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Applying for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 16 Oct 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Dwight - Your Question:
HiI have lived in the UK now for close on 15 years. I am a South African national and would like to nationalise as a UK citerzin. I have not Nationalises upto now because the fee is very high and I would struggle to pay £1,200 up front. As I dont have that amount free. Is there anouther way I could pay the fee as installments or something like that. Please advise.

Our Response:
I'm afraid there are no other ways to pay the fees other than those listed via the gov.uk link here .
AboutImmigration - 22-Aug-17 @ 2:19 PM
Hi I have lived in the UK now for close on 15 years. I am a South African national and would like to nationaliseas a UK citerzin. I have not Nationalises upto now because the fee is very high and I would struggle to pay £1,200up front . As I dont have that amount free. Is there anouther way I could pay the fee as installments or something like that. Please advise..
Dwight - 18-Aug-17 @ 11:45 AM
I want to apply for a British citizen. However, I have been away for 512 days in the past 5 years because I followed my husband who had a research post in Europe for 6 months in 2013. Am I still eligible for a British citizenship? Will my application be successful? Thank you very much in advance.
Shienny - 10-Aug-17 @ 9:13 AM
Z k m - Your Question:
My husband is a PhD student in the UK and he is nearly finished 4years and we live with him. he has plan to work in the UK after that, it might be for 2 or 3 years. My question is could we apply for the UK citizenship after 5 years staying in the uk?We are originally from Iraq.Thanks.

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 27-Jul-17 @ 12:54 PM
My husband is a PhD student in the UK and he is nearly finished 4years and we live with him. he has plan to work in the UK after that, it might be for 2 or 3 years. My question is could we apply for the UK citizenship after 5 years staying in the uk?We are originally from Iraq. Thanks.
Z k m - 25-Jul-17 @ 11:37 PM
Hello, My husband is trying to apply for British citizenship. He is an EEA national and was issued his Permanent resident card in January 2017. However, it stated that he obtained permanent resident status in April 2012. Should he apply straight away or should we wait till January 2018 to apply. Thanks
Chichi - 25-Jul-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hi, I have an Irish passport, have lived in the U.K. since I was 13 (40 now). Married to British man (13 years now) and have 2 kids both with British passports. Should I get a British passport? If so what's the best way to do this?
Shirley - 17-Jul-17 @ 11:25 AM
I am a british subject born here,in Oct2016 I married a zambian citizen who has lived in the uk for 10yrs she has a right of abode visa in her passport this was granted when she was widowed in zambia and she came here with her family, can she now apply and receive a uk passport
sam - 15-Jul-17 @ 6:58 PM
I married a zambian citizen in oct2016 and she has a right of abode visa granted by way of her previous marriage to a british subject, she was widowed and came to the uk with her family in 2005 she has worked here all the time paid tax has a national ins no but we find now we have increasing difficulty when travelling to and from zambia we need to know if she can be granted a uk passport or get dual nationality
sam - 15-Jul-17 @ 6:52 PM
Hi please i need some advise. I have been in the uk since 1992 but i do not no the exact date and the application reuqires a date of arrival to the uk, what should i put down?i have also had my indefinite leave to remain for over 7 years now. Can anyone help me please as i was too young to remember the exact date of my arrival back in 1992
AISHA - 3-Jul-17 @ 10:46 AM
Hello there, I wonder if someone can help me. I got my Indefinite last year in July and I will be applying for citizenship this year in July and I was wondering if I still need to provide all the documents for the pat 5 year including the dates I have been living and returning to the country. I did provide all this info last year and I thought that I might just send my Indefinite card and the info only for the past one year. I will really appreciate if someone can advise! Many Thanks Silviya
Silv - 24-Jun-17 @ 8:11 PM
Success - Your Question:
Me and my husband where granted Refugee status in 2009. Then 2014 we got ILR as Refugee Settlement. Are we eligible to apply for neutralization yet or not? We also had children after we received our Refugee Status. Thank you for your help.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 20-Jun-17 @ 11:41 AM
Me and my husband where granted Refugee status in 2009. Then 2014 we got ILR as Refugee Settlement. Are we eligible to apply for neutralization yet or not? We also had children after we received our Refugee Status. Thank you for your help.
Success - 17-Jun-17 @ 9:05 AM
Hi I currently have ILR and would like to apply for citizenship but my passport with my ILR is expired. Can I still apply with that passport or do I need to renew it first. Also, if I renew the passport do I then need to have my ILR transferred to the new passport first? Thank you
Aljatan - 14-Jun-17 @ 9:24 PM
@Abbas your wife will be eligible to apply for ILR after 5 years of legal residence in the UK assuming she has a family visa. She can apply for British citizenship immediately after receiving ILR.
TJ. - 13-Jun-17 @ 6:55 AM
Hi, I’m a British citizen and my wife moved to the UK on 28/06/2013. Am I correct in thinking that she can apply for ILR any time after 28/06/2018 (i.e. 60 month after she moved to the UK) even though her second visa extension is valid to 16/09/2018 or can she apply 28 days before the 5 year period comes to an end? (She has only been absent from the UK for a few normal holiday periods of 1 or 2 weeks.) And can she apply for citizenship as soon as she is granted ILR (i.e. she won’t have to wait for 12 month.) Thanks for your advise
Abbas - 12-Jun-17 @ 4:34 PM
Oz - Your Question:
I'm Australian, me and my immediate family (mother father sis and bro) all moved to England in 1997 where I have lived ever since. I have 'indefinite leave to remain in uk' in my passport. My grandfather on my fathers side was Scottish, and my father has both Australian and English passports. I recently married an English gal. Am I automatically an English citizen or do I still need to apply? I'm a little confused, help please!

