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British Citizenship Prerequisites Explained

You can become a British national either by birth or you have to apply for naturalisation if you’re an adult (i.e. over 18 years of age). In order to qualify for the British Citizenship process, you have to prove that you’ve been settled in the UK on ILR or 3-years EU status and that you haven’t violated any of the UK law during your stay.

Once your PR request is accepted, you can stay in the country for an indefinite period of time and work or study without any restriction. Also, you would be able to freely travel without worrying about losing your permanent status.

British Citizenship – Prerequisites

If you’re looking to get permanently settled in the UK, you should consider the below-listed requirements to reduce your chances of refusal:

  • You must be over 18 years of age to apply for the British Citizenship process
  • You have been in the UK for 5 consecutive years with no longer than 450 days of continuous absence
  • Have held ILR for a minimum of 1 year in the UK
  • Fulfill the B1 CEFR requirements
  • Pass the ‘Life in the UK Test’ to demonstrate that you’re aware of the British culture and lifestyle
  • Not committed any immigration breach

The ‘Good Character’ Requirement

You have to show your good character in order to qualify for the citizenship process. This means you should not be involved in any sort of criminal offence. The Home Office will also check for any severe criminal misdemeanor committed abroad. The UKVI will also consider any acknowledgeable contribution that you may have made in general for the betterment of the society.

Immigration Routes to Consider for British Citizenship

There are a number of ways you can follow to register for a citizenship process. Some of them include:

Citizenship by Birth/Descent

You may instantly get the citizenship status if you were born after 1st Jan 1983 in the UK. Also, you may qualify for the process if you were born in any other country from one parent who is already a British national.

By Marriage

You must have spent at least 3 years in the UK to be eligible to apply for British Citizenship as the spouse/partner of a UK settled citizen or a national.

5-Year Route

You can apply for ILR after spending 5 months in the UK. After 1 year as a settled citizen, you’ll be entitled to apply for British nationality. The same rule applies to the European Union and EEA citizens (EU Settled Scheme).


Option for ‘Stateless’ Individuals

If you haven’t been identified as the nationals of any country, you’re still eligible to apply for British Citizenship. However, your eligibility and the entire citizenship process will depend on the country you were born in.

Options for a Dependent Child

If you’re under 18, your parents can apply on your behalf using Form MN1. This generally includes registration instead of naturalization and may be needed if the child was born (legally adopted) in any other country. Notably, children are not required to attempt the ‘Life in the UK’ test. Those children who born in the UK after January 1983 with one British national parent (either mother or a father) are inherently considered to be British nationals. However, if the parent has acquired citizenship or settled in the UK after the birth of his/her child, registration is mandatory.

Resume Your Citizenship Status

If you have surrendered your British Citizenship for some reason, you may eventually be permitted to return to your status.

Becoming a British Citizen by Naturalisation

Naturalisation is the process you must follow to acquire a British Citizenship if you were not born in the UK. To qualify, you should be over 18 years of age and must not hold any severe criminal record. Above all, you must have spent time in the UK as a settled individual for at least one whole year.

If you’re a civil partner or spouse to a UK national, you may apply for British Citizenship after 3 years of consecutive living in the UK.

Before submitting your application, it is important that you meet further prerequisites. The total number of absences from the country must not exceed a particular duration. Lastly, you have to fulfill certain English language requirements to qualify for the process.

Required Documents to Apply for British Citizenship

At the time of submission, you must have an all-inclusive portfolio in hand that can help the Home Office properly evaluate your case and fast-track the processing time.

Broadly, you should have the following documents included in your portfolio:

  • Identity proof and Permanent Residence status
  • BRP
  • Proof of your previous immigration status
  • Evidence of the English language proficiency and pass certificate of the ‘Life in the UK’ test
  • Proof of residential settlement in the UK
  • Details about any trip to the foreign country
  • Evidence demonstrating that you’re exempted from immigration time limitations

To apply for UK Citizenship, you have to complete and submit a form along with relevant documents. Also, you have to provide your biometric details and fingerprint scans.

Application Advice

Applying for British Citizenship is a time-consuming and complicated process. It is therefore suggested that you learn more about the British Citizenship laws and regulations by getting in touch with professional immigration lawyers instead of taking any random advice from the internet.  Remember, if your application is refused and you have used an accredited immigration lawyer, then you have somebody to liaise with your visa refusal with to find out why it was refused.

At Optimus Law, we’re dedicated to professionally helping all our clients. Your application will be considered as a personalized case and we’ll assist you with every step of the British Citizenship application process.

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