Naturalisation as a British citizen
naturalisation sounds as if it is a process to do with the environment but it is in actual fact the name for applying to become a British citizen. Once you are a British citizen you can live and work in the UK free from Immigration control as well as apply for a British passport so you can travel freely and also vote in local and national elections.
British nationality solicitors
Applying for British Citizenship is an important step so you need expert help from British nationality solicitors to make sure your application stands the best chance of success. Call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
Do I need to get legal advice on my British naturalisation application?
Whilst you don’t have to take legal advice from British citizenship solicitors on your British naturalisation application it is thought best to get legal advice from specialist British Citizenship solicitors because if the British nationality application is refused:
You won't receive a refund of your Home Office application fee
There is no right of appeal against the refusal of British Citizenship but there are options such as the re-submission of an application for British Citizenship
The delay in securing British Citizenship may affect your travel or other plans.
Do I need to apply for British Citizenship?
If you were ‘born British’ or, in other words you are British by descent, then you won't need to apply for British Citizenship because you are automatically a British citizen.
If you are at all unsure of your nationality status you should take legal advice because, in some situations, you may assume that you have British Citizenship, but you don’t. You may think that sort of thing just doesn’t happen but remember that the Windrush generation thought that they were British citizens only to find that they weren’t and many, when they came to the attention of the Immigration authorities, were subject to the Immigration hostile environment policy.
If you know your nationality and you have:
You may want to look into the option of applying for British Citizenship and consider the advantages of British nationality in comparison to remaining in the UK under Settled Status, permanent residence or Indefinite Leave to Remain.
British Citizenship and dual nationality
If you are put off from applying for British Citizenship because you do not want to lose your nationality of origin then that’s understandable but a British Citizenship solicitor will be able to advise you on whether you will be able to apply for dual nationality.
If dual nationality is an option for you then it means that you gain the status of a British citizen and secure British nationality but you don’t lose your nationality of origin. Some see dual nationality as ‘the best of both worlds’ but Immigration solicitors can talk you through your options and explain the pros and cons of dual nationality in comparison to applying for British Citizenship.
Not everyone can apply for dual nationality. Whether you can do so or not will depend on your country of origin as, unlike the UK, some countries don’t allow dual nationality. Even if your country of origin does do so then you may still conclude that dual nationality isn’t the best option for you in your particular circumstances.
Can I make a British naturalisation application?
Immigration solicitors say that the first thing to check is to see if you are eligible to apply for British Citizenship. The Immigration Rules aren’t straight forward as they depend on your circumstances. Eligibility for British Citizenship varies depending on your Immigration status.
You should be able to make a British naturalisation application if you:
Are at least eighteen years old
Have had Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status for twelve months or more (if you have permanent residence as an EEA citizen or if you are married to a British citizen you can apply for British Citizenship once you have Settled Status and you don’t need to wait twelve months)
Do not have a significant criminal record.
Have not breached Immigration Rules or visa conditions
Have been resident in the UK for the qualifying residence period and your periods of absence from the UK are within Home Office criteria. The residence requirement is five or three continuous years in the UK (depending on your visa type) prior to your British Citizenship application date. During this qualifying residence period your total number of absences from the UK cannot exceed 270 days and the total number of absences from the UK during the twelve months prior to British Citizenship application cannot exceed 90 days
Either meet or are exempt from the English language test and Life in the UK test
Meet the good character test.
Steps to apply for British nationality
After you have checked with British nationality solicitors that you are eligible to apply for British citizenshipthen the next stage is to understand the British naturalisation application process. To secure British Citizenship you will need to:
If necessary, pass the English language test and Life in the UK test
Complete the British naturalisation application form
Gather together your evidence to support your British Citizenship application
Attend an appointment for biometric information to be obtained
If the Home Office says your application for British Citizenship is approved you then need to attend a British Citizenship ceremony. At that ceremony you will become a British citizen and receive your certificate of naturalisation
If you want a British passport (for identity or travel purposes) you can then apply for a passport.
How do I prove I am entitled to British Citizenship?
When you submit your British naturalisation application to the Home Office you will need to provide supporting paperwork. The documents you will need to provide will depend on the basis of your application, for example if you are applying after entering the UK on a spouse visa or if you have permanent residence as an EEA citizen or you have Indefinite Leave to Remain status.
British nationality solicitors say it is essential to get the application form and supporting documents right because there is no right of appeal. Given the strict residence requirements the paperwork may need to include exact information about the length of your stay in the UK as well as your absences.
What if my British Citizenship application is refused?
It is possible to resubmit a British Citizenship application but you will lose your first Home Office fee and you risk having your application rejected for the second time unless you address the reasons why the Home Office refused your first British naturalisation application. For example if your application for British Citizenship is refused on good character grounds you may need to look at the timing of any second application.
British nationality solicitors
If you are considering applying to naturalise as a British citizen it is best to take expert Immigration law advice from British Citizenship solicitors on your Immigration and citizenship options before making the decision to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.
OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law and British nationality. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the leading law directories, Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors also have Law Society accredited solicitor status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.