Laws for nationality in the U.K. have changed over time. It is important to keep yourself updated if you are planning on applying for nationality in the U.K. The recent guide to naturalisation as a British citizen has been published by the Home Office on July 14, 2017. It has all the key guidelines that you would need to know regarding naturalisation in the U.K.
To help you, we have detailed a kickstart guide for you to use as you start preparing for your naturalisation application.
Requirements vary depending on the individual application. For example, section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 would be applicable if you are married, or in a civil partnership, otherwise, section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 would apply. In both cases, there are some general requirements that the individual must adhere to.
The applicant must be an adult, at least over 18 years of age. He or she must not be involved in any immigration offence in the last 10 years. Additionally, the applicant must meet fundamental English requirements and should have lived in the U.K. for the last 5 years before applying for nationality. Many applications are rejected because applicants fail to satisfy their presence in U.K. for this mandatory period. Children however are not included in this regulation – they cannot be naturalised unless they have the discretion of the Home Secretary, or have an entitlement.
Living in the U.K.
Naturalisation laws indicate that the individual applying for nationality must display their commitment to the Kingdom. This is portrayed by their life, their residence and their work. The person must not have spent more than 450 days outside the U.K. in the last five years. They must also be able to prove that they did not spend more than 90 days in the last 12 months outside of U.K. However, time spent by diplomats or foreign missions is not included in this criterion.
When a person applies for nationality, it is understood that the person agrees to respect the law, citizenship responsibilities, British values, customs and traditions. Therefore, good knowledge of English language is a prerequisite for better communication and interaction with the locals. A person may also be required to appear for B1 CEFR English proficiency test to be taken at centres approved by the Home Office. Otherwise, English knowledge is applicable if the applicant has a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree. This degree could either be received in the U.K. or in any English-speaking country where medium of teaching is English and the degree is recognized in the U.K.
Life in the U.K. Test
While you prepare to apply for the U.K. citizenship, you need to appear in Life in the U.K. test as well. It is advised to fully prepare before any attempt is made. A guide to this test is available at TSO (The Stationery Office) outlets and is also available to order from www.tso.co.uk/bookshop. You can visit the test website: www.lifeintheuktest.gov.uk for more details as well. When you book the test, you will be asked to submit the following details:
- Biometric residence permit
- Home Office Travel Document
- Home Office entitlement card
- Home Office ARC letter
- Photo driving licence
Once a person is registered, he or she is required to deposit test fee directly to the Test Centre through the website. Fee structure is subject to change so you should be on a lookout. It takes around 45 minutes to complete the 24-question test. Falsifying information, cheating or bribing is strictly prohibited. Anyone found guilty not only loses the chance on their citizenship, but may also face prosecution. When an applicant clears the test, he or she will be handed over a letter of their results, a copy of which will be sent to Home Office. There is no limit to the times you can take this test, if you fail the first attempt.
U.K. nationality law binds all applicants to go through biometric registration. The applicant is required to visit any of the designated post offices, for facial image and finger print enrolment. The record is usually kept till the time the applicant appears for the citizenship ceremony.
U.K. citizenship law makes it mandatory that the applicant possesses a good moral character and is not involved in any criminal activity. The British Nationality Act 1981 does not clarify what is meant by good character. However, the Annexure D in Chapter 18 of Nationality Instructions indicates that good character is applicable on anyone over the age of 10 who is applying for nationality, either under: the statelessness provisions in Schedule 2 of the BNA 1981, or; section 4B of the Act from an eligible applicant.
An applicant should have a clear record both in the U.K. as well as their home country. The applicant may undergo several checks to ensure that information provided is true in letter and spirit. Any misinformation or false declaration may deprive the applicant of their nationality. This falsification is also considered a criminal offence leading to severe prosecution in the U.K. By law, deception in any way is not acceptable, and any wrong information or submitting fraudulent documents to the Home Office in the last 10 years is considered an offence. Criminal, terrorist and other offences also become part of the “good character”.
Citizenship status is refused to any applicant who has entered the U.K. eluding immigration control and has concealed this information, or has helped someone cross borders illegally, or has hired illegal immigrants. A detailed description of such activities can be found in Schedule 8 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001 in the legislation. You can always refer to this schedule here.
U.K. nationality laws are quite stringent when it comes to any kind of criminal activities. Any person found involved in or is an accomplice of below-mentioned activities will not be allowed U.K. citizenship.
- War Crimes
- Crimes against humanity
Nationality laws for people who have a spouse as a British Citizen vary. It is therefore advised that such people should visit the website www.gov.uk to find out more on the subject. Rest assured that you can polish your application if you have been true to the Kingdom in spirit, and have been a model citizen in the U.K. For any help or assistance in your application, you can always contact Optimus Law.