British Nationality

There are seven requirements you need to meet before you apply:

  • You must be aged 18 or over.
  • You must be of sound mind.
  • You must intend to continue living in the UK or to continue in Crown service, the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member of the service of a company or association established in the UK.
  • You must be able to communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to an acceptable degree.
  • You must have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK.
  • You must be of good character.
  • You must meet the residential requirements (see below).

Residential Requirements

To demonstrate the residential requirements for naturalisation, you must have:

  • Been resident in the UK for at least five years (this is known as the residential qualifying period); and
  • Been present in the UK five years before the date of your application; and
  • Not spending more than 450 days outside the UK during the five-year period; and
  • Not spending more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months of the five-year period; and
  • Not been in breach of the Immigration Rules at any stage during the five-year period.

When Does The Residential Qualifying Period Start?

The residential qualifying period is calculated from the day when we receive your application. Most unsuccessful applications fail because the applicant was not present in the UK at the beginning of the residential qualifying period. You must make sure you meet this requirement before you make your application. For example, if we receive your application on 25 March 2010, you must show that you were in the UK on 26 March 2005.

If you have spent time in the UK while you were exempt from immigration control, you cannot include this time as part of the residential qualifying period. If you were in the UK as a diplomat or as a member of visiting armed forces, or if you were in any place of detention, you are considered to have been exempt from immigration control during that time. This time is treated as absence from the UK when we assess your application.

Immigration Time Restrictions

You must be free from immigration time restrictions when you apply for naturalisation. Unless you are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen, you should have been free from immigration time restrictions during the last 12 months of the residential qualifying period.

If you are free from immigration time restrictions, there will probably be a stamp or sticker in your passport saying that you have indefinite leave to enter or remain or no time limit on your stay. But you may have a letter from the Home Office saying that you are free from immigration conditions. See the documents we require for naturalisation applications for details of how to prove you are free from immigration time restrictions.

We have the discretion to allow applications from people who do not meet this requirement. For details of how we apply discretion, you should read the Discretion on immigration time restrictions page.

European Economic Area Nationals and Swiss Nationals

If you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, or you are the family member of such a person, you will automatically have permanent residence status if you have exercised EEA free-movement rights in the UK for a continuous five-year period ending on or after 30 April 2006. You do not need to apply for leave to remain. You should have held permanent residence status for 12 months before you apply for naturalisation.

If you have been outside the UK for six months or more in any one of the five years of the residence period, you will have broken your residence. This does not apply if:

  • The absence was due to military service; or
  • All absences were for less than 12 months and were for important reasons such as pregnancy, childcare, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting.

If you leave the UK for a continuous period of two years or more, you will lose your permanent residence status.

If you have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, you will be considered to be settled here provided that you have not been away for two years or more since you received ILR.

Breach of Immigration Laws During Residential Qualifying Period

You must have been in the UK legally throughout the residential qualifying period. We may refuse your naturalisation application if you have breached the immigration laws during that period.

Absences From the UK During The Residential Qualifying Period

During the residential qualifying period, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 450 days. You must not have been absent for more than 90 days in the last 12 months.

We have the discretion to allow absences above the normal limits. For details of how we apply discretion, you should read the Discretion on absences from the UK page.

Crown Service

If you are applying on the grounds of your Crown service instead of your residence in the UK, you must show that you:

  • are serving overseas in Crown service on the date when your application is received; and
  • have been the holder of a responsible post overseas; and
  • have given outstanding service, normally over a substantial period; and
  • have a close connection with the UK.

Crown service is an alternative only to the residency requirements for naturalisation. You must still meet the other requirements for naturalisation. For more information, see Residential requirements (above) and the Discretion on absences from the UK page.

British Citizenship for Children’s

To be able to register as a British citizen using application form MN1 the child must be under 18 on the day of the application. Once the child turns 18 he or she will need to apply for registration or naturalization as an adult. If the child turns 18 during the application process you will need to pay £80 for a citizenship ceremony. Children who have automatically become British citizens do not need to register.

There are several ways that a child can meet the requirements to register as a British citizen. Depending on the child's circumstances, they will be able to apply for registration as a British citizen by entitlement or discretion. If the child has a right under British nationality law to apply and is registered as a British citizen this is an entitlement.

