British citizenship: naturalisation and registration

If you are an adult who has indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or a right of permanent residence (PR) in the UK, you may be able to naturalise as British if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are 18 or over and of full capacity
  • You have spent at least 5 years continuously in the UK
  • You are not subject to immigration control (you have ILR or PR)
  • You meet the residence requirements (you were present in the UK 5 years before your application; you have not spent more than 450 days outside the UK in the last 5 years, and not more than 90 days in the last 12 months)
  • You have passed the Life in the UK Test and you meet the English language requirement
  • You are of good character

Shorter residence and absence requirements apply if you are married to a British citizen, but you must still have ILR or PR.

Issues that might affect the timing of your application include:

  • Previous convictions or cautions, which you must declare
  • Breaches of immigration law in the 10 years prior to your application
  • Excess absences from the UK

Children may be eligible to register as British in a number of circumstances. These include:

  • Where both parents are naturalising as British (or one parent is naturalising and the other has ILR)
  • Where the child was born in the UK and a parent later acquires ILR or PR
  • Where the child was born in the UK and has lived here for the first 10 years of their life

Nationality and citizenship law is complex, and different laws may apply to people born at different times over the past 100 years. The UK’s imperial history may still be relevant to whether you are British or can register as British.

I can advise you about your eligibility for citizenship, and on preparation for citizenship and passport applications. If you would like advice about British nationality or your eligibility for naturalisation or registration, please contact me.