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British Citizenship and how to apply

The British Citizenship can be a complex issue and requires careful advice as applying to become British cannot be appealed on unless there are strong grounds to be raised. This section will explain the types of British Nationality, how to register or naturalise as a British National.

ICS Legal is able to provide support in initial registration and naturalisation to complex cases where support is required. Call us today on 0207 237 3388.

There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most commonly called ‘naturalisation’. You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:

  • you’re 18 or over;

  • you’re of good character, eg you don’t have a serious or recent criminal record, and you haven’t tried to deceive the Home Office or been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years;

  • you’ll continue to live in the UK;

  • you’ve met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements;

  • you meet the residency requirement.

  • And you must usually have lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application, spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years and have spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months.

  • You need to prove that you have been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK (this means there’s no specific date that you have to leave) or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national (and you have a permanent residence card or document that shows you have permanent residence).

  • You also need to prove that you have not broken any immigration laws while in the UK. 

  • There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.

Applying for other forms of nationality

British citizenship is one of the six different forms of British nationality. Some of these were defined in the British Nationality Act 1981, which came into force on 1 January 1983. The laws defining how citizenship can be obtained changed on that date, which is why you will often see references to 1983.

Other forms of British nationality have existed, but they are not current - for example, citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) or British Dependent Territories citizenship.

Only British citizens and certain British subjects with the right of abode through qualifying connections under the Immigration Act 1971 have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. People holding one of the other forms of nationality may live and work in the United Kingdom if their immigration status allows it.

British nationality is defined in law. Whether a person has a claim to British nationality can be determined by applying the definitions and requirements of the British Nationality Act 1981 and related legislation to the facts of their date and place of birth and descent.



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