If the child does not have a right under British nationality law to apply and be registered as a British citizen, registration will be at UKBA discretion. In these cases the home office will consider the circumstances of the child's case and whether it is reasonable for them to be registered as a British citizen. If the child is applying for registration at home office discretion you should provide as much evidence as possible to support the case.

It is possible that some families include some children with an entitlement to register and others without. If an application is made from families in these circumstances you are asked to indicate on the form if you still wish to register the children who have an entitlement to British citizenship if other applications are unsuccessful. If you do so, the children will have different nationalities.

For all registrations, the child must:

  • Be under 18 on the date we receive the application; and
  • Be of good character if they are 10 years or over on the date of application.

 0203 137 6465

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Want to Ask ?

  • Assisted Digital service: UK Visas and Immigration.

    UK Visas and Immigration The service is delivered in collaboration with We are Digital, Scottish Library & Information Council and Migrant Help UK.

    Get Assisted Digital support to use UKVI’s online services if you are in the UK and you do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete an online immigration application form.

    Assisted Digital service: UK Visas and Immigration
  • Home Office confirms chaotic U-turn on the suspension of Tier 1 (Investor) visas.

    The Home Office has rowed back last week’s announcement that the Tier 1 (Investor) route was suspended with near-immediate effect. It was widely reported last Thursday that the route would be closed to new applications from midnight the next day due to concerns over money laundering, but the department provided no official confirmation beyond the press release evidently sent to news organisations, and the online application system remains live. Today the Migration Policy team at the Home Office has confirmed in an email that:

    The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended. However, the Government remains committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course. Any suspension would be implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules.

    Richard Ford of the Times reports that the suspension was delayed, despite being already announced as fact, “after opposition from other government departments”. The only thing out there that suggested the unexpected suspension of the investor route last week were identical quotes from the Immigration Minister published by some of the press. If the Minister did provide the information quoted in the media but a decision was then made that the suspension would not go ahead, whilst good news for applicants, this is reckless, to say the least. It is extremely important to the integrity of the UK’s immigration system that any changes made to key immigration routes are made formally and with sufficient notice.

    On Thursday 6 December, the BBC, Times and Guardian all reported that the Tier 1 (Investor) route was to be closed to new applicants more or less immediately and quoted the immigration minister as follows: The UK will always be open to legitimate and genuine investors who are committed to helping our economy and businesses grow. However, I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system. That is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.

    Home Office confirms chaotic U-turn on the suspension of Tier 1 (Investor) visas
  • A new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1779.

    A statement of changes to the Immigration Rules was published today, 11 December 2018. The main changes are to introduce the pilot scheme for short-term agricultural workers that was announced earlier this year and to expand the domestic violence settlement scheme to cover refugees. The more fundamental changes to Tier 1 announced last week — suspending and tightening up investor visas, replacing entrepreneur visas and introducing new start-up visas — are not taking place yet.

    Mind you, the online file name of the statement of changes includes the term “Minus_T1_Suspension”, so clearly, the Tier 1 changes were supposed to be in there originally. See Home Office confirms chaotic U-turn on the suspension of Tier 1 (Investor) visas for an account of the farcical events of the past week.

    Except where indicated otherwise, these changes come into force on 10 January 2019 and will apply to applications made on or after that date.

    New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1779
  • Immigration Health Surcharge to double from 8 January 2019.

    The immigration health surcharge will double on 8 January 2019. The extra fee paid by visa applicants to fund the NHS will rise to £400 a year, up from £200, for applications made on or after that date. Students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme pay £300 (up from £150). An Order authorising the increase was made on 18 December and will come into force “on the twenty-first day after the day on which it is made”. Feel free to check our maths, but we make that on the 8th of January.

    As we reported in a previous version of this article, there had been persistent rumours that the surcharge would double on 19 December — that is, 21 days after the draft Order passed the final stage of Parliamentary approval on 28 November. This appears to have been based on a misunderstanding of how statutory instruments work: we had it on good authority that 19 December was not the right date, and indeed it has come and gone without an increase. The confusion is understandable, though, given the lack of an official statement from the Home Office or Department of Health.

    To repeat: most visa applications will cost an extra £200 per year of the visa from 8 January 2019 onwards. Any that can be submitted before then should be.

    Immigration Health Surcharge to double from 8 January 2019

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