What are the Benefits of Having a British Passport?
British citizens enjoy excellent worldwide travel options, as the British passport is one of the most revered passports in the world. Having a UK passport offers on-arrival visa travel opportunities in over 180 countries worldwide, and spending longer periods of time abroad is easy to do.
Having British citizenship gives you the right to vote, to stand for public office, gives you free access to the coveted National Health Service, and allows you unrestricted working rights across the UK, as well as exciting work opportunities in overseas territories.
- What are the Benefits of Having a British Passport?
- Requirements for Eligibility for a British Passport After Indefinite Leave to Remain
- What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Applying for British Citizenship?
- What Are the Restrictions For Gaining a British Passport?
- How to Apply for a British Passport after British Citizenship?
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
When can I apply for Citizenship and a British Passport?
After gaining indefinite leave to remain, you must wait at least 12 months before you can apply to become a British citizen. Only after gaining citizenship can you apply for a UK passport.
The simplest way to outline the process is as follows:
- Gain indefinite leave to remain
- Wait 12 months
- Ensure you have all the right documents, have taken the right tests and proof of residency to apply for citizenship
- Apply for and be successfully granted British citizenship
- Attend your citizenship ceremony
- Apply for a UK passport.
As one of the most powerful passports in the world, it really is a good idea to obtain one as soon as you can, as it may make it easier to travel compared to the passport of your country of origin.
British Citizenship as Spouse of a UK Citizen
Spouses of British nationals are allowed to apply for citizenship straight after they have received ILR status. They also only have to have been living in the UK for 3 years before gaining citizenship.
- Have been in the UK three years before the date you apply, to the exact date or longer
- Must not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days during the three-year residency
- Prove you have not left the country for more than 270 days during the 3 years you lived in the UK.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Applying for British Citizenship?
Assuming you have waited 12 months since obtaining indefinite leave to remain status, the citizenship application requires the following from you:
- That you are 18 or above
- Can demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge in English by submitting a qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level, or a degree that was taught or researched in English. You can also gain citizenship through proving your knowledge in Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
- Can prove you have not left the country for more than 90 days during the 12 month period between your application and gaining ILR status
- Can prove you have not left the country for more than 450 days in the 5 year period before applying for ILR
- Have passed the Life in the UK test
- Can prove you are of good character – i.e. you have a clean criminal record, a track record of complying with British laws and UK immigration law, and have financial stability.
Residency requirements include that:
- You prove that you have lived in the UK in either England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Island, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man for five years
- You plan to live in the UK once your citizenship application is granted
- You intend to continue living in the UK once you become a UK citizen.
Please note that if you are suspected of committing a serious crime or breaching UK law in any form, you may not be eligible for citizenship or a passport.
What Are the Restrictions For Gaining a British Passport?
If you hold ILR and have applied for citizenship, you cannot apply for a passport until you have had your citizenship ceremony. Citizenship ceremonies only apply to those above 18 years of age.
Usually getting a UK passport is a simple procedure, but there could be complications if you are having issues with UK or international law.
Your application may be rejected or restricted in the following circumstances:
- You have previously been returned to the UK at the government’s expense, and have not repaid the cost
- You are on bail
- You have a travel restriction order put upon you by the European Union or United Nations
- Since gaining citizenship, you have committed or are suspected of committing a serious crime, and have an arrest warrant
- You have a UK court order that restricts your ability to travel.
All British passports are owned by the UK government, and the government reserves the right to cancel or withdraw passports and citizenship at any time.
Should I Apply Online or by Post?
You can apply online or by post. If you apply online, you will save money as it is cheaper than applying by post. The application process also takes longer by post than it does to apply online, so keep this in mind if you are hoping to obtain a passport quickly.
If you wish to apply offline, passport application forms are available in all UK Post Offices. You can also use their Check and Send service.
The documentation you will need to apply for a passport are:
- A passport photo (you will need a digital version to apply online)
- A fully completed application form (please note there are different forms for those under 16 years of age)
- A copy of your citizenship certificate
- Your passport from your country of origin
- A copy of your birth certificate (if it is in a different language, you must have a version that has been translated into English)
- If applicable, court orders indicating parental rights if you are applying for a child
- Payment (£82.50 for people above 16, £53.50 for under 16s). Please note it costs more to apply by post
- If required, contact details of someone who can prove your identity.
How Can IAS Help?
Obtaining UK citizenship and gaining the coveted British passport is a momentous occasion for many applicants, and we understand how important it is to have a stress-free procedure.
We understand the time and expense involved in the application process and how confusing it can be to be sure that you’ve taken the right tests and submitted the correct documents. If you’ve had any issues with the law, it can be especially stressful to apply for citizenship, as even if you know that you are eligible, you may be worried that any issues you have may impact your ability to be granted citizenship or a passport.
That’s why IAS are here. We have a team of expert immigration lawyers who can hold your hand through the entire process and, if necessary, can support you with representation if you are having issues with British or international laws. We can check all documents that you are providing and make sure that they will be accepted, and can help you understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to becoming a UK citizen.
Contact us today online or call us on 0333 305 9375. We are here to guide and support you.
Last modified on June 22nd, 2023 at 1:14 pm
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The current processing fee online is £82.50 for an adult, and £53.50 for a child. Please note this could be subject to change, and additional fees may apply, such as getting your birth certificate translated into English.
|Category||Apply online||Apply on paper|
standard 34 page passport
50 pages frequent traveller passport
|Children (under 16)|
standard 34 page passport
|Children (under 16)|
50 page frequent traveller passport
|Passport for people born before or on 2 Sept 1929||Free||Free|
Generally, you should allow up to 10 weeks for your passport to be issued and delivered to you. The speed at which the application is processed depends on peak application and renewal periods, or if there are any issues with your application.
There is also a fast track service available if you need a passport quickly.
Indefinite leave to remain gives you lots of great benefits, such as being able to move your family across to the UK, offer unrestricted work and studying opportunities, and gives you free access to the NHS.
Citizenship offers you all of the above, plus a permanent residence in the UK no matter how long you may spend outside of the UK. With ILR, you will lose your status if you spend more than two years out of the country. As a citizen, you also get to vote and stand for public office in the UK, and a passport offers you excellent and easy worldwide travel with minimal visa issues.
You can apply for a British passport once you have gained citizenship and attended a citizenship ceremony. You can apply any time after this.
You can only apply for citizenship after 12 months of gaining ILR status, unless you are married to a British citizen, in which case you can apply as soon as you obtain ILR.