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ILR to Citizenship UK

Indefinite leave to remain can be used to apply for British citizenship. You must demonstrate that you have had indefinite leave to remain in the UK for at least three years and that you have never violated any UK laws.

IAS can help you to apply for British citizenship. Simply contact us online, call us on +23413438882 or our UK office +44 (0) 3316300929.


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We have helped many Nigerians transition from Indefinite Leave to Remain to British Citizenship. Contact us today: our skilled team of lawyers is dedicated to ensuring your travel plans are smooth and will handle all aspects of your application process.

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For Nigerian emigration matters, please call +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882

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For immigration/emigration to/from other countries, please call:

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Introduction to ILR and Citizenship

Indefinite leave to remain, often known as ILR, is a kind of permit that allows non-citizens of the UK to live and work in the country without being subject to any immigration restrictions or time limits on their ability to remain there.

You will not have the same legal protections and opportunities that come with British citizenship if you have ILR, however. For example, despite the fact that you will be granted permission to reside in the United Kingdom indefinitely, you face the danger of losing this status if you are outside of the United Kingdom, or in Nigeria for a continuous period of over two years. In contrast, a person may have British citizenship for their whole life.

After becoming a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom, you are eligible to make an application for a British passport and to exercise your right to vote in elections held inside that country.

ILR to Citizenship Requirements

Whether you are seeking for naturalisation as a citizen of the United Kingdom on the basis of the marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen, or because you are not married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, the conditions for naturalisation will be different for you.

Citizenship Based On A Marriage Status

In order to become a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom on the basis of your relationship with a British citizen as his or her husband or civil partner, you will need to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum age of 18
  • Possess a sufficient command of the English language and an understanding of how people live in the UK
  • Maintain a good character
  • Before applying, you must have spent at least three years of your life in the United Kingdom and fulfil all of the other conditions for residency.

Citizenship Based On Length of Residential Status

If you are not seeking for naturalisation as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen, you will need to demonstrate that you meet all of the conditions listed below in order to be eligible for naturalisation.

  • Have a minimum age of 18
  • Possess a sufficient command of the English language and an understanding of how people live in the UK
  • Maintain a good reputation
  • Have every intention of remaining a resident of the UK
  • Before applying, you must have spent at least five years of your life in the UK and satisfy all of the other conditions for residency.

Citizenship Residency Requirements

In order to satisfy British citizenship by residency requirements, you need to be able to provide evidence that you have lived in the UK exactly five years before the day that the Home Office receives your application. The only exception to this rule is if you are applying as a British citizen’s spouse or civil partner, in which case the residency requirement is reduced to three years.

In addition, you are not allowed to have spent more than 450 days outside of the United Kingdom in the preceding five years before making your application. This number is reduced to 270 days in the preceding three years for spouse or partner applications, and you are not allowed to have spent more than 90 days abroad in the most recent twelve months preceding the date of your application.

You have to be free of any immigration time limits on the day that you submit your application, and you cannot have broken any immigration regulations during the qualifying amount of time spent living in the country. In other words, in order to remain lawfully in the UK during this time period, you are required to obtain the appropriate authorisation.

Good Character Requirements

The condition of having a good character is not statutorily defined; but, in order to demonstrate that you meet this criteria, you must have demonstrated respect for the rights and freedoms of the United Kingdom, respected its laws, and fulfilled your duties as a resident of the United Kingdom. This includes not having a criminal record that is either relatively recent or significant, given that criminal record checks will be performed on all candidates.

Specifically, if you have a conviction that falls inside the applicable sentence-based threshold, it is very improbable that you will be approved as a citizen of the United Kingdom. For the purpose of illustration, an application will often be denied for any non-custodial offence if the conviction happened within the last three years or for any non-custodial offence for which the sentence was more than four years, regardless of when the conviction occurred.

A caseworker at the Home Office will evaluate each application for naturalisation on an individual basis and based on the merits of the specific application. Therefore, in addition to any criminal convictions, various other critical areas, such as fraud and dishonesty in past immigration petitions, will be evaluated.

