Apply for British Citizenship

If you already have the right to permanent residence in the UK, or have certain close family or personal ties to the UK, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship. Usually, you will be able to apply for British citizenship ‘by naturalisation’ if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and have lived in the UK with it for at least 12 months
  • You have been granted EU settled status, and have lived in the UK with it for at least 12 months

If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen and have lived in the UK for the last three years, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship without waiting for 12 months after being granted ILR or settled status.

The UK does allow dual citizenship, meaning that the British government will not make you renounce or give up citizenship of another country as a prerequisite for becoming a British citizen. However, you should ensure that you are aware of the rules on dual or multiple citizenship of any countries you are already a citizen of, as some countries (e.g. India, The Netherlands, Japan, United Arab Emirates) will not allow you to retain citizenship if you seek or obtain citizenship of the UK.

If you are in any doubt about whether you are eligible for dual citizenship, our qualified immigration solicitors are here to help.

British Citizenship without ILR/settled status

If you do not have ILR or settled status, you may still be eligible to apply for British citizenship if:

  • one of your parents is British
  • you already have an alternative type of British nationality, such as ‘British national (overseas)’
  • one of your parents holds British overseas territories citizenship
  • you are of Chagossian descendant
  • you previously renounced your British citizenship
  • you are currently stateless
  • you qualify to apply to the UK’s Windrush Scheme

British citizenship application process

The exact process and requirements when applying for British citizenship will vary depending on the basis for your application. Applications for British naturalisation require that:

  • You can prove that you were physically in the UK precisely three years before your application is received by the Home Office
  • You have lived in the UK for at least three years before your application
  • You have not been outside the UK for a period exceeding 90 days in the previous year, or 270 days in the previous three years
  • You take and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test
  • You prove your ability in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic

For citizenship applications not based on acquired residency, including those ‘by registration’, you should expect to be asked to provide reliable documentary evidence of the personal or family connections which are the basis for your application.

The time taken to reach a decision on an application will vary depending on the complexity of each individual case and the current workload and backlog of UK Visas and Immigration. Straightforward applications can sometimes receive a decision in just a few weeks, whereas others can take six months or longer.

British citizenship costs

Fees for British citizenship applications vary depending on the basis for the application and the age of the applicant. For applications for citizenship by naturalisation, you should expect to pay around £1500 to submit your application plus the costs of passing the Life in the UK and (if required) language tests.

Applications for children or on the basis of personal or family ties to the UK are cheaper but can still cost up to between £1200 and £1350.

Application fees are non-refundable if your application is rejected and must be paid again if you wish to submit a new application.

Demetris Demetriou

Demetris is a dual-qualified lawyer in the UK (Solicitor) and Cyprus (Advocate) with 10+ years of experience in UK immigration. He completed his legal studies at University College London and City University London. Over the course of his career, he held key roles as Head of Immigration at Legal 500 firms and within the Big4, overseeing teams of 15+ fee earners handling 2000+ applications annually.

Demetris went on to co-establish his firm in London and continues to offer innovative solutions and strategic immigration planning to multinationals, SMEs, and private clients.

He personally represented 1500+ clients in 30+ visa routes including investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, sole representatives, students, family visas, global talent, UK ancestry, administrative reviews and appeals. Demetris has managed corporate relocations, conducted immigration law training and implemented post-Brexit immigration policies for corporate clients.

Demetris has been featured in various events and publications focusing on UK immigration, notably at the Cambridge Network, the Westminster Policy Forum and most recently at DGEMS, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.

Tatiani Preifelt

Tatiani has a wealth of expertise in global mobility and corporate immigration. Her ample skills were acquired within leading immigration practices including three out of the Big4 firms in both the UK and Sweden. Tatiani went on to co-establish her firm in London where she continues to advise clients predominantly in corporate, business and skilled work migration.

Having personally relocated to 10 different countries, Tatiani understands the importance of an expedient and successful immigration process and takes pride in delivering a seamless experience to her clients as well.

Over the course of her career, she has assisted over 500 individuals and businesses to obtain the appropriate visa permits in the UK.

Her awarded academic work at The University of Oxford, The London School of Economics, and at The Geneva University is in the fields of Political Science, International Human Rights Law, and Global Migration Governance.

She regularly provides immigration training and has recently participated as a speaker and panellist at DGEMS 2023, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.