When people migrate to the UK, the process of naturalization (i.e., their British Citizenship application) is the final and most pleasing step in their journey. British citizenship undoubtedly comes with many rights and advantages that are incredible. As a British citizen, you will be entitled to the same rights as all other British citizens, so yes, becoming a British citizen truly comes with many benefits. However, in order to become a citizen in the UK, you should primarily know what expects you on that path. More precisely, you need to understand the necessary requirements as well as the eligibility criteria that you must meet. Let’s get to the point and check them out!
Review the requirements for your application
If you want to apply for citizenship, it is crucial to prepare in advance. You will primarily need to provide proof of your UK residency duration, pass the Life in the UK Test, demonstrate your English proficiency, and show that you have good character by proving that you have not committed any recent legal violations or experienced bankruptcy. Additionally, you must provide the names of two individuals who can serve as referees to help verify your identity when submitting a British citizenship application.
When it comes to the kids, in order to apply for citizenship for your child, you need to fill out a separate application. If your child is under 18, you can apply for British citizenship, which is an easier process. Unlike adults, children don’t need to take the Life in the UK Test, prove their English skills, or attend a citizenship ceremony. This will save you a lot of time in the application process.
Prove how long you have lived in the UK
In order to fulfill the residency requirement in the UK, you must provide proof of how long you have resided there, even if you have already applied for ‘settled status.’ The length of residency required will differ based on your individual circumstances. To begin, calculate the specific time frame you have spent in the UK over the past three years if you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen and five years if you are not. One helpful method to keep track of your travel outside the UK is to create a record of the dates you traveled abroad.
Check you have the evidence to show you were in the UK
When applying to the Home Office, it is important to submit your current passport along with any old passports that cover the duration of your stay in the country. If your passport contains entry and exit stamps, double-check that they match the dates you provided in your application.
If you are an EU citizen, you may not have an entry stamp on your passport. In this case, you will need to provide alternative evidence to prove your presence in the UK, such as payslips, P60s, a letter from your employer or education provider with start and end dates, or a letter from a benefits provider like the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) showing when you received benefits. Other evidence, like household bills, may also be accepted.
If you are a refugee and do not have a passport or travel documents, the Home Office should acknowledge that you did not leave the UK after your arrival.
Pass the Life in the UK Test
In order to apply for citizenship, it is necessary to pass the Life in the UK Test. This test will inquire about UK laws, the legal system, as well as working and other relevant details pertaining to Life in the UK. The test can be taken at any point prior to submitting your application.
Check if you need to prove you understand English
If you’re from a country that’s exempt, under 18 or over 65, or have a degree taught/researched in English, you don’t need to prove your understanding of English. If you’re between 60-64 and can’t learn English before turning 65 due to medical reasons, the Home Office may exempt you as well. If you have a physical or mental condition that makes it impossible to pass the test, you can ask your doctor to confirm that it’s unlikely to change and affects your ability to learn English.
Ensure that you have a good character
In order to apply for citizenship, it’s essential to demonstrate your good character. The Home Office assesses various factors to determine this, such as unpaid taxes in the UK, an NHS debt, bankruptcy, a serious or recent criminal record, or breaking any condition of your leave within the last decade, such as working or claiming public funds without authorization.
It’s crucial to be truthful and disclose any relevant information, such as a criminal conviction. Failure to do so could result in the Home Office rejecting your application. If you anticipate any difficulties in proving your good character, we recommend seeking advice from an adviser before submitting your application.
Provide two referees
When filling out your application, please provide the names of two referees who can verify your identity. These should be individuals who have known you for at least three years and can vouch for your character. Please note that your referees cannot be your family members, solicitors or agent, or anyone employed by the Home Office.
How to apply?
Applying for citizenship can be done online or through the mail. If you’re from the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or a British Overseas territory, you’ll need to apply through the mail. For added security, it’s recommended to send your paper application through recorded delivery.
More information on applying can be found on GOV.UK if you’re married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen. If you’re not in a civil partnership or married to a British citizen, your application process will depend on your current immigration status.
If you completed a paper application, you must send in physical copies of your documents, such as your passport. However, if you applied online, you can simply scan your documents and upload them to your application without the need for physical mail to the Home Office.