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Applying for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 19 Jan 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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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
Hello there So when I applied for ILR the home office invalid my application because I was forgot to sign one of the section and finely they refund my fee. But shortly the send me a lether to leave UK and the I immediately applied for ILR and got it. Now my question is does this count as an immigration breach or not?
Ali - 24-Nov-16 @ 12:02 AM
Question on registration of child for British Citizenship; born in London in September 2003; both parents had ILR at the time and continue to have it to date; lived in London for around 3 years; moved to middle east for around 7 years, but maintained ILR as maintained job with UK-based companies; returned to UK in August 2013 in London and here to date (Nov 2016) again maintaining ILR.Is child entitled to immediate registration because she was born in UK with both parents having ILR at the time of birth, or is there a residency requirement (450 days out of the last 500 days) that will apply?Thanks for you help!
Ludgate - 22-Nov-16 @ 4:00 AM
When I submit my passport with my naturalisation application, will they return it promptly or do they retain it until they have made their decision? Does anyone know, please?
Old Tiger - 31-Oct-16 @ 11:53 AM
hi, i am now 17 years old and want to apply for a british passport. i've lived and attended scool in the UK since 2010 and have previously lived in europe (i have a european passport and citizenship). ive heard i need to become a british citizen before i can apply for a british passpot, but im not sure i meet the requirements? both of my parents, and i have been born outside of the UK (but in europe), so they do not have british citizenship either. im not sure what i have to do, please help!
NinaRose - 22-Oct-16 @ 6:36 PM
hi i am borned in england on 23 may 2000 since 2002 i live in Albania wihch isnt in european union i'm living in ALBANIA because british authorties returned me and my family in my parents country because they went there by immigration and they had the right to stay there for an unspecified time but they returned us since 2002 i want to know if i can go in england by vissa to live and get a passport.
ledi - 21-Oct-16 @ 3:54 PM
Teegan - Your Question:
Hi,Both myself and my wife are from Australia. We both have british passports as both our fathers where born in the UK, thus we have british citizenship. We are currently living in the UK with our 2 year old Son, I am working full time for a UK company. My son is born in Australia. Is he eligible for a UK residency card? or are you able to advise what is best to apply for. thank you.

Our Response:
If you are both British citizens, he will be entitled to British citizenship by descent, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 21-Oct-16 @ 11:04 AM
Safoma - Your Question:
Hello. I would love to know if I can apply for British citizen. I was away for the period of 1 year in 2010

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you if you are eligible to apply.
AboutImmigration - 20-Oct-16 @ 2:48 PM
Hi, Both myself and my wife are from Australia.We both have british passports as both our fathers where born in the UK, thus we have british citizenship.We are currently living in the UK with our 2 year old Son, I am working full time for a UK company.My son is born in Australia. Is he eligible for a UK residency card? or are you able to advise what is best to apply for. thank you.
Teegan - 20-Oct-16 @ 12:21 PM
Hello. I would love to know if I can apply for British citizen. I was away for the period of 1 year in 2010
Safoma - 20-Oct-16 @ 1:32 AM
Lidia - Your Question:
Hi. I am from Eu, I have permanent residence as I lived in the UK for the past 7 years. I want to apply for citezensh for my son and I.My son is 17 and lived in the UK for the past 7 years to. Does my son needs a permanent residence certificate prior to apply for citizenship or is enough to If parents have got one? Many thans

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk site here which will help you further.
AboutImmigration - 17-Oct-16 @ 11:02 AM
Hi. I am from Eu, I have permanent residence as I lived in the UK for the past 7 years. I want to apply for citezensh for my son and I .My son is 17 and lived in the UK for the past 7 years to. Does my son needs a permanent residence certificate prior to apply for citizenship or is enough to If parents have got one? Many thans
Lidia - 16-Oct-16 @ 9:31 AM
Hi - I have been in the UK since 2004 fulfil all condition to naturalise as a British citizen. I have applied for my permanent residency before applying for naturalisation as per the requirements. However, I am about to be posted abroad for work. I submitted my application for permanent residency in August and received confirmation of receipt mid September indicating it will take up to 6 months to process. I read that the naturalisation for British Citizenship can also take up to 6 months. Is it possible to leave the UK (within the rules) whilst the application is being processed. I am very keen to become naturalised British citizen before the UK leaves the EU, however, if I wait for the applications to be processed I am very likely going to loose the job.
MD - 3-Oct-16 @ 8:59 PM
Hello, I have arrived in the U.K. on November 2010. Then I went for voluntary works outside the country for 1 year and 4 months. By counting, I think I will be eligible to apply for my citizenship next year on March? I just want to know if there are consequences of leaving the country for too long? Will it affect my application? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you very much!
Lovely - 3-Oct-16 @ 5:40 PM
Hi. I have been in the uk since 02/02/2008. I've finished 5 yearLive to remind now I hold ILR almost 15 months. Now I want to apply for britsh Naturalisation and also passed LIUK test and B1. Can you please help me if I can apply for britsh Naturalization now? Thanks
Kara - 1-Oct-16 @ 6:37 PM
Dan - Your Question:
My name is Dan and im here since 2013. My daughter is here since 2 years ago. She is 15 and goes to school. Can she apply to be a british citizenship ?

