Applying for a British Passport after Naturalization
Why is there a need to obtain a British passport once a certificate of naturalisation has been issued?
Applying for a British passport after naturalisation is a fairly straight forward process, and in this article, we explain it to you.
Once a person has obtained a certificate of naturalisation or registration confirming their status as a British citizen, and there is a need to travel, or a prospective employer requires to do certain Police (DBS) or security authority (SIA) checks, it is a must to be in possession of a valid identity document, and a passport is the most important ID document. It is a travel document that will allow the holder to enter or leave the UK, free from all immigration control and a British passport holder has, of course, the right of abode in the UK, that is the right to live and work in the UK and to go and come as the person pleases, without any immigration restrictions.
Without securing a British passport, a British citizen cannot travel abroad and may find it difficult to access benefits and services in the UK, whereas an EU national who holds dual nationality can travel on their valid EU ID documentation even if they do not have a valid EU passport or being dual British and EU national, even if their British passport has expired.
How to apply for a British passport?
There are several methods of applying for a British passport, that is to say: online, at a post office ‘check and send ‘ service, by post or indeed by a face to face appointment, and if the individual is applying from abroad, a different procedure must be followed (read below) and thus will depend on the particular rules of the country from where the application is made.
Not providing the correct information can cause delays in the processing of the passport application.
The name on the applicant’s current foreign passport should match the name that appears on the certificate of naturalisation or registration unless it has since that passport was issued been changed by deed poll. If that is the case, then the new name must be used for the British passport application.
All previous names and maiden names should be listed. The form will ask for details of any previous British passport held, and to apply for an adult passport, the applicant must be aged 16 or over, and an adult passport is valid or 10 years.
What documents are required to apply for a UK passport?
The following documents will be pertinent to the application: the applicant’s birth or adoption certificate; evidence of the immigration status of one of the parents if the applicant was born in the UK after 1983 (British nationality Act 1981 came into force on 1st January 1983); the applicant’s certificate of naturalisation or registration if born abroad. There will also be required a coloured passport size photograph of the applicant.
What about a countersignatory?
A countersignatory is someone the applicant will have chosen to confirm their identity. The role of such a person is to confirm that they have known the applicant personally for at least two years, and that to the best of their knowledge information or belief, the factual matters the applicant has provided on the application form are correct. The photograph is a true image and likeness of the applicant. If the applicant is a baby or a child say under two years of age, the countersignatory should confirm they have known the applicant’s parent fir at least two years.
There is, therefore, some obligation on the part of the countersignatory to read the contents of the application, before signing the application form and confirming the true likeness on the photograph. The countersignatory must be: a UK or Irish citizen, currently residing in the UK, be a professional person, or be recognised as a person of good standing in the community, not be related to the applicant by birth or marriage (obviously intended to ensure impartiality in the details countersigned as true), not be living at the applicant’s address and not be working for the Home office immigration and nationality department.
Applying for a British passport from abroad
If the applicant has obtained naturalisation as a British citizen, but for whatever reason has not had the opportunity to apply for a British passport afterwards, having left the UK (say a dual national), on a foreign passport, and whilst abroad needs to apply for a British passport, it is important to use the home office ‘overseas tool’ to find out about applying for a British passport or renewing one from that country. In most cases by completing that tool kit which is entitled ‘overseas British passport applications,’ a British passport can be acquired online. A coloured passport photo of the applicant will be required to be uploaded on that tool kit.
Depending on where the applicant originates, if a British passport is required from abroad, as an alternative to completing the online tool kit application form, a visit should be made to: www.gov.uk/overseas-passports. It is possible to complete the OS application form and the application can be sent to HMPO (the passport office) with the required information to process.