Naturalisation is the process an individual takes to become a citizen of another country. In the UK, applying for naturalisation allows you to live and work in the UK free from immigration controls - it also entitles you to vote in elections. If you have British descent, it’s possible you could register for British Naturalisation but most will have to apply to be considered.
What Is “British Naturalisation”?
British naturalisation means non-British citizens applying to become British. Migrants apply for naturalisation so they can settle permanently and travel in and out of the UK easily and gain a British passport. The process of naturalisation is the way to get British citizenship.
If you aren’t married to a British citizen, it takes six years to become a UK citizen, as it usually takes five years to gain indefinite leave to remain and then wait an additional year to apply for citizenship. If you are married to a British citizen, naturalisation can take place after three years.
British Citizenship Timeline
With the lengthy process involved in gaining settled status in the UK to be ready to apply for British citizenship, it’s important to understand the UK naturalisation timeline involved so you are ready to make the application.
On arrival in the UK, this is the start of process to gain your indefinite leave to remain status. It’s from here that the UK government will count the day that you prove you’ve stayed in the country for five years.
If you’re married to a British citizen, you can apply for naturalisation. The Home Office counts back three years from the date your application is received. You must also meet the following residency requirements:
- You have to be living in the United Kingdom at the start of the three-year period.
- On the date the application is sent to the Home Office, you must have permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain status in the UK.
- During your three years, you must not have been out of the UK for more than 270 days (about nine months).
- During the last 12 months of your three years, you cannot have been outside of the UK for 90 days.
- You must not have broken any UK immigration rules during your three-year period of residence.
For migrants who aren’t married to a British citizen, you should now have your settled status or indefinite leave to remain/enter the UK. You must now live as a permanent resident for a further twelve months.
You can apply for naturalisation in the UK 12 months exactly after you started your permanent residency. At this point you must:
- Prove you were based in the UK exactly five years before the day your application is received by the Home Office.
- Prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
- Pass the life in the UK test
- Intend to continue living in the UK
- Be of good character based on the UK government naturalisation guidance
- Not have been out of the UK for month 450 days of your residency (approximately 15 months)
- Not have breached any UK immigration rules at any point.
How long does naturalisation take?
It can take up to four weeks for your naturalisation application to be confirmed, depending on the processing times. After that, the process towards becoming a British citizen can begin.
How long does it take to get British citizenship?
It will take between five to seven months to get British Citizenship.
It’s vital that you submit your application the day you were present physically in the UK at the beginning of your five years. For example, if you applied on 1st September 2019, you must have been in the UK on 1st September 2014 or 2016 for married partners or civil partners.
We have the experience to advise you on submitting your naturalisation UK application. We work with both the three and five year processing to ensure you have everything you need to complete the process. Having a legal team behind you will avoid any potential mistakes during the application process. We can also advise those who are submitting a Naturalisation Reconsideration Request.