Brand

Immigration Solicitors London

Est. 2002

+44 (0)20 7038 3980

info@rlegal.com

RLegal Solicitors, 162-168 Regent Street London W1B 5TG

RLegal is regulated by the SRA, Reg No: 00380691

If you wish to naturalise as a British citizen, you must hold indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence), be of good character, and meet certain minimum residence requirements. 

Amongst other benefits, British nationals enjoy free rights of movement throughout the European Economic Area and, unlike holders of indefinite leave to remain, cannot ordinarily lose their status. British citizens also benefit from the protection of the Crown when travelling overseas.

There are three main routes to British naturalisation:

• marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen;
• completing a qualifying residence period; and
• (for EEA nationals and their dependants only) completing a qualifying residence period in the UK in exercise of Treaty rights.

We are specialist British naturalisation solicitors. We provide comprehensive legal advice, ensuring your application meets the legal requirements. We collate your evidence and prepare detailed submissions to the Home Office. Where required, we will also undertake ongoing liaison with the Home Office.

If you would like to discuss your application for naturalisation as a British citizen with one of our accredited solicitors in more detail, please visit us in our central London offices or contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at info@rlegal.com or use our online enquiry form.

Click on the links below for detailed information about the legal requirements and procedure.

An application for British naturalisation will be considered by the Home Secretary provided you meet the following requirements:

 

- you are aged 18 or over and are not of unsound mind;

- you are of good character;

- you have a sufficient knowledge of the English language and culture (unless over 64 or otherwise exempt);

- you intend, if you become naturalised, to live either in the UK or abroad in Crown service; and

- you meet either the three or five years residence requirements.

If you would like to naturalise as a British citizen you will need to show that you:

 

- were in the UK on the date five years prior to the date of the application;

- have not been absent for more than 450 days in that period;

- have not been absent for more than 90 days during the last 12 months of that period;

- have held indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK for the last 12 months*;

- have not been in breach of immigration laws in the last 5 years; and

- intend to make either your home or your principal home in the UK.

 

The key requirements are the residency requirement, the maximum number of days absence permitted during the qualifying period and being able to demonstrate a clear future intention of making the UK your main country of residence for the foreseeable future.

 

* Please see below for European Nationals.

If you are married to a British citizen and wish to naturalise as a British citizen yourself, you will need to show that you:

 

- are married to a British citizen and the marriage is subsisting;

- were in the UK on the date three years prior to the date of the application;

- have not been absent for more than 270 days in that period;

- have not been absent for more than 90 days during the last 12 months of that period;

- hold indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK;* and

- have not been in breach of immigration laws in the last 3 years.

 

The key requirements are the residency requirement and the maximum number of days absence permitted during the qualifying period.

 

* Please see below for European Nationals.

Since 12 November 2015, EEA nationals and their family members require a document certifying that they hold permanent residence before they can apply to naturalise as a British citizen. Such a document might historically have been an endorsement in an individual's passport, but is nowadays a permanent residence card in the form of a biometric residence permit.

 

EEA nationals and their family members become eligible for a document certifying permanent residence once they have exercised Treaty rights in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years, i.e. through employment, self-employment, study or economic self-sufficiency (the latter two require the individual to hold comprehensive medical insurance). It usually takes the Home Office 3-6 months to process an application for permanent residence and there is no fast track option available.

 

EEA nationals and their dependants need to show that they have held permanent residence for at least 12 months if applying through the 5 year route.

 

Since the introduction of the requirement to hold a document certifying permanent residence in November 2015, further guidance has been issued to minimise the impact on EEA nationals and their families. It is now possible, when applying for recognition of the right to permanent residence, to ask the Home Office to issue a letter "back-dating" the grant of permanent residence. What this means in practice is that the successful applicant will not then necessarily have to wait a full 12 months after the issue of the biometric residence permit before applying to naturalise as a British citizen.

 

Nationals of EEA countries and their family members should ensure that they hold a document certifying permanent residence prior to applying for naturalisation as a British citizen. Failure to do so will result in the application being rejected and loss of the associated application fees.

 

An EEA national or family member that already holds a permanent residence card can continue to apply for British naturalisation in the same way as any other citizen.

 

We can, of course, assist EEA nationals and their dependants with an application for permanent residence as well as the naturalisation process.

 

We strongly recommend that EEA nationals and their family members seeking to naturalise as a British citizen instruct a specialist British naturalisation solicitor.

A British naturalisation application must be supported by two referees, each of whom must have known you for at least 3 years and one of whom is a professional.

 

Your referees must also be:

 

- a British citizen (for preference);

- aged 25 or over;

- not related to you;

- not related to the other referee;

- not your solicitor or agent.

 

Referees are not deemed acceptable if they have been convicted of an imprisonable offence during the last 10 years.

The application is made by way of an application Form AN, which must be submitted with the relevant fee and supporting documentary evidence.

 

Generally speaking the Home Office requires that the applicant’s current passport be submitted in support of the application. However, as specialist British naturalisation solicitors we can certify copies of your passports which can be submitted in place of the originals. Once the application has been lodged, technically an individual can travel overseas without affecting the chances of success as a result of exceeding particular levels of absence from the UK.

 

However, it is important to note that Home Office officials can look through an individual’s passport when submitted and excess absences from the UK could potentially lead to questions about whether the individual intends to make the UK his home or principal home.

 

British naturalisation applications now include a requirement to enrol your biometric data at a participating Post Office. This is a mandatory and time restricted procedure. Failure to comply with the biometric enrolment request within the allotted time will result in the rejection of your application. As British naturalisation solicitors we will manage this process for you to ensure that you do not miss any key deadlines.

The Nationality Directorate is currently taking approximately 2-4 months to process British naturalisation applications, however this timescale can vary greatly depending upon staffing levels and the number of applications received. Current indications are that it is taking the Home Office 2-4 weeks to begin processing of British naturalisation applications.

The Home Office charge processing fees for naturalisation applications which vary depending upon the nature of the application.

 

The Home Office fee for a typical British naturalisation application is £1282.

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