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Applying for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 14 Feb 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]
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
Hi I'm a Brazilian citizen I was married with a Dutch citizen . I've got married in 2004 in Scotlandand got divorced in 2008 due his alcoholism . I have permanent live in the U.K. Visa until 2021. My visa was granted in 2011. Can I apply for citizenship ? I Thank you Br2018 - 23-Jan-18 @ 5:53 PM
Br2018 - 1-Feb-18 @ 7:49 PM
@Vega - you will have to apply for ILR before applying for British citizenship. I would suggest that you do so as soon as you have spent 5 years on your visa and not at expiry of your visa.
TJ. - 31-Jan-18 @ 1:25 PM
Hello, I am Indian citizen on dependent visa(5year route) living in Uk since August 2013. My visa will expire on dec 2018. My husband is applying for British Citizenship now. I want to ask whether I will apply for ILR first or I can directly apply to citizenship in dec 2018. Because till that time my husband will have British Citizenship. Thanks
Vega - 31-Jan-18 @ 6:31 AM
I would like apply for U.K. citizenship
Alhammadi - 28-Jan-18 @ 1:02 PM
Hi I arrived in the uk in 1999 on a 6 month visitors visa then extended to a student visa for a year until I was tricked by unscrupulous solicitors who never submitted my documents for further renewal at the end of 2000. It was a 10 year battle with the HO until I was finally granted 3 years DL in July 2010 + 3 yrs DL in 2016 then finally ILR in 2016, when can I apply for naturalisation?
Lexxy - 26-Jan-18 @ 3:06 AM
Came in the uk ilegaly in 2004 when to prison for false docs late 2004 sentence for 7 months and was out in April 2005 to sign but stop for 2 year before was given indefinite in 2010 can I ask for naturalisation this year?
Leo - 18-Jan-18 @ 6:55 PM
Hi, I have been living for 8 years in London, I had Tier 4 visa for first 3 years and I have got Indefinite leave to remain visa 2 months ago, so If I get Life in UK test, could I apply to be a British citizen any time or do I need to apply to home office for that next year? Thanks
emregakgo - 16-Jan-18 @ 10:47 PM
Hi i came to uk in 2009 as a student i applyed asulym 6 months after my visa expired i guaranteed leave to remain in 2011 and indefinite leave to remain in 2016 i want to apply for a naturalisation but I'm worried they may refuse my application because of the period i stayed illegal in the uk befor i get my leave to remain
Roro123 - 16-Jan-18 @ 12:21 AM
@Domenika - If you are an EU citizen then your period as a student is included for citizenship applications. Later this year the Home Office will give further details on how EU citizens that have lived in the UK for over t years can apply for settled status. It is expected to be an easy and cheap process.
TJ. - 12-Jan-18 @ 12:28 PM
Hi, I've arrived in the UK in 2011 and I am currently considering to apply for citizenship.During the first four year I was a student and I am unsure if this counts as a qualifying period or not. Also, now after the brexit, I read that I can no longer apply for residence permit card. So my question is what is the first step towards it and who should I turn to? Thank you.
Domenika - 12-Jan-18 @ 10:24 AM
kati - Your Question:
Hi,I am an EU national and arrived in the UK on April 1, 2014. I will be able to apply for permanent residency and citizenship after 2.4.2018.Because of the Brexit and new rules next year should I pass the English language test and the Live in the UK test before April 2018 and send my application in April 2018 or should I wait for the new rules? Also should I first apply for the permanent resident card or can I just apply for the citizenship without that?Many thanks

Our Response:
You can see further via the gov.uk link here, which will also help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 11-Jan-18 @ 2:09 PM
@CARLOS - You cannot apply for British citizenship until after three years of receiving the community order.
TJ. - 10-Jan-18 @ 7:32 PM
@kati - you can only become a permanent resident after living in the UK for 5 years so if you came in April 2014 then you will only be eligible for settled status in April 2019. You can only apply for British citizenship after being in the UK for 6 years unless married to a British citizen so if you came in April 2014 you will only be eligible in April 2020. To apply for British citizenship you will require proof of permanent residency, English proficiency and Life in the UK test.
TJ. - 10-Jan-18 @ 7:26 PM
Hi, I am an EU national and arrived inthe UK on April 1, 2014. I will be able to apply for permanent residency and citizenship after 2.4.2018. Because of the Brexit and new rules next year should I pass the English language test and the Live in the UK test before April 2018 and send my application in April 2018 or should I wait for the new rules? Also should I first apply for the permanent resident card or can I just apply for the citizenship without that? Many thanks
kati - 10-Jan-18 @ 7:08 PM
CAN I APPLY FOR CITIZENSHIP IS I HAVE A COMMUNITY ORDER? AND IF NOT HOW LONG I HAVE TO WAIT?
CARLOS - 10-Jan-18 @ 5:21 PM
Hi I applied for my 4 years old doughters citizenship and submitted biomateric 23/10/2016 I need to travel in March , want to know when I can get citizenship certificate so I can apply for my doughters passport, thanks
Simran - 4-Jan-18 @ 5:10 PM
Hi. Both my wife and I have the ILR. We will apply for our citizenship next year but I've heard that, in the past, couples would have a discount on the fees for joint application. Is it true ? Do we still have a discount or do we have to pay two individual fees ? Thanks
Leite - 29-Dec-17 @ 2:53 PM
@Gk an application for British citizenship can take between 6 - 12 months or even longer depending on the complexity of the application. You will also have to apply again for a British passport after your application is approved and you have attended the citizenship ceremony.
TJ. - 14-Dec-17 @ 3:53 PM
Emma - Your Question:
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.

Our Response:
You can check if you can apply via the link here .
AboutImmigration - 14-Dec-17 @ 2:06 PM
Hi I’ve submitted my application for citizenship in October and i’ve done biometrics as well i’m just curious about how long does it gonna take now to get passport cause i do want to travel in February Please let me know if someone have some ideas Many thanks Gk
Gk - 14-Dec-17 @ 8:30 AM
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
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