Becoming A British Citizen

With Brexit rapidly approaching, being naturalised as a British citizen became a more and more requested application after having acquired rights to reside permanently in the UK.

The Naturalisation is a complex application essentially based on the Home Office discretion and on three main requirements:

Good Character: a criminal check record is not a compulsory document but the Applicant needs to demonstrate that he has been lawfully residing in the UK for the 5 years prior to the date of the application.

Continuous Residence: The Applicant must demonstrate that he does not have more than 450 days of absences during the past 5 years and no more than 90 days during the past 12 months. Furthermore, he must demonstrate that he was physically present the exact date 5 years before the date of the application.

If the Applicant is married to a British citizen, he will be able to rely only on the three years prior to the date of the application and show not to have more than 270 days during the last three years prior to the date of the application and no more than 90 days during the last 12 months.

In relation to the immigration time restrictions, a non-EEA national must wait 12 months after having been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, before being able to apply for Naturalisation. Conversely, non-EEA nationals married to a British citizen as well as EEA nationals regardless if they are married to a British passport holder, can apply immediately provided that they do not have immigration time restrictions at the time of the application.

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK: The Applicant will have to demonstrate to have passed the Life test in the UK and have knowledge of English knowledge at the level B1 alternatively with an English certificate or an Academic qualification taught or researched in the UK or recognised by UK NARIC as being taught and researched in English at B1 level.

However, there are some exemptions. Applicants under 18 or over 65 years old are automatically exempt from meeting this requirements. Exemption from the test is prescribed also in exceptional circumstances when a disability prevents the Applicant from taking the test. The disability needs to be certified by a doctor.