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Applying for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 17 Jun 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]
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
Hi, my husband and I have permanent residency since October 2016, and we passed the test Life in the U.K. since 2012, is it stil available or we need to do another test? I know that the book has been changed since 2012 autum, but we passed the test before they changed the books. Is it still valid? Thanks.
Teodora - 21-Apr-17 @ 10:36 PM
I have got a refugee status valid from 17-10-2012 to 17-10-2017 and I will be applying for indefinite leave in September my question is that after I get my indefinite leave can I go to my country of origin I plan to go in January or February will that effect me when I will be applying for nationality?
Tan - 2-Apr-17 @ 12:51 PM
Hi I have lived in the UK since 1998 my husban is a british citizen and i have a pakistani passport with indefinate stay. What do I need to do to get a British passport. Thanks
Nazia - 29-Mar-17 @ 6:29 PM
hi,my husband has indefinite stay,he applied for my visa and iam here in uk from last 1 and half year..my visa to stay in uk is for 2and half year...i just wandering that can i give b1 test and life in uk test now for citizenship ??? and if i passed both tests then can submit to home office ?
mehvi - 19-Mar-17 @ 5:02 PM
Hello, I have been granted ILR last year in September and I will apply for British Citizenship this year in September - when I'll have completed 12 months in permanent residency. I fulfill all requirements for the naturalisation, however, I travel a lot for work and family commitments - I have a close relative with a terminal illness and so I travel a lot into Spain to assist her, on top of my work commitments - I work for an UK company but I do business in Europe. If I go over my 90 days limit, will they consider my application on the basis of work commitments? Do they have an exception for these cases and can provide an extension for this 90 days? I don't want to be penalised as my life is here I have a house and work here etc. Thanks in advance.
Alessandra - 13-Mar-17 @ 2:45 PM
I have British citizen but both my sons are Canadian with indefinite leave to remain in UK. They have been in UK since 2004. Can I apply for there British Citizen or do then need to to life in UK exam. Both are now in University
sab - 8-Mar-17 @ 10:49 PM
I am a European citizen a d I just received my permanent residence was awarded in June 2016 (although I have lived in UK for 15 years now), so I have to wait until June to apply for naturalization, however, my father has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and by June I may have passed the 90 day limit of days outside the country. Can I apply for discretion if the nature of my trips is spending more time with my sick fathet in this difficult moment?
Rache99 - 5-Mar-17 @ 3:28 AM
I am a man 57 years old from Madagascar and I Want to work in your country.I have degree in human Resources management, local dévelopment, management in organisation. I have e expérience in this tirée domaines
Dine - 25-Feb-17 @ 8:44 PM
My husband and I have passed Life in UK test a few years ago and planning to apply for the citizenship soon. Do we have to sit the test to prove our knowledge of English ? If so how do we find the nearest centre to us? We are staying in West London. Also how much is the fee for this particulartest? Thank you.
Lucy - 23-Feb-17 @ 4:52 PM
Pretty pink - Your Question:
I am a british citizen. My son joined me in UK 2 years ago. When can he apply a british citizenship? Is he entitle to apply already after 2 years of continuous stay in UK? Thanks a lot

Our Response:
It is difficult to answer your question without knowing what visa your son is currently in the UK on and whether he is an adult or child. However, if your son is on a family visa and needs to extend it, you can either apply to extend his visa, please see link here. Or apply to remain, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 23-Feb-17 @ 11:50 AM
I am a british citizen. My son joined me in UK 2 years ago. When can he apply a british citizenship? Is he entitle to apply already after 2 years of continuous stay in UK? Thanks a lot
Pretty pink - 22-Feb-17 @ 6:35 PM
Hi, My wife and I have been married and lived in UK for almost 35 years and raised a family of 3 children. She is originally from Greece. I am a British Citizen from birth. The Home Office gave her (in writing) Indefinite Leave to Stay in UK in 1986.I still have the letter. My question is, will she still be required to do this test and pay all this money to get her citizenship even though this has been her home for 35 years? Will she be at risk of being kicked out of UK once the Brexit is final even though this is her home for most of her life? Thanks in advance
Hcouts - 4-Feb-17 @ 12:47 AM
Hi, I was born in Australia, am an Australian and Italian citizen living and working here on my Italian passport....have just received my residence card....Will i need to do an English language test for naturalisation if that naturalisation is based on my residence here as an EU citizen? I rang the HO helpline and they said no, just submit both passports with application....do you think that is still taking a risk not to do English test and i should do it just in case or no i don't need to do it as an Australian citizen even though resident here on my Italian passport?
Cath - 31-Jan-17 @ 9:47 AM
Hello, I'm German and I've moved to the UK 14 years ago, at first to study, and then to work. I now want to apply for British citizenship, but to my knowledge have to get the permanent residence card first and need to have that for a year. I've always been in work except the first two months after my arrival, at first part time while I was at uni, then full time as soon as I graduated. I've never claimed benefits. My question is, on the permanent residence card application form it asks me whether I had comprehensive sickness insurance while I studied, which of course I didn't, because not just was I not told I needed it on arrival because I had access to the NHS, we also had a guided NHS signing up session during the International Student Induction Week, but the NHS is not classed as CSI. Now this was 14 years ago... would it even matter or affect my PR application, or is there anything I can do about it? Technically it shouldn't matter as it's long in the past and I now have worker status which means I won't need evidence of CSI for that, right? Or could the fact that as a student, I had no insurance cover as required, mean my application would get rejected? Thank you so much for any answer you can give.
Patty - 19-Jan-17 @ 5:18 PM
hi I come to uk without any passport in 2000.as a refugee. after 3 years to entering to ukhome office refuse my application until today I live in uk illegally .one of my friend told me thad after 14 years living in the uk as a illegal I can applying for live to remain in uk ! is Thad correct? if correct how can i apply?
abdullah - 11-Jan-17 @ 1:16 AM
I have had ILR for 3 years now and lived here 5 years. I have my own business and pay Tax and NI. I am marrying a British Citizen and we have been together and have 2 children who are British Citizens also. How soon can I apply and get my British citizenship?
Grapefruit - 12-Dec-16 @ 7:08 PM
Joni66 - Your Question:
Hello! I was born in Eastbourne,England in 22 april 2001 and I am 15 years old and I left with my parents since 2003 and go back to Albania because my nationality is from Albania. I have all my papers english since I was born until now. So can I apply for a UK passport ?

Our Response:
AboutImmigration - 2-Dec-16 @ 12:54 PM
Hello! I was born in Eastbourne,England in 22 april 2001 and I am 15 years old and I left with my parents since 2003 and go back to Albania because my nationality is from Albania. I have all my papers english since I was born until now. So can I apply for a UK passport ?
Joni66 - 1-Dec-16 @ 9:21 PM
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