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UK Citizenship by Marriage for Nigerians

Overseas nationals can apply for British citizenship by marriage to settle in the UK with their partners. This is part of the naturalisation process, allowing eligible applicants to live, work, and study in the UK without restrictions.

Contact IAS today for more information. Call +23413438882 or our UK phone number at +44 (0) 3316300929, or get in touch with one of IAS lawyers online

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS for Your Citizenship Application

    IAS is the ideal choice for your UK citizenship application. Whether you are registering as a citizen by birth, marriage, naturalisation, or ancestry, we can help you.

    Our expert, capable lawyers can help address a wide range of issues and concerns, helping to make the process of applying for citizenship simple and hassle-free.

    At IAS, we are committed to offering the highest-quality level of service available in the law sector. When getting in touch with us for help, you will:

    Get expert, success-oriented assistance for all steps in the citizenship process.

    Be fully prepped on all Home Office-required documents and evidence you will need to submit.

    Receive regular check-ins from your personal immigration lawyer throughout the entire process.

    Enjoy continued support beyond your citizenship application, such as if your family members also decide to apply.

    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    Want to Become a UK Citizen by Marriage?

    Citizenship by marriage is part of the naturalisation route popular among Nigerian nationals looking to settle in the UK. If you want to become a UK citizen by marriage, we can help make this process easy, ensuring the highest chance of UK Citizenship approval.

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    Nigerian Emigration

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

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

    US –  +1 844 290 6312

    Ireland –  (+353) 061 518 025

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    What is British Citizenship by Marriage?

    You are not automatically entitled to British citizenship through marriage. To obtain British citizenship as a Nigerian national, you must apply to ‘naturalise’. British citizenship by marriage is part of the naturalisation route for spouses and partners of British citizens who wish to become UK citizens and settle in the UK with their partners.

    Wedding rings

    Benefits of British Citizenship by Marriage

    As a Nigerian spouse or partner of a British citizen, you can apply for citizenship by marriage and gain the right to settle in the UK without restrictions. Some of the key benefits of British citizenship include:

    • Living permanently in the UK
    • The right to spend unlimited time outside of the UK and return to the UK without restrictions
    • Applying for a British passport, which gives you the right to no longer be subject to immigration controls
    • Having access to free medical care and treatment
    • Transferring UK Nationality to your children
    • The right to vote in parliamentary, local, or European elections
    • The right to stand for public office
    British Passport

    Eligibility Requirements for British Citizenship by Marriage

    To be eligible for citizenship by marriage, you must be married or in civil partnership with a British citizen and:

    • Be over the age of 18
    • Have been living in the UK for three years without excessive absences
    • Have been granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or permanent residence in the UK

    Other Eligibility Requirements

    To be eligible you must also:

    • Prove you were in the UK for the last 3 years
    • Have adequate knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
    • Pass the Life in the UK Test to show understanding of British culture and history
    • Demonstrate good character to prove that you have not breached any UK law
    • Show you are of sound mind

    Reach out to an immigration expert if you are unclear if you or your partner qualify for British citizenship by marriage.

    Residency Requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage

    To be eligible for citizenship by marriage you must be living in the UK without immigration restrictions. Therefore, you must be either a permanent resident or hold an Indefinite Leave to Remain status in the UK.

    Moreover, you must not have spent more than 270 days outside the UK in 3-year period. In addition, you must not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months before your application submission date.

    It is possible to be exempt from the residency requirements if your partner works abroad either for the UK government or an organisation closely linked to the government.

    Financial Requirements for British Citizenship by Marriage

    You must be able to cover the cost of the application and any other fee involved in the application process, including submitting your biometric information, the cost of your English language exam and the cost of the British citizenship ceremony (included in the price of your application).

    Language Requirement for British Citizenship Through Marriage

    If you’re applying for citizenship by marriage, you must prove that you have adequate knowledge of the English language. This requirement can be evidenced with:

    • An English qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level
    • A degree taught or researched in English

    The English language test focuses on reading, writing, hearing, and speaking. Only Home Office authorised Secure English Language Test (SELT) qualifications are acceptable.

