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.