So you must apply for ILRusing your spouse visa. If you apply for another visa you will have to wait for an additional 5 year period before you could qualify for ILR. NHS surcharge is not required for ILR applications.
TJ. - 18-Jul-18 @ 12:36 PM
Hello. It will be 5 years for me living on spouse visa on 1st August and my visa will expire in Dec 2018. I want to apply for ILR now. When can I apply for the same ? Will there be any NHS surcharge for ILR application too? Can I apply as an entrepreneur sponsoring myself and not by my partner finds and which form should I fill in for ? Thank you
Nikki - 17-Jul-18 @ 2:11 PM
Hi I have an indefinite right to remain in my old passport, my currentpassport expires in a week. I am looking to apply for neutralization but my concern are Both passports are going to be expired, does one need to be updated Will I need a biometric card or can I just go with my indefinite right to remain stamp Kind regards Mj
Mj - 11-Jul-18 @ 4:24 AM
Hi recieved indefinite leave to remain 2009 how long do I Have to wait before I start naturalisation process
Drea - 8-Jul-18 @ 8:20 PM
@Keanett - Before an EU citizen can apply for British citizenship they have to first apply for a Permanent Residency (PR) card. EU citizens can apply for a PR card after they have continuously lived in the UK for at least 5 years while working, studying or being self sufficient.
TJ. - 2-Jul-18 @ 10:15 AM
Hi, My husband lives in the UK for more than 10 years and me only for 3 years.We are both hungarians.The question is Can we apply for British citizenship in the same time or do I have to wait until he become a British citizen? Many thanks
keanett - 1-Jul-18 @ 3:29 PM
Hi, I am planning to apply for British citizenship this summer. I have fulfilled 12 months with my Indefinite Leave to Remain and 5 years in total living in the UK as settled. I have also passed my Life in the UK test and have the requested proof of English. For the past five years, I have been abroad for around 50 days in total and my mum and brother acquired British citizenship last year. My issue is currently I am at uni and this September I am going on my compulsory year abroad in Japan. It lasts from September until around June. I plan to visit my family during the holidays as much as I can afford and after my year abroad I plan to come back to the UK and intend to live and work here. If my application is successful I can come back to the UK for the ceremony. My problem is would my application be refused if I was on a compulsory study abroad. I can't delay the year abroad at all as that would affect my studies very negatively and I am scared that I wouldn't be able to come back to the UK as I would be away for more than 90 days. I am also worried if I need to give my permit card or original passport as that would cause me problems during my year abroad in Japan. Could you tell me how my study abroad would affect my naturalisation process please? Thanks a lot.
Su - 10-Jun-18 @ 6:04 PM
Hi,I want to apply for my british nationality through UKF form and I need some kind of consultent for this purpose.Is there any consultant whom I can contact in COVENTRY WEST MIDLANDS ?
Peter - 7-Jun-18 @ 9:31 AM
Hi came into UK Dec 28 2013 with a spouse visa valid for three years but before the three years expiration was separated from my husband who is a British citizen due to domestic violence.I got my indefinite live to remain in 2015, I have passed my English language requirement and life in Uk test.Can I apply for naturalisation now or wait till December 28th2018.
Kiju - 20-May-18 @ 1:48 PM
I found below phrase in UK Naturalisation Booklet Please note: if your absences are up to 450 days we would expect you to have been resident in the UK for the last 4 years. I came to UK in 2013, trying apply for Naturalisation as spouse of British Citizen. I was out of UK during my maternity for 1 year 2 months in 2016 - 17. During that time I was getting my salary, maternity benefits, I paid tax. Will I be considered as Resident in the last 4 years even with this absences.
sri - 18-May-18 @ 4:16 PM
No more than 90 days outside the UK in each of the first 10 years of your life what does it mean in total 90 day in 10 years
Nick - 8-May-18 @ 1:24 AM
@ioly - The child can only register as a British citizen if he/she was born in the UK and lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life without leaving for more than 90 days in any given year.
TJ. - 5-May-18 @ 1:25 PM
can i apply for UK citizenship only for a child who has not been living outside the UK for more than 90 days a year within 10 years ?
ioly - 4-May-18 @ 8:28 PM
(prev posted in residency by mistake) Hi seeking advice I am British citizen living in US (for 4 years).I am married to an american man, we just have adopted 1 child and am in process of adopting another.I want to return to UK next year - what do i need to do to get my adopted children UK passports and citizenship? also, can anyone recommend UK solicitor who can help us....have spoken to a few but many are confusing my case with international adoption ...which ours is not because we adopted US children while living in the US.Thanks in advance.
trinityxx - 25-Apr-18 @ 1:32 AM
My two sons, aged 8 and 11, were born in the U.S. but have been living in the UK since 2011. My husband is a British citizen,born in England to parents who are English.My sons have had indefinite leave to remain visas and anow we want to get them british citizenship. Is filling out the MN1 the right form for claiming British citizenship by descent?
Harris - 24-Apr-18 @ 10:39 AM
Shob - Your Question:
Hi!I have been married to a British citizen for 29 years and living here for the last 28 years.During this time I have had Indefinite leave to remain. I now wish to apply for naturalisation to become a British citizen. Would I need to do any exams/ test for my application. I do know that years ago nothing of the sort was required but unfortunately I thought I would be fine with the Leave to remain on spousal grounds.Thanks for your help and advise,regards,Shob

Our Response:
Everything you wish to know is contained in the gov.uk link here , including information on knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements.
AboutImmigration - 20-Apr-18 @ 9:42 AM
Hi! I have been married to a British citizen for 29 years and living here for the last 28 years. During this time I have had Indefinite leave to remain. I now wish to apply for naturalisation to become a British citizen.. Would I need to do any exams/ test for my application... I do know that years ago nothing of the sort was required but unfortunately I thought I would be fine with the Leave to remain on spousal grounds. Thanks for your help and advise, regards, Shob
Shob - 19-Apr-18 @ 1:15 PM
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