Our Response:
You can only apply for her to become a British citizen if you or the mother hold British citizenship.
AboutImmigration - 26-Sep-16 @ 3:01 PM
My name is Dan and im here since 2013. My daughter is here since 2 years ago . She is 15 and goes to school. Can she apply to be a british citizenship ?
Dan - 24-Sep-16 @ 6:36 PM
Hi, we would like to apply for British citizenship in January 17. (We are South African born)We have been residing in the UK since 1998 and holding Indefinite Leave to Remain visa's. I am turning 65 in November, am I exempt from writing both English and Life in the UK tests? Also, my husband is an English/History teacher and our daughter has grown up and gone to school and university in the UK, do they have to write both tests or provide any proof that they have knowledge about Life in the UK and speak English? It's my husband and daughter's mother tongue. I'll appreciate your response. Many thanks AB
alta - 16-Sep-16 @ 2:45 PM
Hi I submitted my naturalisation on 8/6/16 through NCS but I received the letter from home office asking to send the originals supporting documents but I sent all my originals I was left with photo copied ones how do I go about this how they lost my supporting documents.
Lucy - 20-Aug-16 @ 8:57 AM
Ran - Your Question:
Hi I was illegal immigrant visa and my ilr on 14 years basis in 2013. I came to UK via Europe from India and when I entered Europe I travelled on someone else passport. It's been 23 years now I'm in UK. I have indefinite now but I don't have any passport. My own country Is not issuing a passport as they are saying I can't produce many documents. I want to find out when can I apply citizenship in UK or is there any way I can get travel document.Thanks

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here for more information. Also, the link here which will show you how to apply for a travel document if you need to leave the UK. You can check if you can apply for citizenship via the link here . I hope this helps.
AboutImmigration - 10-Aug-16 @ 1:39 PM
Hi I was illegal immigrant visa and my ilr on 14 years basis in 2013. I came to UK via Europe from India and when I entered Europe I travelled on someone else passport. It's been 23 years now I'm in UK . I have indefinite now but I don't have any passport . My own country Is not issuing a passport as they are saying I can't produce many documents. I want to find out when can I apply citizenship in UK or is there any way I can get travel document. Thanks
Ran - 9-Aug-16 @ 9:45 PM
LC - Your Question:
I am Malaysian, born in Penang a British Colony under British rule.Since 1971, I have lived and worked in UK for 45 years. In 1974, I was granted Indefinite Leave to Stay.How do I apply for British citizenship?

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which will tell you whether you are eligible to apply.
AboutImmigration - 1-Aug-16 @ 1:46 PM
I am Malaysian, born in Penang a British Colony under British rule. Since 1971, I have lived and worked in UKfor 45 years. In 1974, I was granted Indefinite Leave to Stay. How do I apply for British citizenship?
LC - 31-Jul-16 @ 10:20 PM
Hi, i came to the UK in 2015 with an indefinite leave to enter Visa. My Dad has a British citizen Passport. I have now lived in the UK for 1 year. Can i applyfor UK citizenship
joe pee - 25-Jul-16 @ 4:55 PM
Hi hope someone can help we have been living in UK since 2001, we are from Scandinavia now our son wants to become British citizen.Here a mark (wife is British and daughter too only me I still hold my Scandinavian citizenship )He went to primary and secondary and now university here in UK. Also has never been away more than 30 days in a year and sometimes not even been traveling outside of UK. Hope someone can guide us to the right application from or what to do? Kindest regards, Lasse Jensen
dip - 21-Jul-16 @ 8:08 PM
I moved to UK From USA 13 1/2 years ago with my british born husband.I have had ILRalmost the entire time.The last time I was out of the UK was over 3 years ago, and none of my previous trips were longer than 3 weeks.I have just passed the "life in the UK " test.What form do I need to become a UK citizen? Please help as i cant seem to get a definate answer
Jean - 9-Jul-16 @ 8:04 PM
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