English Language and Life in the UK Test

You will need to have familiarity with the language and culture of the United Kingdom. Applicants are required to demonstrate, as part of the process of applying, that they have the capacity to communicate in English, as well as a commitment to respecting the laws, beliefs, and traditions of the United Kingdom, as well as having understanding of life in the United Kingdom.

The ‘Life in the UK’ exam, which is a requirement of indefinite leave to stay, together with proof of your ability in English in the form of any one of the following may count toward satisfying the KoLL criterion.

A degree that was earned in the United Kingdom or another academic certificate that was studied or taught in English and was regarded to be comparable to a degree that was earned in the United Kingdom or higher.

If you are a citizen of a country where the majority of the population speaks English, you will not need to get any English language qualification; nevertheless, you will still be required to prove that you have passed the exam to demonstrate that you are eligible to live and work in the United Kingdom.

If you are over the age of 65 or if you have a long-term physical or mental condition that prohibits you from satisfying this criteria, you may be eligible for a full exemption from the requirement.

If you were successful in passing the exam on life in the UK as part of your application for indefinite leave to remain, you will not be required to take it again as part of the naturalisation process.

If you’re unsure of how to go about applying for British citizenship, our expert lawyers are ready to guide through every step of the way

Application Process for Citizenship after ILR

You may apply for naturalisation as a British citizen by submitting an application to the Home Office either online or by using Form AN. Along with your application, you will need to send any supporting evidence as well as the application cost. During the application process, you will also be asked to pay an extra fee of £19.20 to enrol your biometric information. This step is part of the application procedure. A digital image of your face and a scan of your fingerprints are both going to be taken as part of this process.

If you want to submit your application online, you will be required to schedule an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVACS) service point in order to submit your biometric information. You may also choose to have the supporting material for your application scanned during the appointment that you have scheduled with UKVACS; alternatively, you can submit copies of the documents via the online service.

If you submit your application by mail, you will be required to provide your supporting papers at the same time; thus, you will not be able to use your passport while you wait for a decision.

Your specific circumstances will determine the kind of supporting paperwork that needs to be submitted in order for your application to be considered. However, in order for this to be considered complete, it will need to contain at the very least the following, although this list is by no means exhaustive:

  • Your current biometric residence permit in addition to your passport, if you have one
  • If you are applying as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen, you are required to provide documentary proof of your marriage or civil relationship
  • Your legal residency verified by appropriate documentation
  • Documentary proof showing your familiarity with the language and culture of the United Kingdom, as well as medical evidence in support of any exception that may be appropriate

After submitting your application for citizenship, you will typically get a decision within a period of six months, however the processing time for certain applications may be longer. In the event that more information is required from you, the Home Office will let you know.

Common Reasons of Application Refusals

Even though it seems as if you fulfil all of the requirements for citizenship, you still could not be granted citizenship since naturalisation is not a privilege that everyone is entitled to. Evidence is of the utmost importance. Failure to produce sufficient documents or to appropriately reply to additional questioning is one of the most frequent reasons given for denying an application for indefinite leave to remain in citizenship. This is also one of the most common reasons given for being denied citizenship.

In addition, despite the fact that the Home Office may be able to exercise some discretion in some situations, such as with regard to immigration violations or excess absences, you will be required to give specific information on any exceptional circumstances when you submit your application, along with extra proof to back up your claims.

To make sure you have all the appropriate documents for your British citizenship application, speak to us.

How Can IAS Help?

You can apply for British citizenship using the indefinite leave to remain. The process of applying for British citizenship may be complex and time-consuming. An IAS professional lawyer will handle your case.

They will evaluate your circumstances and provide you with advice on how to continue. Hire one of our experts to guarantee that all of the fields on your forms are filled out by our professionals.

Your case for British citizenship application may be guided through each stage by the immigration lawyers at IAS. Your committed lawyer will complete your application form after determining your eligibility. This entails doing a thorough document audit to make sure your portfolio of proof is sufficient.

Call us on +23413438882 from Nigeria or our UK office at +44 (0) 3316300929 or book an appointment online.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

Table of Contents

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you need to pass the Life in the UK test.

You have to pay £1,330. You must additionally pay £50 to take the Life in the UK Test.

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