To be eligible and apply for British citizenship, applicants must meet the latest requirements of 2023 in accordance with the British Nationality Act 1981.

Contact our UK nationality lawyer now on 0161 989 9370 to get legal advice about how to apply for British citizenship and information about eligibility requirements.

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What are the requirements for British citizenship?

The requirements for British citizenship can vary depending on your individual circumstances and the route you are taking to obtain citizenship. However, here are some general requirements that apply to most routes to citizenship:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for British citizenship unless you are applying for registration as a British citizen as a child.
  • Residence: You must have lived in the UK for a certain period of time. The residency requirement can vary depending on the route you are taking to citizenship. For naturalization, you must have lived in the UK for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a British citizen).
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR): If you are not a British citizen or a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you must have ILR to be eligible for British citizenship.
  • Good Character: You must be of good character, which means you must not have a criminal record or have committed any serious offences.
  • English Language Proficiency: You must have a certain level of English language proficiency if you are over 18 years old and applying for naturalization.
  • Knowledge of Life in the UK: You must pass a test that demonstrates your knowledge of life in the UK, including British history, culture, and traditions.
  • Intentions: You must intend to continue to live in the UK, and must not have spent more than 90 days abroad in the last 12 months before applying.

These are some of the general requirements for British citizenship, but there may be additional requirements depending on your individual circumstances and the route you are taking. It is always advisable to seek professional advice to determine the specific requirements that apply to you.

You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements depending on type of application and your personal circumstances. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.

UK residency requirements for British citizenship

If applying for naturalisation as a British citizen, you must meet the residency requirements of a British citizenship application.

You should have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application  Foreign spouses of British citizens may be able to apply after three years of lawful residence in the country.

You should also not have:

  • spent more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years (or 270 days, if you are following the UK citizenship by marriage route)
  • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • broken any UK immigration laws (for example living illegally in the UK)

Good character requirements for British citizenship

An applicant for naturalisation as a British citizen must satisfy the good character requirement to succeed in his application.

The British Nationality Act 1981 does not define good character. However, the Home Office UKVI guidance sets out the types of conduct which must be taken into account when assessing whether a person has satisfied the requirement to be of good character.

Consideration should be given by the Home Office caseworker to all aspects of a person's character, including both negative factors, for example, criminality, immigration law breaches & deception and more.

English language test for UK citizenship

If you are applying for British citizenship and you're 18 or over then you might need to prove your knowledge of the English language.

The British citizenship applicants must meet the English language requirements to prove that they can read, write, speak and understand English to a certain level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

You can prove your knowledge of the English language by having either an English qualification at the B1 level or a degree taught in English.

You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you are aged 65 or over or unable to, because of a long-term physical or mental condition.

Life in the UK test for British citizenship

The Life in the UK test is a compulsory requirement to be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

The main object of the Life in the UK test is to prove that the applicant has adequate knowledge of British life such as British values, history, traditions and everyday life.

The life in the UK test is a computer-based multiple-choice question test based on the Life in the UK handbook.

You will have 45 minutes in total to answer 24 multiple-choice questions and You must score 75% or more to pass the test.

Requirements for UK citizenship through marriage

As a spouse of a British citizen and living in the UK for at least 3, you can apply for British citizenship by marriage if you are meeting the eligibility requirements of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Foreign spouses of British citizens must meet the following eligibility criteria to apply for British citizenship:

  • You must be 18 years old or over
  • You must have indefinite leave to remain or EU Settled Status for at least a 3 years
  • You must satisfy the good character requirement
  • You must prove your knowledge of the English language (at least CEFR level B1 or a degree taught in English is required)
  • You must pass your Life in the UK Test 

Documents required for British citizenship applications

The applicants will need to provide several documents in support of their British citizenship application depending on their personal circumstances.

You must provide the following documents when you apply for British citizenship by naturalisation:

  • Your current passport or the valid ID document
  • Your BRP card (if have been issued to you)
  • Proof you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settled status
  • List of absences from the UK
  • Proof of knowledge of English or English language test certificate
  • Life in the UK test certificate

This is a general list of documents. Depending on type of application and your personal circumstances, you might also need to provide additional documents.

Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and find out the required list of documents in support of your application.

Read the guidance for the full list of documents you'll need to provide in support of your British citizenship application.

Need help with the British citizenship application?

If you need legal advice or help with your British citizenship application, our lawyer can provide legal assistance.

Our citizenship lawyer will assess your eligibility and personal circumstances to determine if you can apply for British citizenship and meet the requirements.

British citizenship lawyer at Rex Law Chambers will:

  • advise you about eligibility criteria and the requirement;
  • provide you with a comprehensive checklist of supporting documents;
  • fill in and submit your British citizenship application;
  • check all the supporting documents;
  • upload all the supporting documents online in their correct format and order;
  • schedule your biometrics appointments;
  • prepare a cover letter or letter of representation to support your application.
  • dealing and responding to any enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office;
  • do all the follow-up work on your British citizenship application until a decision is received from the Home Office UKVI.

Contact our experienced UK citizenship & nationality lawyer on 0161 989 9370 or fill in our enquiry form to get reliable & confidential legal advice and assistance with your British citizenship application.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Residency requirement, good character requirement, English language test and Life in the UK test are the 4 key requirements to apply for British citizenship.

You must meet all other eligibility requirements depending on your personal circumstances and type of British citizenship application.

You can become a British citizen after living at least 3 years in the UK as a spouse of a British citizen. You must meet all the eligibility requirements of the British Nationality Act 1981 to apply for UK citizenship through marriage.

Yes, the UK does allow dual citizenship with other countries which means you can be a British citizen and also a citizen of other countries at the same time.

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