Becoming a British citizen can open up an array of new opportunities - for example, voting rights, or access to NHS healthcare. Applying for British citizenship involves providing the Home Office with a lot of information about yourself. You’ll also be required to pass a ‘Life in the UK’ test and an English language test.
At Trent Law, we understand that this can feel like a daunting process - and chances are there’s a lot at stake. We’ve created this simple guide to walk you through everything you need to know about the requirements for becoming a British citizen.
If you’re married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
You can apply for citizenship if you are married to, or in a civil partnership with, a British citizen. However, the rules differ slightly if you’re applying on these grounds. To start with, you must be 18 or over, be married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, and have lived in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the application.
Even if you satisfy those 3 criteria, you can’t apply for citizenship unless you have one of the following:
● Indefinite leave to remain in the UK
● Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
If you have indefinite leave to remain
You can usually apply for indefinite leave to remain after living in the UK for 5 years. In order to apply for citizenship on the grounds that you have indefinite leave to remain, you must usually have lived in the UK for another year after getting it.
If you have ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme
To apply for citizenship with settled status, you must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it.
If you had permanent residence status before you were granted settled status, you can no longer apply on these grounds. However, you can count the time that you had permanent residence status towards the 12 months of UK residence after gaining settled status required to apply for citizenship.
For example, imagine someone gained permanent residence in 2019 and got settled status in 2021. Usually, someone with settled status would need to wait a year before applying for citizenship but, because this person had permanent residence status for 2 years prior, they can apply straight away.
Other ways you can be eligible
Some Commonwealth citizens have ‘right of abode’ in the UK, meaning they can live or work here without immigration restrictions - check your eligibility here.
You may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship if you:
● Have a British parent
● Have another type of British nationality
● Are stateless
● Previously gave up (renounced) your citizenship
● Meet the criteria for citizenship under the Windrush Scheme
Here at Trent Law, we are experienced in handling a variety of immigration matters. If you’re thinking of becoming a British citizen, we can help. Our professional team of solicitors will gladly guide you through the application process, representing your best interests at every stage. Contact us today to find out more.