british citizenship

Become a British citizen

Check your eligibility for citizenship - how to apply, children under 18, the Life in the UK Test and citizenship ceremonies

Contents

Check if you can apply

There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’.

You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’re of good character, for example, you don’t have a serious or recent criminal record, and you haven’t tried to deceive the Home Office or been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years
  • you’ll continue to live in the UK
  • you’ve met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements
  • you meet the residency requirement
  • you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application

And you must usually have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application
  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • had settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) in the UK for the last 12 months if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • had permanent residence status for the last 12 months if you’re a citizen of an EEA country - you need to provide a permanent residence document
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.

You can’t include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control (for example, as a diplomat or member of visiting armed forces) as part of the 5 years.

Read the full guidance notes and the requirements booklet before applying.

!You may be able to apply to become a British citizen by ‘registration’ in certain circumstances.
There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

Children under 18

You can apply on behalf of a child under 18 if they meet the eligibility criteria. They don’t have to pass the Life in the UK Test.

Read more about citizenship for children under 18 in Guide MN1.

Fees

Read about the different fees for citizenship applications.

If your spouse is a British citizen

If you’re married to, or the civil partner of, a British citizen, you can apply for citizenship if:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’re of sound mind, you’re able to think and make decisions for yourself
  • you’re of good character, for example you don’t have a serious or recent criminal record
  • you’ve met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements
  • you’ve been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK (this means there’s no specific date that you have to leave) or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national (and you have a permanent residence card or document that shows you have permanent residence)
  • you meet the residency requirement
  • you were in the UK exactly 3 years before the day the Home Office receives your application

Unless your spouse or civil partner works abroad either for the UK government or for an organisation closely linked to government, you must usually also have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 3 years before your application is received
  • spent no more than 270 days outside the UK in those 3 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

Read the guidance notes and the requirements booklet before applying.

How to apply

There are 3 ways to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation:

  • make an individual application
  • use the Nationality Checking Service (NCS)
  • use an agent or representative

Make an individual application

You can either:

Read the full guidance and requirements booklet for more information about eligibility and what documents you need to provide.

If you apply online, you might be able to keep your documents while your application is processed.

Get help using a computer to apply online

You can get help with:

  • accessing a computer or the internet
  • finding the right information on GOV.UK

You can’t get advice on:

  • whether you’re eligible to apply
  • what information to put in your application
  • an application you’ve already made
Telephone: 03333 445 675
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
Text: ‘VISA’ to 07537 416 944
visa@we-are-digital.co.uk

Apply using the NCS

The NCS is run by local councils and they can help you make your application. Check if your local council has an NCS.

Apply through an agent or representative

An agent or representative is a private company or individual that can help you with your application and give you advice.

Check if an agent or representative is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

You can also use some solicitors or barristers that aren’t registered with the OISC. These include:

  • General Council of the Bar
  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland

Fees

Read about the fees for citizenship applications.

Biometric information

You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This costs £19.20.

The Home Office will tell you when you need to provide your biometric information. Your biometric information is only held until you’ve attended a citizenship ceremony.

Where to send your application

Send your application form, fee and any supporting documents to:

UKVI
Department 1
The Capital
New Hall Place
Liverpool
L3 9PP

Channel Islands or the Isle of Man

Send your application to the Lieutenant Governor.

British overseas territories

Send your application to the Governor of the territory.

All other countries

Send your application to UK Visas and Immigration:

Department 1
UK Visas and Immigration
PO BOX 306
Liverpool
L2 0QN

Fees

Read about the different fees for citizenship applications.

After you’ve applied

You’ll get a letter confirming your application. It can take up to 4 weeks for you to get the confirmation.

A decision about your application will usually be made within 6 months - some applications can take longer.

You’ll be told if you need to give more information to help with your application. You should also contact UK Visas and Immigration if your situation changes (eg, you move house, get married or are arrested) during your application.

Nationality contact centre
nationalityenquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

You might be asked to attend an interview where you’ll need to speak without an interpreter.

Citizenship ceremonies

You’ll be invited to book a place at a citizenship ceremony if your application is successful and you’re over 18.

You’re usually allowed to take 2 guests. You must take your invitation when you go to your ceremony.

There’s a ceremony fee of £80.

Ceremonies in the UK

Your ceremony will usually take place close to where you live.

Citizenship ceremonies are organised by your local council and are usually done in groups. Book your citizenship ceremony with your council. You can ask for a private ceremony.

Request a ceremony outside the UK

If you’re not living in the UK, you can ask to have your ceremony at the embassy or consulate in the country you’re living in.

If you’re only abroad for a few months, you might be asked to postpone the ceremony until you return to the UK.

