The most common way to become a British Citizen is called ‘naturalisation’.
If you are not married to an UK Citizen you will need to meet the following residence requirements over the last six years:
- You must have been living in the UK exactly six years before the date the application reaches the Home Office; and
- During the first 5 years you must not have been outside the United Kingdom for more than 180 days per year; and
- During the last 12 months of the six-year period you must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days; and
- During the last 12 months of the six-year period your stay in the United Kingdom you must have held permanent residence/ indefinite leave to remain (ILR); and
- You must not have been living in the United Kingdom in breach of the UK immigration rules at any time during the six-year period ending with the date that the application is received by the Home Office.
If you are a spouse of a British citizen there is a shorter residency requirement of three years in the UK as opposed to six years. The three years of the residency requirement are counted from the date your naturalization application is received by the Home Office.
Further details on residency requirements are as follows:
- You must have been living in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the three- year period; and
- On the date that your application is received in the Home Office, you must have permanent residence/ ILR in the UK; and
- During the three-year period you must not have been outside the UK for more than 270 days (approximately 9 months); and
- During the last 12 months of the three-year period you must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days; and
- You must not have been in breach of any UK immigration rules at any time during this three-year period of residence in the UK.
The processing time for naturalisation applications is currently about six to seven months.
Make an Enquiry
For more information or to arrange a free, no-obligation discussion about your circumstances, please make an enquiry or contact our immigration law team on +44 (0)20 7632 1446.