British Citizenship factsheet

July 2022 | Benrina Browne

Immigration

British citizenship can be obtained by different routes. The most common are:

  1. being married to/in a civil partnership with a British citizen
  2. holding indefinite leave to remain
  3. born in the UK
  4. have a British parent

There are other less common routes, but all routes have very specific requirements which must be met to qualify and make a successful application.

Most applicants must show that at the date of the application they hold indefinite leave to remain immigration status. They must also show that they have passed the Life in the UK Test in addition to other requirements.

There are limits on the number of days the applicant is allowed to have spent outside the UK to be eligible.

The application fees for citizenship differ depending on the route, and you must always check up on the most recent fees before applying, as these are updated regularly, but usually at the start of the financial year.

Most citizenship applications that result in a refusal are because the applicant has not shown how they meet the requirements, and more often than not it is because they have mistakenly clicked on the wrong option. The Home Office caseworker will not assume you clicked something in error, and they will not contact you to clarify. Another common refusal ground is not meeting the qualifying residency requirement because they have spent too much time outside of the UK. Although, discretion may be exercised in certain circumstances, this is on a case-by-case basis and not guaranteed to anyone, so you cannot count on it.

The subject of fees for a child’s citizenship application had been hotly debated and the subject of a long running campaign, but after the court judgement in https://www.supremecourt.uk/press-summary/uksc-2021-0062.html provisions came into force on 16th June 2022 which attempted to deal with the issue of affordability. If you can show that you cannot afford the fee, you can now apply for a fee waiver when making the application. The most important part of that sentence is ‘be able to show’, this means that you must provide evidence to show, not just simply you cannot afford it.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-citizenship-fee-waiver-request-form

It usually takes about 6 months to obtain a decision on citizenship applications. However, COVID-19 delays are still affecting most government departments, so expect longer processing times. If you are planning to travel abroad, ensure you apply in good time to avoid disappointment. When citizenship has been granted, the applicant will then be eligible to apply for a British passport.

Navigating the process of applying for British citizenship can be complex and the process is costly. Any errors in the application can result in a refusal and disappointment. Application fees are not refunded after a refusal, so it is important to get it right the first time.

Contact us to find out more about getting started or about British citizenship applications