What is Citizenship?
Citizenship is the next step for many individuals after gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), allowing holders to live in the UK permanently without restrictions. This is a similar status to ILR, however British Citizens have additional rights such as the right to hold a British passport, to vote in elections, and the ability to be absent from the UK for any amount of time whilst retaining Citizenship.
How do you qualify for British Citizenship?
There are different ways in which applicants may obtain British citizenship:
Through Birth – Automatic Acquisition
Children who were born in the UK where at least one parent is a British Citizen, or has ILR at the time of the child’s birth, will have automatic acquisition of British Citizenship. A child in this situation can apply directly for a British Passport.
Children born outside the UK where at least one parent is a British Citizen "otherwise than by descent" at the time of their birth have automatic acquisition of Citizenship. This is a complicated area of immigration law, contact us for a detailed assessment if you think this applies to you.
Children born in the UK who do not qualify through automatic acquisition at the time of birth are entitled to register as British Citizens where at least one parent gains ILR (PR for children of EEA nationals) after their birth. These children are not required to gain ILR before making this application.
Children born abroad to parents who subsequently both hold (or are applying for) British Citizenship, or where one parent holds (or is applying for) British Citizenship and the other holds ILR, or where the parents are applying for Citizenship at the same time as the child, will usually be granted Citizenship at the discretion of the Home Secretary. Please note that the child must also hold ILR before applying for Citizenship, which was not mandatory prior to 2018. This is another complicated area of immigration law, contact us for a detailed assessment if you think this applies to you.
Adults who have obtained ILR or Permanent Residency can apply for British Citizenship after they have held this status for 12 months.
For those who are married to, or are a Civil Partner of, a British Citizen, the application for Citizenship can be made immediately.
In order to qualify for citizenship, the following requirements apply:
- Applicants must have been resident in the UK for the last 5 years (3 years if married to a British Citizen)
- Applicants must have been physically present in the UK exactly 5 years (or 3 years if married to a British Citizen) before the date of application (e.g. if the application is being made on 1 July 2018 they must have been physically present on 1 July 2013)
- UK absences must have been limited to 450 days in the 5 year period (270 days in 3 years if married to a British Citizen) and 90 days in the last 12 months
- Applicants should have no criminal convictions and be of good character
- Applicants must satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement – however if ILR was granted after 28 October 2013 then an exemption applies and no further evidence is needed.
- Applicants must have two referees who will endorse the citizenship application. One of the referees must be a professional, the second must be both a British Citizen and either a professional or over the age of 25. The referees must know the applicant personally, however must not be related to the applicant or to each other.
What is the process?
The usual Citizenship application process is to use form AN for adults, or form MN1 for children.
Once a successful application for Citizenship has been made, applicants must attend a ceremony held by their local council. During this ceremony an oath of allegiance and a pledge are made to promise to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. The citizenship certificate is presented at the end of the ceremony.
How can we help?
Here at White Rose Visas we are able to assist with all types of Citizenship applications, we will verify references and will advise fully on all the necessary evidence required for a successful application.
For further information regarding how we can advise and support you throughout the entire process, do get in touch.