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Applying for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 19 Apr 2018 | 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]
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
Hi im being living in uk for about 10 year and i got my indifinite visa in 2011 so can i apply for citizenship without givien life in the uk test thanks
Khan - 15-Apr-18 @ 5:31 PM
I am married tobritish citizen and have obtained my ILR after 5 years route. Do I have to wait for another 12 months on my ILR before applying for naturalisation??
Sy - 7-Apr-18 @ 3:05 PM
Hi, I have got my Refugee ILR just recently, and after that i have married to BC , Can i apply for naturalization now or do i need to wait to complete the 12 months for my Refugee ILR (as my husband is BC)? Regards PS
PS - 1-Apr-18 @ 7:27 PM
@craddy - to apply for British citizenship you must have not committed any immigration offence in the last 10 years. Its pretty self explanatory
TJ. - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:14 AM
Hiya, when does the 10 year clock for overstaying start? I left the UK voluntarily as a 6 week overstayer on April 19th 2008. Can I apply April 20th 2018 without refusal due to the good character requirement? The HO have given me two different answers via telephone!! Thanks!
Craddy - 29-Mar-18 @ 6:50 PM
@zain - applications for British citizenship take up to 6 months or even longer.
TJ. - 25-Mar-18 @ 1:16 PM
Hi there, i have applied for naturalization in November 2017 using NCS . Somehow passport department manage to take money out of my account but nationality services send me letter stating bank accounts again to take money which i did.homeoffice debt my account in 2nd week of december.Havn't heard anything back yet . I had toiec issue which was cleared in court too. So, what's your opinion on this? How long Homeoffice can take more to send me decision?
Zain - 25-Mar-18 @ 11:49 AM
Alisharif - Your Question:
HelloTo apply for citizenship, I was told that I have to take two tests:1. Life in the UK Test. This is computer based test done a Learndirect centres2. English Language Entry Level 3 speaking and listening test done at Trinity College London and IELTS SELT Consortium.You mentioned ‘combined English for Speakers of Other Languages and citizenship classes course’.Where can I do this course? Could you give me a website or website link for more information pleaseThank you

Our Response:
You need to take the test as part of your application for British citizenship or settlement in the UK. This is the only official government service for booking the Life in the UK Test here. You may be able to find our where you can take the courses you require via the helpline link.
AboutImmigration - 23-Mar-18 @ 10:31 AM
Hello To apply for citizenship, I was told that I have to take two tests: 1. Life in the UK Test. This is computer based test done a Learndirect centres 2. English Language Entry Level 3 speaking and listening test done at Trinity College London and IELTS SELT Consortium. You mentioned ‘combined English for Speakers of Other Languages and citizenship classes course’. Where can I do this course? Could you give me a website or website link for more information please Thank you
Alisharif - 22-Mar-18 @ 9:37 AM
Hi, who know anything about the fees for the citizenship from April 2018, will increase? How much? Thank you.
ATJ - 21-Mar-18 @ 9:08 PM
Hi i applied for naturalization certificate on the 5th January 2018 and gave my biometrics two weeks after, how long more do I have to wait to receive my naturalization certificate? Any body applied around the same time? Please inform I have to go on holiday
Ob - 13-Mar-18 @ 8:44 PM
Hi, My wife has her ILR since 2009 and has recently passed her life in the UK test. I'm aware of the fee increase coming into affect April 2018 but is there any new changes to how a person can obtain UK citizenship? (New application process, or documents to submit).
Sammy - 12-Mar-18 @ 2:15 PM
hello,hope someone can give me some advice pls. just got a letter from home office asking me send proof of being in the country between 02/13 to 08/16 which needs to be received by the 19th of march. in 8 days. i have my payslips from 02/15 till 03/16. i was job seeking before then which i presume i need to contact the tax office for proof as i have none atm. this is probably going to take about a week to get it. do i send what i have and state i was job seeking or what other proof can i send for this period. bank statements or any other letters?
