What is Naturalisation?
Naturalisation is the legal process by which a person becomes a national of another country and it is currently the most common path to citizenship in the UK.
You are entitled to file an application to naturalise as UK citizen if you are at least 18 years old and have permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
There are several additional requirements which you will need to meet in order to naturalise which are as follows.
- You may not have any immigration offences in the past 10 years.
- You must not have any serious criminal charges.
- You must have lived in the UK for 5 years.
- You must meet the minimum knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements.
- You may qualify for naturalisation if you are currently stateless.
Moreover, there are a number of residence requirements which you will need to meet and these are:
- You must not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 month period before filing your application.
- If you are not married to a British citizen, you will have to prove that you have not been away from the UK for more than 450 days in the last five years and that you have held the status of indefinite leave to remain for a minimum of 1 year before you submitted your application.
- If you are married to a British citizen, you will need to prove that you have not spent more than 270 days outside of the UK in the last 3 years. If you are married, you also do not need to hold the status of indefinite leave to remain for any specific period of time but must have it at the time you make your application.
COVID-19 and British Citizenship Naturalisation
The COVID-19 pandemic has given the Home Office wide discretionary powers treating those who in ordinary times might have been overstayers, as being lawful residents in the UK or treating those who might otherwise have remained too long out of the UK, as complying with the residence requirements. Therefore you may be interested to hear that this could be an ideal time to prepare an application for naturalisation if you do not meet the complete criteria of residence. For more information and to discuss your case with a legal expert contact our team of immigration lawyers London for a remote consultation.