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Apply for British Nationality | Naturalisation

British Naturalisation 

British Naturalisation is an application for a person to become a British Citizen in line with Regulation 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981. You can apply for naturalisation based on either the 3 years or 5 years residency, however in most cases; a person must be resident in the UK for 6 years before an application for British Naturalisation can be applied for.

In all cases, British Nationality application must be applied correctly to avoid the application being refused because the Officials acting on behalf of the Home Office, in most cases, will not ask you to send further evidences, as the burden sits on you, to meet the published policy law at the date of application.

Applying for British Naturalisation if you are married to a British Citizen

The Immigration Act 1971 have made a number of legal changes which means that a person married to a British Citizen or a person holding settled status cannot apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) once they have completed a period of 5 years residency. This means that previous rules on 3 years are usually not applicable but being married to a British Citizen comes with some benefits when you do not meet all the requirements.

Here are the requirements in short of how you can apply for British Naturalisation route?

  1. You must be aged 18 years or over and must be of sound mind. A person must be able to make decisions unless an exemption applies.

  2. The good character requirements would need to be met. The policy guidance continues to change, so you must make sure at the date of application, the correct policy law is met.

  3. The KoLL also referred as the Knowledge of Life requirements would need to be met. This combines the English language test and the life in the UK test. Exemptions can apply, but the published policy law must be met.

  4. The absence requirements needs to be met, and you must not have been absent from the UK more than 90 days in the last 12 months unless an exemption applies. It is key to the naturalisation application because this proves your intention to make the UK as your principle home.

  5. You must have held indefinite leave to remain (ILR) status for more than 12 months. Now if you are an EEA national, then settled status or permanent residency is the same as the ILR status.

At ICS Legal, we will advise and complete your British Naturalisation application. You can speak to us on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us on info@icslegal.com.

Application for British Naturalisation on your residency of 5 years

As discussed above, the criteria’s to become a British Citizen through the naturalisation application based on your 5 years residency is similar to the above. Depending on how long you have lived in the UK, you must be free from immigration control in the last 12 months.

Good character requirements

The British Naturalisation application requires a person to demonstrate that they are a person of good character. A number of British nationality applications have been refused because this requirement had not been met.

Section 58 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 inserted the provisions of the good character policy guidance. The British Nationality Act 1981 does not have any specific requirements but the Home Office guidance is used to establish what the criteria’s have been set.

In short, the following will give a summary of some of the requirements to be met:

  1. A criminal or civil conviction will most definitely impact your application and depending on the seriousness of that offence, you may be denied to apply for British Nationality. Consideration is not solely given on period of the conviction and whether it has been spent, but the nature of the conviction matters to the Home Office.

  2. When applying for British naturalisation, a person holding a conviction is not simply refused because they hold a criminal conviction. The Official acting on behalf of the Home Office will look into whether a person has blatantly disregarded the public laws or is not prepared to abide by law.

  3. International crimes and other non-conducive activity. There include crimes against humanity or genocide.

  4. Financial soundness. These can range from tax evasion to simply non-payment of council tax.

  5. Deception and dishonesty. If a person has deliberately deceived the UK Government including any of its public bodies, this is a serious offence regardless of whether a person has been convicted. This can include a benefit claim as an example.

  6. Immigration issues. A person who has overstayed their visa or have worked illegally, an application could be refused.

The above policy is applicable to everyone applying from the age of 10 years & above.  

Children included in the British Naturalisation application

You must not confuse an immigration application with a British Nationality application. The legislation does not permit you include children in your application when naturalising. Whilst the application requires you to provide evidences of your family connections which includes children, their status has no impact to your application. However children who hold British Nationality may support your application.

Frequently asked questions on British Naturalisation applications

The following questions may provide you with some relevant answers however please note this does not substitute legal advice. British Naturalisation application is complex and policy law does change.

What is referred as British by descent and whether British Nationality can be passed on to your spouse, civil partner, child or adopted children?

First of all, a parent can pass on their British Citizenship to their children at the time of their birth, only if they hold that status. If you have naturalised as a British Citizen after their birth, it may be possible for you to register them as a British Citizen however certain requirements needs to be met.

Children born in the UK not to British parents may be able to apply for British Citizenship and this is not the same as the naturalisation process.

In all or most cases, you cannot automatically pass on your British Citizenship to your spouse or civil partner. Unlike other EU countries, a person can apply for their partner to come and join them in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971 however they will need to apply for British Naturalisation. In reference to the British Nationality Act 1948, it was possible to register your partner as a British Citizen but the law has changed since then.

Does applying for British Naturalisation allow you to receive a British passport?

In short, no, because the naturalisation process is by way of discretion & is not a legal requirement for you to receive British Citizenship. A passport application should be made once you have acquired British Citizenship. It cannot be applied prior to this.

Does an expired passport still consider you a British Citizen?

When you apply for naturalisation, the Home Office usually provides a certificate confirming that you have become a British Citizen. You must keep this certificate safe and can apply for a new one if lost. This is an application process that you must proceed on and ICS Legal can provide further advice on how to apply for a naturalisation certificate.

Coming back to the issue on an expired passport, this is a travel document; however this does not confirm your status alone. It may be difficult depending on when you have become a British Citizen through the naturalisation process because certificates were not always issued.

British Nationality application refused through the naturalisation process

There are no automatic rights of appeal when you lodge a British naturalisation application but you can request a reconsideration of the decision. You must draft detailed legal grounds, provide the list of specified evidences you wish to rely on and lodge this with the short reconsideration application form.

We know that case laws provide further framework when an application for British naturalisation is refused. The supporting case laws provide helpful guidance to decision makers, on whether a decision was made correctly or not. The case of Capparrelli (EEA Nationals – British Nationality) [2017] UKUT 00162 (IAC) has become a starred matter in reference to the British Naturalisation application route. The principles set out in this case law relates to a person’s residency.

Dual nationality laws and the impact on the British naturalisation process

We know that various international laws and nationality laws will have an impact to your application to become a British national. It is important that you check this prior making your British naturalisation application. Dual nationality is permissible by the British Nationality Act 1981.

Deprivation order to remove British Nationality

This is a complex area of law and will need to take specialist legal advice. Section 40A of the British Nationality Act 1981 permits a person to appeal against the deprivation order in line with the Human Rights Act namely Article 8 of the ECHR policy law. Such cases should be carefully considered prior lodging the appeal. ICS Legal is able to advice on those complex matters.  Speak to us on 0207 237 3388.

Renouncing your British Nationality & lodging a naturalisation application

If you have given up your British nationality because of a reason, then you can apply again to register. Although it is not the same requirements as of the naturalisation process, the application requires you to provide evidences as to the reasons for given up your nationality.

The information provided in this page is only for general use purpose and does not substitute legal advice. As British Nationality application is a complex based application, you must speak to a UK Immigration Lawyer who can advise you on the correct process as well as the merits to your application.


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