    Life in the UK Test Requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage

    Another requirement for UK citizenship is passing the Life in the UK Test. This test allows applicants to demonstrate their commitment to British customs. It asks a series of multiple-choice questions about customs and traditions in the UK.

    It is possible to be exempt from the Life in the UK Test if you are over 65 or have already passed it as part of your Indefinite Leave to Remain settlement application. In some cases, the Home Office allows people with long-term physical or mental conditions to be exempt from the test.

    Reach out if you need support in passing the Life in the UK Test or if you believe you may be exempt from taking the examination.

    If you have any questions or are confused about how to proceed with your UK citizenship by marriage case, speak to one of our dedicated specialists.

    Do I Need to be a Settled Person to Apply for British Citizenship Through Marriage?

    You must be considered a settled person to be eligible for British citizenship. A settled person is anyone who holds an Indefinite Leave to Remain status and has resided in the UK for at least three years.

    The settled status is crucial for anyone wishing to apply for UK citizenship, and a person must hold it for 12 months before they apply for UK citizenship.

    To demonstrate that you have settled status in the UK, you can print a copy of your settled status decision letter or give the Home Office a share code from the GOV.UK website, allowing them to view your settled status online.

    What is Meant By the Good Character Requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage?

    To apply for citizenship in the UK, the Home Office requires applicants to fulfil the good character requirement. To satisfy these criteria, applicants must show they have not breached UK laws. This is to demonstrate respect for UK law.

    You must have a clear criminal record to prove your good character, with no severe or recent crimes recorded in Nigeria or elsewhere.

    The good character status might be negatively affected by any immigration offences, such as illegally entering the UK or assisting another person in entering the UK illegally. These factors can affect your citizenship application decision; if they are serious enough, your application might be refused.

    Good character status can also be assessed based on financial soundness and additional aspects, such as charity work.

    What is the Sound Mind Requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage?

    To apply for citizenship in the UK, you must show that you meet the “sound mind” requirement. This means that you must be able to understand what it means to become a UK citizen, and you must be able to make your own decisions. This is to show that you are aware of the steps that you are taking.

    You might be exempt from this requirement only in certain circumstances. For example, you might be completing a citizenship application on behalf of somebody who is not of sound mind.

    However, this must be evidenced by a letter stating your position as a legal representative of the applicant and documentation explaining the applicant’s mental condition must be provided to support this.

    Couple outdoors

    If you’re a Nigerian hoping to acquire British citizenship through marriage, we have a proven track-record of mounting the best possible cases to ensure you have a successful application.

    How to Apply for British Citizenship by Marriage?


    You can apply for British citizenship through marriage as an applicant or as an agent or representative of an applicant.

    To apply, you must fill out the form online and book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) to have your biometric information taken (fingerprints and a photo).

    You can submit all your supporting documents online when you complete your application and have your documents scanned at your UKVCAS appointment.

    Alternatively, you can apply by post.

    Documents Required for the British Citizenship By Marriage

    The list of supporting documents for your British citizenship application depends on your circumstances. Generally, you will be required to provide at least the following documents:

    • Proof of your identity – current, valid passport, valid travel document or birth certificate
    • Evidence of your ILR status – your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
    • Proof that you have resided in the UK for the required period of time
    • Evidence of previous visas and residency documents
    • Proof of English Language Test
    • Proof of the Life in the UK Test
    • Proof of your spouse’s identity and citizenship
    • Certificate of your marriage or civil partnership

    Gathering the paperwork required to apply for UK citizenship by marriage for Nigerians can be a complicated process. Therefore, you may wish to contact an immigration lawyer to ensure you submit the correct documentation and avoid lengthy delays or possible refusal.

    Processing Times and Costs for British Citizenship Application

    British citizenship through marriage applications costs £1,330 and should take up to 6 months to be processed. The Home Office highlights that some applications can take longer if additional supporting documents or information are required.

