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Can I apply for citizenship after ILR?

If you hold Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom, you may become eligible to apply for British citizenship soon after.

For more information on how IAS can help you, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375 for immediate assistance.


British citizenship after Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain is a form of settled status that allows an overseas individual to live in the UK free of immigration restrictions.

One of the main selling points to ILR status is that it opens the door to applying for British citizenship. You must hold ILR status to become eligible for British citizenship by naturalisation.

Even though Indefinite Leave to Remain allows an immigrant much more freedom than a UK visa, British citizenship opens the opportunity to many more benefits that are not accessible to ILR holders.

For more information on how IAS can help you with your Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship queries, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375 for immediate assistance.

Can I apply for British citizenship straight after I am granted Indefinite Leave to Remain?

In some circumstances, you are able to apply for British citizenship as soon as you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, however, this only applies to those who are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen. You can submit your application form to become a British citizen by naturalisation straight away.

For those who do not fit into this category, you will have to have held Indefinite Leave to Remain for a minimum one-year period before you can make the transition to British citizenship by naturalisation. Thus, all in all, you must have been in the United Kingdom for a period of 6 years continuously to become a British citizen.

A child aged under 18 can apply for British citizenship straight away if their parent or guardian holds Indefinite Leave to Remain.

What is the difference between ILR and British citizenship?

Indefinite Leave to Remain can be acquired after spending five to ten years continuously in the UK on a visa. ILR status allows a person to remain in the UK to live, work and study for an unlimited period of time completely free of immigration control and immigration rules.

There are multiple benefits available to a British citizens that are not accessible to a person with ILR. First and foremost, a British citizen is not at risk of losing their immigration status in the UK- essentially, they can remain here for life. Secondly, British citizenship allows a British citizen to apply for a British passport and travel in and out of the UK as they see fit.

There are several other benefits to becoming a British citizen, these include:

  • The right to vote
  • Opening the door to British citizenship for your family members, such as children and your partner if they are not already a British citizen
  • Free NHS medical care for life
  • No restrictions on your right to work in the UK

Do you need help applying for a Skilled Worker Visa? Our lawyers can assist you.

British citizenship requirements after ILR

To become a British citizen after Indefinite Leave to Remain, you must meet the residency requirements. These requirements are as follows:

  • During your residency so far, you must now have spent more than 450 days outside of the United Kingdom
  • Before applying for British citizenship, you must not have spent more than 90 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period
  • No breaches of immigration laws during your stay in the UK
  • Considered a ‘good character’ with references included in your supporting documents
  • A demonstrable good standard of the English language
  • Sincere intentions of creating a life and home within the UK

British citizenship requirements as a spouse or civil partner

You can apply for British citizenship, or naturalisation immediately after you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. The requirements to do so differ slightly to the residency route. You must:

  • Be 18 years old or over
  • Been in the UK for a minimum of three year period, prior to applying
  • Not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days during the three-year period
  • Not have breached any immigration laws
  • Meet the ‘good character’ requirements
  • Have a good standard of the English Language

What are the ‘good character’ requirements for British Citizenship?

You must be deemed a ‘good character’ in order to fulfil the requirements to become a British citizen. There is no defined term for a ‘good character’ but the Home Office has clear standards as to what helps you to qualify as good.

As a prospective resident of the UK, you must not have any recent criminal offence records. This is something treated seriously by the Home Office. A serious criminal offence will most likely result in your application being rejected. Criminal convictions checks are in place to ensure you meet the standards for a ‘good character’.

Each application form received by the Home Office caseworker is dealt with carefully to ensure that the person applying to become a British citizen is determined to be a ‘good moral citizen’, without intentions of deception.

How to apply for British citizenship

The most straightforward way to apply for British citizenship is to apply online. You will be asked to submit the application form along with the application fee and any supporting documents. The documents you may need to submit are:

  • Your current passport and any Biometric Residence Permit
  • Evidence of your marriage (if you are applying as a spouse or civil partner)
  • Evidence of your lawful residence in the UK
  • Proof of your Life in the UK test and knowledge of the English language

These documents should be translated into English before being submitted with your British citizenship application if they aren’t already.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to have your biometric information taken- this includes fingerprints and photographs.

Typically, a decision will be made on your behalf within 6 months. You can continue to live in the UK under your current settled status whilst a decision is being made on your British citizenship.

The British citizenship ceremony

If you are approved to become a British citizen, you will be invited to attend a British Citizenship ceremony at the Home Office. You can contact the correct authority to book a ceremony. You must attend a ceremony within 90 days otherwise you may need to re-apply to become a British citizen.

At the citizenship ceremony, you must swear allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and declare an oath of loyalty to the United Kingdom. Only after will you be successfully granted British citizenship and be presented with your certificate of naturalisation and become an official British citizen.

It is essential that after this point you return your current Biometric Residence Permit back to the Home Office within five days to avoid being subjected to a £1,000 penalty charge.

Applying for a British passport

After you become a British citizen, you can apply for a British passport. You can make the UK passport application either online or by post. The application process is straightforward.

As this will be your first British passport, it is likely you will have to attend a passport interview at a UK passport office to verify your identity.

It can take up to six weeks for a UK passport application to be processed fully. The costs are as follows:

  • First UK passport (adult)- £72
  • Fast track service (one week) £97
  • Renewal and replacement service- £72
  • Same-day renewal- £114

Why was my application refused?

If you are already of settled status and your application to become a British citizen has been refused, there could me multiple reasons the Home Office believed there was grounds for refusal.

One of the most common grounds for refusal is that the Home Office believes that you did not submit enough supporting evidence with your application form, or, perhaps you failed to respond to any requests for further documentation.

If this wasn’t the issue, your application could have been refused due to immigration breaches or excess absence periods during your period of settled status.

Should you require further guidance on why your application may have been refused, or, if you want advice on a first-time application, you can get in touch with one of our trained immigration lawyers to give your application the best possible chance of success.

How can IAS help?

British citizenship by naturalisation can be an incredibly complex process so going to an immigration lawyer for advice could be extremely beneficial.

Here at Immigration advice service our qualified immigration experts are ready and waiting to help you submit your application successfully. We can deal with the Home Office on your behalf to take away the stress of your citizenship application. UK citizenship is a milestone for many and our lawyers understand this fully. Becoming a British citizen can open many new doors to an overseas migrant.

For more information on how we can help, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375 for further information and guidance.

We can help you if you need help with your Skilled Worker Visa application.

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