Becoming a British citizen is, for many of our clients, their ultimate immigration long-term goal. We help them with every step of the journey from initial entry to the UK on a visa to becoming the holder of a British passport. 

Generally speaking, most adults can naturalise (become British) once they have lived in the UK lawfully for six years. 

The process normally takes six years, as applicants are required to have lived in the UK for a period of five years lawfully; additionally one year of this period must be as the holder of indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence.

The exception to this rule is where an applicant is married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen – in this situation an application can be made as soon as an applicant acquires permanent residence or has been granted indefinite leave to remain, normally this is after five years residence, as it now takes five years before an individual acquires indefinite leave to remain as a partner.  

Applicants also have to pass a Life in the UK test and meet the English language requirements.   

There are strict rules on how many days an individual can be absent from the UK, and there is also a good character requirement. Until relatively recently, the good character requirement focused on whether a person had a criminal history. Now, case-workers take wider issues into account, including immigration history and history of tax payments.  

The benefits of naturalising

In these uncertain times, many choosing to naturalise now who may not have considered naturalising previously. Benefits worth considering are:-

1. Being a British citizenship means having a right to vote. For many EU nationals, not being able to vote in either the EU referendum or the recent European elections has been a cause of concern;

2. Obtaining British citizenship now can be an insurance policy against future changes to the law and the costs and procedure of applying;

3. Obtaining British citizenship can be a wise move for international families. Did you know that indefinite leave to remain can be lost due to absences outside the UK for more than two years? Families with global plans should consider naturalisation as citizenship cannot be lost through absences unlike indefinite leave to remain status.

Our specialist immigration team are extremely experienced in helping clients secure British citizenship and ensuring that the process is as smooth as possible. We also pride ourselves in our fast turnaround times designed to ensure that our clients can achieve their goal of naturalisation without delay.

  • I would like to thank Ms. Jacqueline Moore & all the team at Shepherd & Wedderburn. Very professional, very knowledgeable, highly recommended.

    S Russell, August 2020

  • I'd like to thanks Jacqueline and her team for her immense help during my application process. It's been an uncertain time with the pandemic and I won't be able to deal with the stress coming with the visa applications without the team's professionalism and efficiency. The communication was easy, and the team always keeps me well informed of new developments. They go above and beyond to suggest the most cost effective and least complicated method for my visa extension. I can't be more grateful for their help - especially during the stressful time.

    Denise, March 2020

  • My husband and I turned to Jacqueline for assistance after a rejected visa and waiting over a year for an appeal date. We wish we had gone to Jacqueline from the very beginning. She submitted a completely new spouse visa application for us which was very well organised and set out in an easy to read format for the application assessors. She was very efficient, kept us informed throughout the process and made a very stressful situation seem relatively straightforward. We will definitely go to Jacqueline with all of our subsequent visa applications and would highly recommend her to anyone without hesitation.

    Sian Ruscoe Silva, November 2018


  • The biggest benefit of the whole process was that Jacqueline and the team took all the stress away. Jacqueline and her team are very good at communicating and clearly explaining every step in the process, providing progress reports, managing unexpected issues and ensuring I knew everything was taken care of and well managed the whole way through.

    Jane Holloway, March 2019

  • During the process of completing the application you and your firm made the process seamless. You were clinical in the documentation that was required, your legal reps were very specific and promoted the family motive, you also advised us to get many references. We believe that your attention to detail and personal involvement at every stage of the application for us resulted in the successful application being granted, despite applying outside the rules.

    Angela & Bruce Potter, June 2019

  • I would like to say a big thank you to Jacqueline Moore and the rest of the team from Shepherd and Wedderburn. My wife and daughter’s visas were granted so quickly that I couldn’t believe it. The help I received was absolutely amazing. I would recommend Jacqueline to anyone who is looking for professional help. Five stars.

    Alexander Voronov, November 2018