In order to protect the human right of ‘family life’, the UK permits the naturalisation of foreign nationals who enter a civil partnership or marry a British national. However, you are only eligible for naturalisation after spending 5 years in the UK and acquiring indefinite leave to remain, also known as ‘Settled Status’.
Obtaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK and even the initial right to enter and stay in the UK will depend on you obtaining a “Spouse Visa” which can also be known as a Family Visa. With proper legal advice you can be confident in starting your journey to British citizenship and building a life with your partner in the UK.
The following will outline the chronological steps to naturalisation.
How to Obtain a Spouse VISA
You are eligible to stay in the UK for up to 2.5 years under a Spouse Visa if:
- You and your spouse are 18 or over
- Your partner is a British citizen, has permanent leave to remain in the UK, settled status, is a permanent resident of the UK or has refugee or protected status in the UK.
- You intend to live permanently with your partner in the UK
What You will Need to Prove
- You’re marriage or civil partnership is recognised in the UK
- You have already lived for 2 years or more with your partner
- That you have a good knowledge of English
- That you are able to support yourself and dependants financially
Even If you do not satisfy this criteria you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:
- There are specific reasons that would make it particularly hard for you and your partner to live together outside of the UK, for example you have a child who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years or more.
- It would be a breach of your human rights to prevent you from coming to the UK or forcing you to leave.
If you are not yet married then you can bring a fiancé for up to 6 months and you must prove that you intend to marry or enter a civil partnership within 6 months in the UK. You can then extend the VISA.
What do You Need to Prove Your Relationship
You will need evidence from a government, bank, utility provider or bank which shows you live together, share expenses, are married or in a civil partnership. These documents should be no older than 4 years. They can include:
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Bank statements which show a common address or a joint account
- Utility bills or tenancy agreements which show you live together
- Dentist, GP or hospital letters which indicate your joint address
Can You Bring Your Children to The UK?
Yes, your children can be added on to your application as long as they are 18 or under and do not live an independent life, as in, they are not married or have their own children.
How Long Before You Get Indefinite Leave to Remain / Permanent Residency?
You will need to spend 5 years continuously in the UK on a Spouse VISA before you can apply to settle permanently in the UK. If your application is successful after 5 years you will be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. This does not make you a citizen of the UK, however, you will be allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely and can come and go as you please.
How do You Gain British Citizenship Once You have Been Granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in The Uk?
You can apply for British citizenship through naturalisation if:
- Both you and your partner are over 18
- You can prove to the Home Office that you have been living in the UK continuously for the past 3 years before your application. This means that you have not spent more than 270 days outside of the UK over the past 3 years or 90 days in the past 12 months.
- Have a good knowledge of English
- Have passed the life in the UK test
- Be of good character
- Have already obtained indefinite leave to remain in the UK, indefinite leave to enter the UK or ‘settled status’
How can Gulbenkian Solicitors Help You
There are many hurdles to pass on the route to full British citizenship, this can be a long and costly process but our team of dedicated immigration lawyers London can make sure you do not incur any unnecessary delays or expenses. If you have a long turn project of settling permanently in the UK our team can ensure that you follow the correct procedure and have the best chances of successful VISA and citizenship applications.
Ask our Expert Legal Team
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Neither Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors ltd, nor their employees, agents, consultants or assignees, accept any liability based on the contents of written articles which are meant for guidance only and not as legal advice. We advise all readers to take professional advice before acting. If you would like to consult with a professional lawyer or solicitor to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.