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Facts: Applicants for UK Citizenship

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 11 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Citizenship Uk Application Citizens

The rules on obtaining UK citizenship have already changed with the introduction of citizenship ceremonies and the requirement that applicants prove that they have sufficient English or other UK language skills and knowledge of life in the UK. Going forward new citizens are also likely to have to satisfy lengthier residence requirements and prove that they have contributed to life in the UK.

Below is an overview of recent figures on citizenship applications, provided by the government. Most figures are rounded to the nearest 5 and percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Applications for Citizenship

In 2007 there were 160,890 applications for citizenship, an increase of 8% on the previous year. In 2006 the number of applications had dropped by 32% compared to 2005. That decrease in applications coincided with the introduction of the new life in the UK and language tests that all adult applicants must now take in order to obtain citizenship.

In 2007 the number of applications returned to about the same level as in 2005 – it is suggested that this increase may have been due, in part, to a surge in applications prior to an increase in the application fees in April 2007.

In 1997 there were only 66,000 applications for citizenship. In the period since then the largest year on year increases took place in 2000 to 2001 (from 62,475 to 109,005 applications - a 74% increase) and 2004 to 2005 (132,630 to 219,115 applications – a 65% increase).

Applicants Granted Citizenship

In 2007 164,635 applicants were granted British citizenship – an increase of 7% on the previous year. The figure is higher than number of applicants because some grants of citizenship will have been in respect of applications made in 2006.

UK citizenship was awarded for the following reasons: in 87,785 cases (or 53% of grants) citizenship was based on length of residence in the UK; in 30,425 cases (or 18%) citizenship was based on marriage; and, 40,535 of the new citizens (or 25%) were children under the age of 18.

15,630 applications ended in a refusal, were withdrawn or the applicants were found to be already British. 9% of all applications for citizenship, where a decision was made, resulted in a refusal to grant citizenship.

In 1997 only 37,010 people were granted citizenship. In the ten years since 1997, the number of people granted citizenship grew steadily every year until 2006 when the number of grants dropped by 5%. On average, since 1997, about 9% of all applications for citizenship have been refused.

There were 119,490 UK citizenship ceremonies in 2007 – an 11% increase on 2006.

Where Do Applicants for UK Citizenship Come From?

New British citizens come from all over the world. In 2007 the largest single area from which new citizens originated was Asia – with 44% of the total. Next came the 31% of new citizens who were from Africa, followed by the 9% who were from European countries outside of the European Economic Area.

The main countries of those granted citizenship in 2007 were: India with 14,490 or 9% of the total; the Philippines with 10,840 or 7%; Afghanistan with 10,555 or 6% - an increase of 211% on the previous year; South Africa with 8150 or 5%; and, Pakistan with 8140 or 5%.

Age and Gender of New UK Citizens

The age of foreign nationals granted citizenship in 2007 breaks down as follows: 31% of new citizens were aged between 25 and 34; 24% were children under 18; 23% were aged 35 to 44; 10% were aged 45 to 59; 8% were aged 18 to 24; and, 3% were over 60.

Of all new citizens in 2007, 39% (or 63,770) were females aged 18 or older and 37% (or 60,665) were males aged 18 or older.

Reasons Why Applications for UK Citizenship Are Refused

Some believe that it is currently too easy to obtain UK citizenship and new rules being introduced emphasise that citizenship is a privilege to be earned and not a right to which one is automatically entitled. Overall in 2007 there was an 8% increase in refusals.

Following are some of the main reasons why 14,725 applications made resulted in a refusal to grant citizenship:

  • 28% or 4135 did not satisfy the residence requirements;
  • 17% or 2535 did not have a British parent;
  • 16% or 2365 failed to pass the English language and / or life in the UK tests;
  • 15% or 2230 delayed in responding to questions from the immigration authorities;
  • 11% or 1695 because the applicant was not of good character;
  • 6% or 930 were incomplete applications.
In 2007 4% of applicants for citizenship were found to be British already.

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[Add a Comment]
@nickstar - If you're a British citizen you can leave the UK for an indefinite period of time without losing your citizenship.
TJ. - 11-Aug-18 @ 5:41 PM
I am a Brazilian nationalliving in uk for last 15 years,, I have dual nationality. 5 years ago obtained British passport and became British Citizenship. married to uk national civil partnership 12 years. We both now want to reside in France and have a business in France. Will I lose my British citizenship/ passport . your advice would be appreciated. regards Renoir Silva
nickstar - 11-Aug-18 @ 2:41 PM
Vee - Your Question:
I am a South African National who has held a British passport for 10 years and been living and contributing for the economy for the last 19 years. I would like clarification on the requirements and eligibility for sponsoring my elderly parents (both over age 70) in South Africa to the UK. My parents are financially independent and as their sponsor I can wholly guarantee supporting both of them in the UK,including providing accommodation, health care, living expenses, etc.What would be their visa options of immigrating/residing to the UK?

Our Response:
In addition to TJ's response, you can see more via the link here which will explain in full.
AboutImmigration - 18-May-18 @ 3:44 PM
@Vee - Unfortunately you are not able to sponsor your parents to come and settle in the UK if they are financially independent. To be eligible you will have to prove that they are 100% dependent on you and are unable to live or be taken care of in their home country.
TJ. - 15-May-18 @ 10:51 PM
I am a South African National who has held a British passport for 10 years and been living and contributing for the economy for the last 19 years. I would like clarification on the requirements and eligibility for sponsoring my elderly parents (both over age 70) in South Africa to the UK. My parents are financially independent and as their sponsor I can wholly guarantee supporting both of them in the UK,including providing accommodation, health care, living expenses, etc.What would be their visa options of immigrating/residing to the UK?
Vee - 15-May-18 @ 3:23 PM
Hi, I am a south African and I am married to a British citizen, and we currently reside in South Africa. We have been married 16 years and have four dependent, three children under the age of eighteen and my elderly mother.We would like to relocate to the United Kingdom, please could you advise me on what requirements are and the best way to go about doing this. Thanks
me - 28-Sep-14 @ 9:55 AM
Hi I'm Myanmar nationality and my husband is a British citizenship. We both are living and workingin Qatar and got married here in Qatar. What is the procedures to get the British passport for me and for our future baby. Thanks.
Kya kha - 29-Jun-14 @ 8:18 AM
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