British Citizenship

How to get British citizenship – find out how to get British nationality so that you can get a British passport, and the documents required for the application procedure…

There are a number of different ways to acquire British citizenship; through naturalisation, marriage or birth.

Naturalisation

In general, it is possible to apply for British nationality through naturalisation if you are legally resident in the UK and will continue to live in the UK, are of good moral character (no criminal record or immigration offences) and meet the requirements for English proficiency and knowledge of life in the UK (for which there is a test). An application for naturalisation can be submitted by anyone over the age of 18; parents of minors must submit the application on their behalf. There is a fee for the citizenship application.

In order to qualify for naturalisation, the applicant must fulfil the following conditions:

  • Have lived in the UK for at least five years, and not spent more than 450 days outside the UK during this time, or more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • Be a permanent resident or have been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK
  • Not committed any immigration offences in the UK

If married to or in a registered civil partnership with a British citizen, the applicant must have lived in the UK for at least three years, and not spent more than 270 days outside the UK during this time, or more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months.

Application procedure

Applications for British citizenship can be made through an individual application, via an agent or representative, or through the Nationality Checking Service (NCS). The NCS, run by local councils can help with the application form.

An interview may be required as part of the naturalisation procedure.

Individual applications for those already in the UK should be sent to the following addres:

Read the guide to British naturalisation, which outlines the procedure as well as the documents and fees required (PDF).

Once the application has been made, a confirmation letter is sent within four weeks. A decision is generally made about the naturalisation within six months.

If the application is successful, the person is invited to book a place at a citizenship ceremony, where they must make an oath of allegiance and a pledge to respect the laws and rights of the UK.

The biometric residence permit must be sent back to the Home Office within five days of the citizenship ceremony, or within five days of receiving the citizenship certificate.

British Nationality from Birth

A person does not automatically become British if they are born in the UK; certain conditions apply. Information on citizenship is available from the government of the United Kingdom.

Some people may qualify for British citizenship from birth, for example if one of their parents is or was a British citizen.

It is possible to check online whether you may qualify for British citizenship from birth.

Dual Nationality

Dual nationality is permitted in the UK. Not all countries allow dual nationality so it is advisable to check with the consulate of your home country before starting the procedure for British citizenship.