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Applying for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 12 Dec 2017 | 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 I been live in the U.K. For 14 years and I never apply for British citizenship I wish like to know what do I need to do for get British citizenship Emma ..
Emma - 12-Dec-17 @ 8:29 PM
@Rose to qualify for British citizenship you must have ILR for at least 12 months. To qualify for ILR you need to have lived legally in the UK for at least 5 years excluding time spent on a student visa.
TJ. - 2-Dec-17 @ 9:07 AM
My residence permit will expire on august, 2018. If i will renew my visa, do i am qualified for british citizen or ILR
Rose - 1-Dec-17 @ 9:47 PM
@Kiran in your case you can use Form T on the govuk website to register as a British citizen.
TJ. - 28-Nov-17 @ 3:30 PM
@TJ thank you for your response! What is the process of a registration? I’ve lived here for 24 years so I’m sure a registration is what I would be going for. Thank you again
Kiran - 28-Nov-17 @ 12:24 AM
@Kiran if you were born in the UK before your mother naturalized as a British citizen and it was after 1983 then you are not a British citizen. If you are under 18 or lived in the UK for the 1st 10 years of your life, you can register otherwise you can naturalize as a British citizen after getting ILR.
TJ. - 25-Nov-17 @ 10:22 PM
Hi! I came to UK as a student in year 2010. I married my husband October 2011. I took IELTS Exam after my wedding around November 2011 and got 6.5 overall band score ( academic module). December 2011 I submitted my residence card visa application, along with all the requirements including my IELTS Result. March 2012 I received my Residence Card under family member of EEA National. Fast forward, November 2016 I have applied for Permanent Resident and eventually received my PR CARD on April 2017. Home office sent me letter that I am eligible to apply anytime for my British Citisenship. October 2017 I have passed LiFe in the UK Test, now my question before applying for British Citizen, Do i still need to passed English Test?
Mariez - 24-Nov-17 @ 8:58 PM
Hi all, I wanted any help or advice on my first British passport. I was born in the uk (with a British birth certificate), I have never left the UK and I have the ability to work without a permit and study. My mum was born in Uganda and came on my grandmothers passport when Idi Amin kicked residents out of Africa. My mother was naturalised but has never been given a letter for an ILR. She now has a British passport however me and my siblings are struggling to attain one! I have been advised that I should be naturalised or registered to attain British citizenship. Any help or advice would be perfect! Thank you
Kiran - 15-Nov-17 @ 7:26 PM
my cusine married with british national who died last month . she come to UK on 01 May,2014. she have hold pakistani nationality her2nd time my visa extended till September 2019.Can shestill apply for ILR /nationality and during this period. I hear now nationality will attained after 10 years.
khan - 10-Nov-17 @ 7:32 AM
Jc - Your Question:
My husband is French and has livedand worked here for 43years we have been married for 41 years. Does he have to apply for residency after we leave the EU.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which should tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 3-Nov-17 @ 11:03 AM
@Jc your husband is already probably a Permanent resident in the UK and is entitled to apply for British citizenship. To apply for British citizenship he will need to apply for a PR card. Also negotiations for the UK leaving the EU are still ongoing but it looks like EU citizens will need to regularize their status after the UK leaves the EU.
TJ. - 3-Nov-17 @ 7:41 AM
Hallo I had certificat from esol course from trinity London collage2014do I can use this certificate to apply for british passpor? ?I also hadcertificat from 2017 Eastleigh Collage Please give me any advice
kate - 2-Nov-17 @ 4:55 PM
My husband is French and has livedand worked here for 43years we have been married for 41 years. Does he have to apply for residency after we leave the EU.
Jc - 2-Nov-17 @ 11:01 AM
@Eva as long as you are if signed mind and between the ages of 18-65 then you will go through the normal process to naturalize as a British citizen.
TJ. - 2-Nov-17 @ 8:27 AM
@Snoopy you have to first register your child as a British citizen because the child was born before you had ILR.
TJ. - 2-Nov-17 @ 8:25 AM
@Del it costs £962 to naturalize as a British citizen excluding any legal advice fees you may incur.
TJ. - 2-Nov-17 @ 8:23 AM
I have a son in the UK in 2007 without my Indefinite leave to remain and I received my Indefinite leave to remain in 2009. Do I have to do the naturalization for him? He is 10yrs now.
Snoopy - 2-Nov-17 @ 7:31 AM
I have been in England for 23 years and have been granted indefinite leave to remain can I become a British citizen or be natruralize and how much is it I am fully employed
Del - 1-Nov-17 @ 8:39 PM
I have ILR since 2013 with my resident settlement card. I would like to apply for biritsh citizenship now, however I do not think I will be able to go through the process, as I suffer from server depression, I also suffer from memory loss as well as having physical difficulties. I would like to know what the process is for people with disabilities? Is there a 9process different?
Eva - 26-Oct-17 @ 3:15 PM
Tina - Your Question:
I have entered the UK on 28th September 2010 on a student visa. I got married to my husband who was born in the UK and holds a British Passport in 2014. I obtained a spouse visa in July 2015 which will expire in February 2018. I had valid student visa from September 2010 to September 2015. I have been living in the UK with permission for over 7 years ( under student and spouse visa ). I passed Life in the UK test and have a Bsc degree. Can I apply for Indefinite leave to remain now? Can I apply for citizenship straight away or have to apply for Indefinite leave to remain first? Which is the fastest way for me to become a British citizen?