    In some cases, for example, when your application is missing the required information, the application can be refused and the application fees are refundable.

    What to Do After Receiving Your British Citizenship Certificate?

    Once you receive your British citizenship certificate, you must send your Biometric Residence Permit back to the Home Office within 5 working days of receiving your certificate.

    To do this, you will need to cut your BRP into 4 pieces and put it inside a windowless envelope with a note saying that you are returning your permit because you have become a British citizen. In the note, you should include your details, such as name, date of birth, and document number. You should then address and send the envelope to:

    Naturalisation BRP Returns
    PO Box 195
    BS20 1BT

    In case you’re unsure how to go about applying for British citizenship by marriage, our expert lawyers can guide you through every step of the process

    His and hers engagement rings

    British Citizenship Ceremony

    After receiving a citizenship certificate, you will be invited to attend a compulsory British citizenship ceremony. Your local authority will organise the ceremony; as a default, it will be a group ceremony. However, you can apply for an individual ceremony if you wish.

    The group ceremony costs £80, which is included in your application fee and you are able to bring two guests to the ceremony. Individual ceremonies are more expensive. You can find out how much they cost if you contact your local authority.

    During the British citizenship ceremony, you will make an oath of allegiance and a pledge. If you prefer not to swear to God, you can make an affirmation. You will promise to respect the UK’s rights, freedoms and laws.

    You will then be presented with your certificate of citizenship.

    British Passport for Spouse of British Citizen

    Once you have obtained British citizenship through marriage, you can apply for a UK passport. A British passport can then become proof of your nationality.
    Eligibility requirements for a UK passport are mainly based on age and nationality. You can apply for a UK passport if you are 16 or over and a British citizen.

    Application Process for a Passport in the UK

    To apply for a UK passport, you will need:

    • proof of your UK citizenship – naturalisation or registration certificate
    • the passport you used to come into the UK or the foreign passport you’re included on
    • Full birth certificate or adoption certificate

    In addition to this, you will need:

    • a digital photo of you
    • a credit or debit card
    • someone who can confirm your identity – you will need to ask someone to confirm your identity. Let the person know they will receive an email from HM Passport Office with instructions on what they need to do to verify your identity.

    British Passport Application Costs

    The application cost for a British passport is £82.50 if you apply online and £93 if you choose to apply with a paper form. UK passports are valid for 10 years.

    What Happens After You Apply?

    After you apply, you might be asked to attend an interview to confirm your identity. The interview might take place online.

    Once your application is processed, you will receive your new passport by recorded delivery.

    How Can IAS Help?

    IAS is a team of reliable immigration lawyers helping immigrants to settle in the UK. IAS advisers have helped many Nigerian nationals obtain visas, permits and citizenship in the UK.

    If you are considering applying for British citizenship by marriage, it might be complicated to know which supporting documents you should provide to prove your eligibility. IAS can guide you through every step of your application to ensure the highest chances of citizenship approval. This includes assembling necessary supporting documents, helping with completing your application and ensuring that every applicant provides sufficient information to minimise the processing times.

    To find out more about IAS and receive professional advice for your case, call +23413438882 or UK phone number at +44 (0) 3316300929, or contact IAS online.

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

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Travel does not affect your British citizenship application as long as you return to the UK within the required time. This means you should not spend more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months before you submit your application.

    You can travel abroad while awaiting a decision on your British citizenship application.

    Some of the key reasons for the refusal of British citizenship by marriage applications are:

    • Not meeting eligibility requirements and lack of required evidence of entitlement
    • Lack of sufficient English language qualifications and failure of the Life in the UK Test
    • Excessive absences
    • Not responding to the Home Office in the required time
    • Not meeting the good character requirement – for example, custodial sentences of more than 4 years or committing immigration offences in the last 10 years

    Yes. You can apply for British citizenship through marriage if you have a criminal record. However, you must disclose your full criminal record when applying. In cases where an applicant has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to 4 years imprisonment or more, the application is likely to be refused.

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