Naturalisation

Naturalisation is not an entitlement and a decision can only be made to grant you citizenship if you can demonstrate that you satisfy certain legal requirements. The requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen differ depending on whether or not you are applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen.

If you are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen:

The legal requirements you should meet before you apply are that you:

  • Are aged 18 or over
  • Are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen
  • Are of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking
  • Can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level
  • Have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK
  • Are of good character
  • Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before you apply and meet the following residence requirements:

The residence requirements:

  • You must have been physically present in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 3 years before the application is received by the Home Office.
  • You must not have had more than 270 days outside the UK in the 3-year period before making the application
  • You must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12-month period before making the application
  • You must be free from immigration time restrictions on the date of application
  • You must not have been in breach of the immigration laws in the 3-year period before making the application

Some discretion may be exercised over excess absences and immigration breaches if there are special circumstances.

If you are not married to or the civil partner of a British citizen

The legal requirements you should meet before you apply are that you:

  • Are aged 18 or over when you apply
  • Are of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking
  • Intend to continue to live in the UK
  • Can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level
  • Have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK
  • Are of good character
  • Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before you apply and meet the following residence requirements.

The residence requirements:

  • You must have been physically present in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 5 years before the application is received by the Home Office.
  • You must not have had more than 450 days outside the UK in the 5-year period before making the application
  • You must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12-month period before making the application
  • You must be free from immigration time restrictions on the date of application and have been free from immigration time restrictions for the 12-month period
    before making the application
  • You must not have been in breach of the immigration laws in the 5-year period before making the application

Some discretion may be exercised over excess absences, immigration breaches, and immigration time restrictions in the last 12 months.

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