Once you have completed five years of lawful residence in the UK and you have held Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for at least one year, you can apply for naturalisation as a British Citizen. If you are married to a British Citizen, you can apply for British citizenship as soon as you have completed three years residence in the UK and you have ILR. If successful, it will mean you will no longer be subject to immigration control and you would be free to live and work not only in the UK but anywhere in the EEA.

How we can help with your naturalisation process?

We can help with your naturalisation application and queries. Our expert team of lawyers can assist you with the preparation of your British citizenship application and ensure that you meet with all the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rules, we will ensure that all key points are substantiated with documentary evidence thereby leading to a successful application and avoiding unnecessary expense of resubmitting your application to the Home Office.

What is naturalisation?

Naturalisation is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It may be done by a statute, without any effort on the part of the individual, or it may involve an application and approval by legal authorities.

What is British naturalisation?

British naturalisation is the process by which you can apply for British citizenship. For some countries you are not allowed to hold 2 nationalities so it is worth checking before you commence your application that you are eligible and what is likely impact of your current right to nationality of applying to become British.

The rules leading eligibility for British citizenship and for the application process are strict and vary depending on the circumstances of your application.


Applying for British citizenship

In order to apply for British citizenship, you must have had Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least 12 months. The only exception is EEA citizens and their family members. Upon five years continuous residence in the UK ending on or after 30 April 2006, EEA citizens who have continuously exercised ‘treaty rights’ (as a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person or a job seeker) and their family members automatically acquire permanent residence status.

Once EEA citizens and their family members have had permanent residence status for a period of at least 12 months, they are entitled to apply to naturalise as a British citizen.

Qualifying Criteria for British Citizenship

There are a number of requirements that one has to fulfil in order to make a successful application for British citizenship:

  • Minimum age of 18;
  • Sound mind;
  • The intention of having your home in the UK;
  • Sufficient knowledge of English Language;
  • Sufficient knowledge of life in the UK;
  • Good character;
  • Residence requirements; and
  • References.


What documents do you need to apply for British citizenship?

If you are applying for British citizenship as a spouse, you will need the following documents:

  • A passed Life in the UK test
  • Evidence of competence in English (qualification or British degree certificate)
  • Passport or travel documents which cover the last three years
  • (If your passport does not cover the past three years) you need to show sufficient evidence of living in the UK, such as study records, P60’s, wage slips, benefit letters
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Completed application form (AN)

If you are applying to become a British citizen through a different route, you will need the same documents. However, you will need to prove you have spent the last five years as a resident in the UK rather than three.

What are the English language requirements for citizenship?

To meet the British citizenship requirements, you need to show you are competitive in English. You can do this with either:

  • a degree qualification which was taught or research in English
  • an English test qualification of a minimum of ‘C2’

Not every nationality of the person needs to demonstrate that they meet English language requirements to become a citizen. For example, if your first language is English, you do not need to pass a test.


There are other circumstances in which you will not need to pass the English test in order to meet the British citizenship requirements. These are:

  • If you are aged 65 or older when you submit your application
  • If you are not in the right physical or mental condition to sit the test
  • Exceptional compassionate circumstances

How long does it take to get a British citizenship?

The British citizenship application process usually takes around three months. However, this is the top estimate. Citizenship applications take significantly longer than many other visa applications because it is a far more complex procedure. When you become a British citizen, you are free from all immigration boundaries and gain full rights in the UK. As a result, UKVI is particularly cautious with which applications they choose to accept.


Naturalisation certificates

Naturalisation certificates are issued to all people who are granted British citizenship through naturalisation.

Usually, naturalisation certificates contain:

  • full name
  • residence/address of the applicant
  • birthplace
  • age/date of birth
  • parents’ names
  • name of spouse (if married)
  • occupation
  • children with their names and ages (if still of dependent age)


Why we provide the best legal advice in relation to your Naturalisation application

We are a UK Solicitors law firm and are fully authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority(link is external) (SRA) and as a professional law firm are completely exempt from requiring authorisation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner(link is external) (OISC). Many businesses offering immigration services are only OISC regulated and as such are not professional legal organisations such as Solicitors firms or Barristers’ chambers. OISC businesses are not allowed to do legal work before the Courts such as Judicial Review or statutory challenges of Home Office decisions. Also, as a professional organisation, our policy is not to employ sales staff to give you “advice”. Instead, every telephone consultation is conducted by a lawyer; offering you accurate and informed legal guidance. Under your instruction, our qualified team of immigration solicitors and barristers will guide you through your case from the outset; ensuring that neither time nor money is wasted and that no mistakes are made when it matters the most.

As a leading law firm with a track record of success, you can be assured your immigration matter is in safe hands and that the best strategy for your case will be adopted. It is crucial that you seek specialist legal advice at the outset and prior to making any type of immigration application. We can assist you with your applications for any type of Visa or permit including naturalisation and any form of leave to remain (or for entry clearance) under the points-based system. We ensure our clients comply with the Immigration Rules and the strict requirements of the UKBA prior to making application for British citizenship, thereby eliminating much of the stress of the application process.

Contact us for a successful Naturalisation application

Our experienced team of professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will guide you through the process of British citizenship step by step, complying with the strict letter of the law and limiting the possibility of failure. Consider HS Legal as your naturalisation adviser; call us for a telephone consultation today.

Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our online Enquiry form and we will get in touch or call us now on 01206500181.