British citizenship gives you the right to live and work in the UK permanently, without any immigration restrictions. You will be able to vote in parliamentary elections and travel the world on a British passport. You will also have free access to the NHS. In essence, you will have the same rights as a British national.
You need British citizenship before you can apply for a UK passport.
Are you wondering what the answer is to the question: can you gain British citizenship?
Well, the answer is yes.
Read on to find out more about British citizenship and discover the answers to frequently asked questions about this topic.
Click here to read our blog article on ‘Can you gain British citizenship?’ to learn more.
Can you gain British citizenship?
Yes, you can become a naturalised British citizen after living in the UK for 5 years.
Or, you can have dual citizenship, which allows you to be a citizen of both Britain and another country.
Some people have British citizenship because they were born in the UK to at least one British parent (or long-term resident of the UK).
However, just because a person is born in the UK, that does not mean they have British citizenship.
But, babies born on UK soil are not automatically entitled to British citizenship. At least one of the child’s parents will have to gain settled status in the UK, and only then can they apply for British citizenship for their child.
How do I know if I am already a British citizen?
People who are already British citizens don’t have to apply to gain British citizenship. They can apply for a UK passport immediately.
You are already a British citizen if:
- you have a British parent
- were born in the UK or a British overseas territory
- were born in a British colony before 1983
To check if you are a British citizen, visit the Gov.UK website here.
What are the requirements to gain British citizenship?
To gain British citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:
- be over 18.
- prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application.
- prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
- have passed the ‘Life in the UK’ Test.
- intend to continue living in the UK.
- be of good character – e.g. you have not committed immigration fraud or serious crimes.
Additionally, there are residency requirements which you have to meet if you want to gain British citizenship.
You must have lived in the UK for 5 years. Plus, you should not have broken any UK immigration laws.
You must have had one of the following for 12 months:
- indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- ‘settled status’ (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’)
- indefinite leave to enter the leave (permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad)
You cannot include time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control as a:
- member of a diplomat’s staff or household
- member of visiting armed forces
If you want to gain British citizenship, there are rules on any time you may have spent outside the UK.
You should not have:
- spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years before your application
- spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
- broken any UK immigration laws (e.g. living illegally in the UK)
How can I apply to gain British citizenship?
You will submit your application for British citizenship to the Home Office.
It usually takes 6 months to hear back with a decision.
You must have valid permission to be in the UK while you are waiting for your decision.
Moreover, you must have been physically present in the UK exactly 5 years before the Home Office receives your application.
Your application may be rejected if you were not in the UK exactly 5 years before the Home Office received it.
This depends on the reason why you were not in the UK. The Home Office will consider if there are special circumstances, for example:
- you were not able to live in the UK at the start of the 5-year period because of health reasons or travel restrictions.
- you were told to leave the UK during the 5 years but this decision was later overturned.
How to apply for British citizenship if you have indefinite leave to remain, or ‘settled status’:
You can submit an application yourself, or you can use an agent or representative.
To apply by yourself, fill in the online form on the Gov.UK website.
You can get help to complete the online form if you are applying in the UK.
You can also apply by post, but this process will take much longer.
You will have to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to supply your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).
You don’t have to send your documents anywhere, you can either upload copies into the online service or have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment.
How to apply for British citizenship through an agent or representative:
A private company or individual can help you with your application and advise you on any aspects of the application process.
Check if an agent or representative is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
You can also use a solicitor or barrister that are not registered with the OISC but is registered with an approved body instead.
Where can I get help with my application for British citizenship?
Here at Synergy Immigration Solutions, we can help you with your application for British citizenship.
We understand the complexity of the UK’s immigration laws and the issues that can arise during the application process.
That is why we house all the support services you need for immigration applications, under one roof. This means one cost, for complete support on your application.
We enjoy working with individuals who need assistance with their immigration applications.
We will answer your questions, tailor our advice to suit your needs, and process your application in an efficient and timely manner.
With our bespoke, personalised service, we will ensure that your application has the best chance of success.
How much does it cost to apply for British citizenship?
- The application fee is £1,330 for adults and £1,012 for children.
- It costs £50 to do the ‘Life in the UK’ Test
- £19.20 to send your fingerprints and photo to the Home Office
- It costs around £150 if you must do an English test
- You will not get most of your money back if your application is refused – for example, if you’re not eligible or you sent the wrong documents.
- There is also an £80 citizenship ceremony fee if the applicant is an adult.
Can my application for British citizenship be rejected?
The Home Office may reject your application if:
- You do not meet the eligibility requirements.
- Your details are incorrect, falsified, or fraudulent.
- You have not spent enough time in the UK.
- There is no evidence that you were born in the UK or that you have a British parent.
- You have failed the ‘Life in the UK’ test.
- You do not have the correct English language requirements.
- You are applying for British Citizenship by Marriage but your partner has died.
- The Home Office requests further information and you fail to provide this information in time.
- You fail to disclose important information.
What happens at a citizenship ceremony in the UK?
The citizenship ceremony takes place at a venue approved by your local authority.
You can opt for an individual ceremony or a group ceremony.
You can bring 2 guests with you to the ceremony.
You will make an oath of allegiance to His Majesty the King and a pledge of loyalty to the United Kingdom, promising to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK.
You will be presented with a certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack.
Your certificate is legal evidence of your acquisition of British citizenship, so it should be carefully preserved.
It must not be unofficially altered or laminated, as it will not be accepted as evidence of citizenship by His Majesty’s Passport Office.