If you’re planning to be away for longer, you might have to prove you’re planning to live in the UK permanently.

During the ceremony

You’ll have to make an oath of allegiance (or you can make an affirmation if you prefer not to swear by God) and a pledge. This means you’ll promise to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK.

At the end of the ceremony you’ll be presented with your certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack.

Some local councils sell photographs or videos of the event.

When you don’t need to attend a ceremony

You’ll need to make an oath or affirmation of allegiance but you won’t need to attend a citizenship ceremony if you’re registering to become a:

After your citizenship ceremony

Once you’ve got your certificate of British citizenship, send your biometric residence permit back to the Home Office.

You must send your permit back within 5 working days of either:

  • going to your citizenship ceremony
  • getting your certificate of British citizenship

Cut your biometric residence permit (BRP) into 4 pieces and put it in a windowless envelope. Include a note saying you’re returning your permit because you’ve become a citizen. The note needs to include your name, date of birth and the document number (located on the front of the card).

Naturalisation BRP Returns
PO Box 195
Bristol
BS20 1BT
You’ll be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t return your permit within 5 working days.

Travelling to and from the UK

You must have either a British passport or a right of abode certificate to enter the UK.

You can’t enter the UK using your BRP or certificate of British citizenship.

Prepare for the British Citizenship - Life in the UK Test

Remember, if you wanna do british citizenship firt must pass Life in the UK exam.

You can practise test on our web site totally for free or download intuitive scripts to learn with ready answers and explanations - only for £11.99

1.This is the only official government service for booking the Life in the UK Test. You need to take the test as part of your application for British citizenship or settlement in the UK. You must book your Life in the UK Test online at least 3 days in advance. It costs £50.

There are around 60 test centres in the UK - choose one of the 5 closest to where you live.

If the centre isn’t close to where you live, you won’t be allowed to sit the test and you won’t get a refund. You must bring proof of your address to the test.

2. What happens at the test, what you have bring and what happend if you fail test?

You’ll be tested on information in the official Life in the UK Test - you should study this Life in the United Kingdom - download questions and explanation pdf format to prepare for the official test.

You’ll have 45 minutes to answer 24 questions about British traditions and customs.

3. If you fail the test You must wait 7 days before taking the test again, but you can take the test as many times as you need to. You need to book and pay again each time.

Different ways to apply for British citizenship

There are different ways to apply for British citizenship based on your circumstances.

Apply for citizenship if you're from the EEA

You should have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application.

Marriages and civil partnerships in the UK

Civil partnerships and marriages in the UK

UK residence for EU citizens

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021. You and your family can apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.

Countries in the EU and EEA

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28 countries. It operates an internal (or single) market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.

Apply for citizenship if your spouse is a British citizen

How to apply for British citizenship if you're married to, or in a civil partnership with, a British citizen - who's eligible, fees and where to send your application

Prepare for the British Citizenship - Life in the UK Test

Remember, if you wanna do british citizenship firt must pass Life in the UK exam.

Life in the UK Test

Use this official service for booking a Life in the UK Test as part of your application for citizenship or settlement

Become a British citizen

Check your eligibility for citizenship - how to apply, children under 18, the Life in the UK Test and citizenship ceremonies.

UK citizenship fees

Fees with effect from 6 april 2018 for citizenship application and the right of abode

UK Passport fees

How much it costs to renew or get a new adult or child passport and ways you can pay

British passport eligibility

You can apply for a British passport if you have British nationality. But there are some circumstances where your application can be refused or your existing passport can be retained.

Types of British nationality

There are 6 different types of British nationality. These are:...

Dual citizenship UK

Dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality) is allowed in the UK. Read the rules and how to apply.

Register as a British citizen

How to register as a British citizen - who's eligible, fees and where to send your application

Prove your knowledge of English for citizenship and settling

How you can show you know English when you apply for citizenship and to settle in the UK, and when you don't have to

Prove you have right of abode in the UK

Having right of abode means you're allowed to live or work in the UK without any immigration restrictions - apply for a certificate of entitlement to prove you have it

Apply to become a British citizen by naturalisation

Use form AN to apply for citizenship by naturalisation if you are living in the UK.

Apply online for a UK passport

You can apply for, update, renew or replace a passport online

Brexit

Information for EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals living, working, visiting and studying in the EU.

Settle status in the UK

Find out if you can apply to settle in the UK

Visa 4UK

Apply online for a UK visa to visit friends, work in the UK, study or join a family member or partner already in the UK.

visa4UK
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british citizenship

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Prepare for the British Citizenship - Life in the UK Test

Remember, if you wanna do british citizenship firt must pass Life in the UK exam.