Our Response:
You will still need to register on the back of your ILR.
AboutImmigration - 22-May-17 @ 11:15 AM
I'm Australian, me and my immediate family (mother father sis and bro) all moved to England in 1997 where I have lived ever since. I have 'indefinite leave to remain in uk' in my passport. My grandfather on my fathers side was Scottish, and my father has both Australian and English passports. I recently married an English gal. Am I automatically an English citizen or do I still need to apply? I'm a little confused, help please!
Oz - 21-May-17 @ 9:46 AM
I and my wife has been separated for the past 6yrs and I want to apply for a british passport do I need to attach her passport to mine application or not Thanks
Swanzy - 20-May-17 @ 10:13 AM
I am a permanent resident having indefinite stay in this country since 1981. My husband is a British citizen,retired NHS doctor. After retirement we have been on frequent holidays so in the last 3 years I stayed in this country for 552 days i.e. I was away for 543 days. Can Ibe eligible for Brish citizenship ?
Bird - 2-May-17 @ 7:09 PM
Mary - Your Question:
I have been in uk since 1999, I have 3 children which they are all British. But I still have a temporary residence which will expires in February 2018. All my 3 children were born here in uk. Can I just apply directly for British passport?

Our Response:
You don't say whether you are on a visa or have ILR. You can check via the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 26-Apr-17 @ 12:44 PM
I have been in uk since 1999, I have 3 children which they are all British.But I still have a temporary residence which will expires in February 2018. All my 3 children were born here in uk. Can I just apply directly for British passport?
Mary - 25-Apr-17 @ 2:40 PM
I was born in Portugal and came to the uk when i was 8 months old, my mum & dad got permanent residency after we came and my dad also went on to have a British passport, aswell as my younger sibling who was born here, fast forward to now, im 26 with a Portuguese passport trying to apply for neutralisation, iv passed the life in the uk test & B1 English certificate but i have not directly had a permanent residence card myself, do i need to go through the whole process of a residency card or is there something i can do because i need this done as quickly as possible?
Lexy - 22-Apr-17 @ 11:38 PM
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