British Citizenship: A GuideWhat is a British citizen? If you’re a British citizen, you are able to live and work in the UK on a permanent basis, free of any immigration restrictions. We’ve penned this handy guide to help you to understand the requirements for British citizenship, as well as information about how to apply for British citizenship and succeed.
British Citizenship by DescentTo be entitled to register for British citizenship, you must be eligible. This is the most simple way of obtaining British citizenship, however, there are strict criteria that need to be met for your registration to be deemed valid. It’s worth noting that the rules for registration are different if you have renounced your British citizenship in the past. You may be eligible to register as a British citizen if:
- You were born to a British mother before 1st January 1983.
- You were born to a British father (this still stands even if your father wasn’t married to your mother).
- You were born in the UK on or after the 1st January 1983.
- You have registered as a citizen in Gibraltar, either through naturalisation or as a minor, after the 21st May 2002.
- You have connections to Hong Kong
- You are a British National overseas, a British Overseas citizen, a British subject or a British protected person.
- You have no other nationality. This is also known as ‘stateless’.
Applying for NaturalisationThe most common way to make an application for British citizenship is through naturalisation. Like registration, naturalisation comes with its own set of criteria which must be met before your application will be considered. You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:
- You’re aged 18 or over.
- You don’t have a recent or serious criminal record, and are of good character.
- You meet the residency requirement.
- You’ve met the knowledge of English requirements.
- You’ve lived in the UK for at least 5 years prior to your naturalisation application.
- You’ve spent no more than 450 days outside of the UK in those 5 years.
- You’ve not broken any immigration laws whilst living in the UK.
British Citizenship by MarriageIf you’re married to a British citizen, you will be able to apply for British citizenship by marriage. It’s a common myth that marrying a British citizen will enable you to automatically obtain citizenship yourself. For your application to be successful, you will have to prove many of the same points as you would if you were applying through naturalisation. You must usually also have lived in the UK for at least three years prior to your application. If you’re going to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation, or through marriage, we strongly advise that you seek professional legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in immigration law. Here at DPP Law, we have years of experience in providing immigration advisory services, and would be delighted to provide the legal advice you’ll need to successfully become a British citizen. Contact us for more information, and a member of our dedicated immigration solicitors team will guide you through the process.