The most common route for applying for British Citizenship is naturalisation. To be naturalised as a British citizen, you’ll need to apply to the Home Office using Form AN.
The AN Form covers most adults who are citizens of another country applying to become a British citizen.
How do I apply?
Previously, the only way to apply for British Citizenship was by sending off the application form with all your original documents through the post. Now, using the Nationality Document Return Service, you can submit a British Citizenship application form online and keep hold of your documents while the application is processed.
This service can only be used in-country but means you can apply for a British passport at the same time as your citizenship application, greatly simplifying the steps you need to take to get your official citizenship documents.
If you meet the requirements for British Citizenship but are residing out of the country at the time of your application, you will need to print off the application forms and submit them by post, which could mean a much longer wait time for a decision.
What is the naturalisation application process?
Before you can apply for British Citizenship, you will need to meet all the requirements under the Immigration Rules.
- Being resident in the UK for a continuous period of at least five years (three if you’re the spouse of a British citizen).
- Having no breaches of over 90 days in a 12-month period or 450 days in the overall five-year period.
- Holding Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA PR for at least a year.
- Passing the Life in the UK test.
- Meeting the ‘good character’ requirement.
- Being able to speak English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to the required standard.
Once you have met these requirements, you will need to gather your evidence before applying online or via post.
When using the Nationality Document Return Service, you will need to submit your application online, then take your documents to your nearest local authority which runs the service. You will need to do this within 10 days of your application.
Here you will photocopy your original documents to be sent to the Home Office for review. This service is really useful as it means you are not without your original documents during the application process.
If you are applying through the post, you will need to send all of your documentation away with the AN Form, meaning you will not have access to your passport until a decision is made.
What information do I need to include?
The subsections of the application include:
- Contact details
- Knowledge of language/life in the UK
- Parents’ details
- Partner’s details
- Details of employment – since date of entry
- Details of all absences from the UK in the last 5 years
- Permanent Residence details (for EEA or Swiss nationals)
Good character requirement
- Details of any criminal convictions/cautions
Crown service (for those in or with partners in Crown service)
Referees and identity
- Further information
- Supporting documents
Each section must be completed as accurately as possible to ensure the best chances of success.
What documents will I need to include?
The application form for British Citizenship can be extremely complex and can reach up to 100 pages in length. The fee is also non-refundable, so when making your application, you will need to make sure that everything is completed perfectly and to the highest possible standard.
Some documentation you will need to provide will include:
- Life in the UK and IELTS test certificates;
- Evidence you hold Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA PR;
- Original passport;
- Evidence of previous visas/residency documents;
- All travel documents from the five-year period to show continuous residence.
It is highly advised that you seek the help of an experienced immigration solicitor for this application. The Home Office scrutinise British Citizenship applications thoroughly and the most common refusal reasons include insufficient documentation, incorrectly filled out forms and failure to respond to further queries in time.
What are the citizenship naturalisation fees?
The current fee for naturalisation is £1,330. As previously mentioned, this is non-refundable, so making your application right first time will save you a great deal of money, time and effort.
Using a licenced immigration adviser to complete your naturalisation application form will give you the greatest chance of receiving citizenship first-time.
What is the typical time frame for this application?
Once you have passed the tests and gathered all your evidence, you can submit your application. You should receive confirmation that the Home Office has received this application within four weeks.
Following this, the British Citizenship application processing time is usually up to six months.
What happens after the decision?
Once a decision has been made and you have been granted British Citizenship through naturalisation, you will be invited to a naturalisation ceremony.
There will be an additional fee for this ceremony and you must attend to complete your application. You and the other new citizens will accept your new citizenship and will officially be naturalised.
If you did not use the Nationality Document Return Service, you will be able to apply for a British passport after the ceremony. If you applied for a passport at the same time, you will be able to use this as identification and to travel with as soon as you receive it.
The British Citizenship application is one of the most important processes you will undergo. Make sure you are properly prepared and in the best position possible to start your life as a British national by calling 0333 363 8577 or using our online contact form. Contact our London, Manchester, or Birmingham immigration lawyers, or use the office finder to find your nearest branch.
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