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk link here, which will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:59 PM
I have entered the UK on 28th September 2010 on a student visa. I got married to my husband who was born in the UK and holds a British Passport in 2014. I obtained a spouse visa in July 2015 which will expire in February 2018. I had valid student visa from September 2010 to September 2015. I have been living in the UK with permission for over 7 years ( under student and spouse visa ). I passed Life in the UK test and have a Bsc degree. Can I apply for Indefinite leave to remain now? Can I apply for citizenship straight away or have to apply for Indefinite leave to remain first? Which is the fastest way for me to become a British citizen?
Tina - 22-Oct-17 @ 9:55 PM
Cheska - Your Question:
I have passed my life in uk test and the English test also I have passed about to years ago.I want to know if I gave to write the English test again now that am going to apply for my indefinite leave to remain

Our Response:
You don’t need to take the test if you have passed the test before - for example, if you’re applying to become a citizen and already passed it as part of your settlement application
AboutImmigration - 20-Oct-17 @ 12:34 PM
I have passed my life in uk test and the English test also I have passed about to years ago.I want to know if I gave to write the English test again now that am going to apply for my indefinite leave to remain
Cheska - 19-Oct-17 @ 7:21 AM
I married awith british national who died last month . I come to UK on01 May,2014. I havehold pakistani nationality and2ndtime my visa extended tillSeptember 2019.Can I still apply for ILR /nationality and during this period. I hear now nationality will attained after 10 years.
khan - 16-Oct-17 @ 11:00 AM
I have dsction live3 here and three years after I getindefinite leave to remain How long I apply British citizen
Khaliq - 12-Oct-17 @ 2:00 AM
Hi, I took the life in the uk test and got my lir in 2012. I'm now applying for naturalisation. Is my life in the uk test still valid?
Mimi - 12-Sep-17 @ 10:14 PM
My wife entered the Uk in October 2015 on spouse visa. Her BRP expires in July 2018. Do wehave to apply in June2018 or can we do it earlier. If we do it early will it have a knock on effect as the Leave to remain will be for an additional 30 months so we will not reach the 5 year requirement? When we eventually apply for ILR does she have to be resident for a further 12 months before applying for citizenship ? Your help will be greatly appreciated.
monalex - 10-Sep-17 @ 8:16 PM
kana - Your Question:
I married to a British citizen and granted leave to remain since 1999. I have never applied for dual nationality however now I would like to do so. What do I need to do?

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which should help further.
AboutImmigration - 4-Sep-17 @ 1:44 PM
I married to a British citizen and granted leave to remain since 1999. I have never applied for dual nationality however now I would like to do so. What do I need to do?
kana - 3-Sep-17 @ 6:31 PM
I've obtained a Permanent Residence document and would like to apply for a British Citizenship and Passport. I've lived in the UK since the age of 9 and therefore have completed my GCSEs and A-Levels here, and I am currently at an English university. Given this, will I still have to pass the tests proving my skills of English language, as well as the Life in the UK test, or is there a way I can apply for a citizenship without having to do these exams, given my previous qualifications? Thanks.
Marta - 22-Aug-17 @ 10:27 PM
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