british citizenship

Apply for citizenship if your spouse is a British citizen

Contents

Eligibility and fees

You can apply for British citizenship by ‘naturalisation’ if you:

  • are 18 or over
  • are married to, or in a civil partnership with, someone who is a British citizen
  • have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the date of your application

You must also:

You’re from the European Economic Area (EEA)

You must have one of the following:

  • a permanent residence card to prove you have permanent residence status
  • indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • indefinite leave to enter the UK

You may have lost your indefinite leave to remain or enter if you’ve been away from the UK for more than 2 years at any time since you got it.

You’re from outside the EEA

You must have either:

  • indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • indefinite leave to enter the UK
’Indefinite leave to enter’ is permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad - for example, on a Returning Resident visa.

Residency requirements

You should not have:

  • spent more than 270 days outside the UK during the 3 years before your application
  • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • broken any UK immigration laws (for example working illegally in the UK)

You may be exempt from the residency requirements if your partner works abroad either for the UK government or an organisation closely linked to government.

This is one way to apply for British citizenship. Check if you’re eligible another way - including through the Windrush scheme.

How much it costs

It costs £1,330 to apply.

If you send the wrong fee your application will not be processed and you’ll have to apply again.

After you’ve applied you must also pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken. You’ll be sent a letter explaining what to do.

Children under 18

Your child is usually automatically a British citizen if they were born in the UK and when they were born either:

  • their other parent was a British citizen
  • you had indefinite leave to remain in the UK or permanent residence status

Otherwise, check if your children are eligible to apply for citizenship in another way.

If your partner has died

You cannot apply for citizenship as the partner of a British citizen if your partner has died. Check if you’re eligible another way - for example if you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK or permanent residence status.

How to apply

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

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

Make an application yourself

There are 2 ways you can apply if you do not want to apply through the NCS, an agent or representative.

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

Apply online

You can apply online.

You might be able to keep your documents while your application is processed.

Apply by post

Fill in a form and the payment slip. You need to send them to the correct address for the country you’re in.

If you do not send the correct documents your application could be delayed or refused without a refund.

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 cannot 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 Nationality Checking Service

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 are not 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

Where to send your application

If you applied using the paper form, where you send your application depends on the country you’re currently in.

England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

Send your application to UK Visas and Immigration (part of the Home Office).

Department 1
UK Visas and Immigration
The Capital Building
New Hall Place
Liverpool
L3 9PP

Channel Islands or Isle of Man

Send your application to the Lieutenant Governor.

British overseas territories

Send your application to the Governor of the territory.

Anywhere else (including Commonwealth countries)

Send your application to UK Visas and Immigration (part of the Home Office).

Department 1
UK Visas and Immigration
The Capital Building
New Hall Place
Liverpool
L3 9PP

Returning your documents

Your documents will normally be sent back using 2nd class post.

If you want your documents sent back to you by recorded or special delivery, include a pre-paid self-addressed envelope. It needs to be big and strong enough to carry all your documents.

Contact UK Visas and Immigration (part of the Home Office)

Contact UK Visas and Immigration if you’re not sure if you’re eligible or do not know how to apply.

UKVI nationality contact centre Nationalityenquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

After you’ve applied

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

When you’ll get a decision

You’ll usually get a decision within 6 months - some applications can take longer.

You’ll get a letter if you need to give more information to help with your application.

If your circumstances change

You should contact UK Visas and Immigration (part of the Home Office) if your situation changes during your application (for example, you move house, get married or are arrested).

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.

Attending a citizenship ceremony

You’ll need to attend a citizenship ceremony if your application is successful.

After you get your certificate

You must send your biometric residence permit (BRP) back to the Home Office within 5 working days of getting your certificate of British citizenship.

Cut your 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. Include your name, date of birth and the document number (found on the front of the card) in the note.

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

Travelling to and from the UK

Once you have a British passport you must use this to enter the UK.

If you do not want a British passport you can apply for a certificate of entitlement instead.

You cannot enter the UK using your BRP or certificate of British citizenship.

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.

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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.