Abi - 7-Mar-18 @ 2:16 PM
Hi there I'm EU citizen with permanent residency (applied for PR in 2015) as more than 12 months passed I'm eligible to apply for citizenship, but unfortunately, I received driving licence points. CD10 - 7 points nov 2016 TS10 - 0 pointsjul 2017 Can I apply for naturalization now or I will have to wait? Regards
lonkow - 7-Mar-18 @ 11:48 AM
@Abbas - Your application for British citizenship may be refused if you committed immigration offences within the last 10 years as you will not meet the good character requirement. You may want to consult with a solicitor on your personal circumstances.
TJ. - 7-Mar-18 @ 7:23 AM
@Maaran - You can apply for British citizenship immediately if your spouse is a British citizen.
TJ. - 7-Mar-18 @ 7:20 AM
@Asa11 - you will have to wait 12 months after receiving ILR before you can apply for British citizenship if you don't have a British citizen spouse.
TJ. - 7-Mar-18 @ 7:19 AM
I have got PR in 2017 i got married in 2012 to EU national and got residence card before that i was overstayer for 1 year can i apply for citizenship or not?
Abbas - 6-Mar-18 @ 9:30 PM
I got my ILR 6 months ago and my wife got her naturalisation certificate last week. Can I apply for the naturalisation immediately or do I have to wait another 6 months?
Maaran - 3-Mar-18 @ 11:49 PM
Thanks for the replay Even if i have 2 British childeren?still need to wait for the 12 months? Im asking because my husband’s cousin applied for citizenship straight after hes got his ilr as he was living here for 10 years but his ilr was based on refugee (if that makes a different) and he received his approval after a few weeks.and he wasn’t partner of a bc. Thanks in advance
Asa11 - 27-Feb-18 @ 11:03 AM
@Asa11 - you have to wait 12 months after being granted ILR to apply for British citizenship because your spouse is not a British citizen.
TJ. - 27-Feb-18 @ 7:02 AM
Hi i just got my ilr and i have been living in the uk for almost 10 years(2years spouse visa and 6 years discretionary leave to remain) and my husband also have ilr.just wounding if i can apply for citizenship without waiting for 12 months?(i know that I could if my husband was a bc) ?can i skip the 12 months because i have already lived here for almost 10 years legally? Thanks
Asa11 - 27-Feb-18 @ 12:44 AM
@Khan - If she received ILR in April 2017 she will qualify for naturalization in April 2018
TJ. - 24-Feb-18 @ 2:58 PM
Hi my daughter got ILR 18th of April 2017 from cordon home office with confirm letter. Biometric card been issu 06-07-2017. I wanted to know when she will qualified for naturalisation. From the home office letter 18th April 2017 or biometric card date 06-07-17. Please advice. Thanks and kind regards Shariful khan
Khan - 23-Feb-18 @ 11:30 PM
Hi I have been granted indefinite leave to remain recently on the basis of completing  my 10 years in UK. Last year my spouse had her British passport now being a spouse of British person am i still need to wait for 1 year before applying the nationality or I can do it without waiting for 1 year because my wife is having British passport since last year. Could you please reply.if there is any queries please do not hesitate to ask  me . Thanks  Regards Faisal
Shahzad - 14-Feb-18 @ 4:07 PM
Hi I have been granted indefinite leave to remain recently on the basis of completing  my 10 years in UK. Last year my spouse had her British passport now being a spouse of British person am i still need to wait for 1 year before applying the nationality or I can do it without waiting for 1 year because my wife is having British passport since last year. Could you please reply.if there is any queries please do not hesitate to ask  me . Thanks  Regards Faisal
Shahzad - 14-Feb-18 @ 4:06 PM
@Jose - Time spent in the UK as a student does not count towards ILR in 5 years. To qualify for ILR in 5 years you must live in the UK on a non study related visa.
TJ. - 12-Feb-18 @ 7:33 AM
Hi good afternoon, I arrive at London in 2013 as studen with visa Tier 4, then I got marry, so I’ve been here for 5 years already hawever with different visas, first Tier 4 and then as UK sponsor visa for married a European person. Can I still apply for ILR or I would have to complete 5years with my recent visa ??
Jose - 11-Feb-18 @ 1:07 PM
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