What are the eligibility requirements for British citizenship?
The most common method of obtaining British citizenship is through naturalisation. In order to be eligible, the person applying for naturalisation must:
be aged at least 18
be of 'good character' (eg no serious or recent criminal record or immigration offences)
continue to live in the UK
Further requirements relate to residence. The applicant should have:
lived in the UK for at least 5 years - with no more than 450 days spent abroad within this time
not spent more than 90 days abroad within the last 12 months
settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
had settlement/indefinite leave to remain in the UK for at least the past 12 months
To apply you usually need to wait 12 months after getting settled status or indefinite leave to remain. For further information on eligibility requirements, see the guidance from the Home Office.
Spouses of British citizens
The eligibility requirements for spouses of British citizens are broadly the same as for those who are not. The main difference is that it is only necessary to have lived in the UK for at least 3 years (instead of 5 years). For more information see the government website.
How do you apply to become a British citizen?
An application for naturalisation can be done in one of three ways:
by submitting an individual application - using Form AN
via the Nationality Checking Service (NCS) - a service provided by local councils
using an agent or representative - private companies or individuals registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) can help with the application process
In most cases, fees will need to be paid and biometric information must be provided.
What happens after submitting an application for British citizenship?
A letter will be sent out confirming the application - this can take up to 4 weeks. A decision will then usually be made within 6 months.
The Home Office may request further information to support the application or ask for an interview.
What is a citizenship ceremony?
If an application is successful, the applicant will then need to attend a citizenship ceremony. This involves an oath of allegiance or affirmation and a pledge to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK.
A ceremony fee will be included in your application fee. You may need to pay more for a private ceremony - check the cost with your local authority.
How can citizenship be obtained for a child?
Parents of children under 18 can apply for British citizenship on behalf of their child using Form MN1. This generally involves registration rather than naturalisation and may be required if the child was born or adopted abroad. Children do not need to pass the Life in the UK Test.
Children are automatically considered to be British citizens if they:
were born in the UK after 1 January 1983, and
have at least one parent who was a British citizen or settled in the UK at the time of their birth
If the relevant parent became a British citizen or settled in the UK after the birth, registration is required using Form MN1.