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How To Obtain British Citizenship Through Naturalisation

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The rules on naturalisation vary depending on whether or not you are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen.

Applying for naturalisation as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen

To apply for naturalisation as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen, you must:

1. be aged 18 or over when you apply;

2. be of 'sound mind';

3. show 'good character';

4. have lived in the UK for a minimum of three years continuously before you apply;

5. have been physically present in the UK on the date five years before your application;

6. during this three-year period, not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in total, and not more than 90 days in the year immediately before your application;

7. be settled in the UK at the time of the application (NB. you are 'settled' if you are (i) ordinarily resident in the UK, and (ii) your stay here is not subject to any time limit);

8. demonstrate you can communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to an acceptable degree (NB. this requirement may be waived by the Home Office on age or health grounds); and

9. have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK and pass a formal citizenship test (NB. as above, this requirement may be waived on age or health grounds).

Applying for naturalisation if you are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen

You must:

1. be aged 18 or over when you apply;

2. be of 'sound mind';

3. show 'good character';

4. have lived in the UK for a minimum of five years continuously before you apply;

5. have been physically present in the UK on the date five years before your application;

6. during this five-year period, not have been absent from the UK for more than 450 days in total, and not more than 90 days in the year immediately before your application;

7. have been settled in the UK (see above for definition of 'settled') for at least one year before the application;

8. demonstrate you can communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to an acceptable degree (NB. as above, this requirement may be waived);

9. have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK and pass a formal citizenship test (NB. as above, this requirement may be waived); and

10. show an intention to continue living in the UK (unless in Crown service, working with an international organisation of which the UK is a member or established in the UK).

My spouse and I are applying for naturalisation. How do we naturalise our minor children?

Simple answer: you don't. Minor children (under 18) cannot be naturalised as British citizens. Instead, you will need to 'register' them.

Getting help

To get help with naturalisation, you may want to speak with a solicitor who specialises in immigration law. You can find a quality-assured solicitor in your area with the appropriate skills and experience for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are even ready to hire a solicitor.

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