The final step of immigration to the United Kingdom is to become a British citizen. However, it is not mandatory to become a British citizen if you wish to stay in the UK indefinitely under a permanent residence visa. It is worth mentioning that some countries do not recognise dual citizenship. Therefore, we strongly advise you to check with your country of origin’s Diplomatic Post in the UK before you apply for British citizenship. British Nationality and Citizenship Law is complicated and some people may be eligible for British citizenship but not be aware of this. Therefore, it is advisable to get professional advice as early as possible in order to avoid disappointment. Eligible individuals need to prove that they are contributing to the British economy and have sufficient knowledge of life in the United Kingdom and the English language.
There are six types of British Nationality:
- British citizenship
- British overseas national
- British overseas territories citizenship
- British subject
- British overseas citizenship
- British protected citizens.
British citizens are permitted to live and work in the United Kingdom without any restrictions. The other five categories are subject to legal restrictions when it comes to living and working in the United Kingdom and need to obtain the necessary visas or permission to live and work in the United Kingdom. British citizenship can be obtained either by naturalisation or by registration. However, there are some other ways that British citizenship can be obtained, such as by descent, birth etc. Foreign nationals can either naturalise (if they are over 18 years old) or register (if they are under 18 years old) as British citizens. However, they need to meet certain criteria. Foreign nationals can naturalise based on five years’ residence in the UK or based on marriage or civil partnership and residence in the UK.
In both cases, applicants need to meet the following requirements:
- be 18 years old or over’
- meet the residence requirement, which also includes absences and being in the UK for a period of five or three years;
- not be subject to any restrictions in the United Kingdom;
- be of “good character”;
- have sufficient knowledge of English or other languages officially used in the United Kingdom;
- be of “full capacity”; and,
- intend to make the United Kingdom his/her home or principal home country.
For naturalisation based on marriage or civil partnership it is also necessary to show that the applicant is married to or has formed a civil partnership with a British citizen. Children under 18 years old can register as British citizens instead of naturalising, but need to meet certain requirements.
How we can help
We can advise and assist you and your dependants on naturalising as a British citizen.
We can register your UK born child as a British citizen if you held permanent residence before your child’s birth.
We can advise you regarding how to obtain a British passport after attending a Citizenship ceremony.
We can provide general advice on dual citizenship and check whether your current country of origin recognises dual citizenship. However, for full advice you need to contact your country’s immigration authorities.
If you want to assess your eligibility for British citizenship please complete our free assessment form and we will contact you as soon as possible..