British Citizenship & Naturalisation

The process of becoming a British Citizen is known as Naturalisation. There are a few different ways to obtain British Citizenship - such as through ancestry or descent - but most applicants will generally apply for Naturalisation through one of the following two paths:

  • naturalise after 6 years in the UK
  • naturalise after 3 years (with a UK spouse)

As well as having to meet a number of eligibility criteria, applicants must also successfully pass the 'Life in the UK' test, and prove their knowledge of English.

In this page we explain the main immigration requirements you must meet in order to be eligible to apply for UK Citizenship. If you have any questions about the process, or if you would like assistance with your application, then please give us a call.

Five Star International is an immigration firm based in Glasgow, near the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the West End, and our specialist immigration lawyers have many years of experience in handling British Citizenship and Naturalisation cases. We provide a full range of affordable immigration services, and have one of the best success rates in Scotland.

Get in touch by phone, email or Skype now - and chat to an immigration solicitor to get helpful and practical legal advice about your particular situation.

General Requirements for British Citizenship

  • you should be at least 18 years old
  • you should be 'of good character'
  • you should be 'of sound mind'
  • you should meet the 'Knowledge of Language' requirement
  • you should pass the 'Life in the UK' requirement

The requirement to be 'of good character' means that you should not have a significant criminal record, and that you should not have a history of trying to deceive the UK Home Office or other immigration offences. Applications from people who have previously broken immigration laws while in the UK will not usually be granted.

The requirement to be 'of sound mind' means that you should have at least a basic understanding of the purpose of your visa application. It should be pointed out that this requirement is not designed to block applications from people with a mental illness or handicap that affects their ability to communicate. Most applicants easily satisfy this condition.

The 'Knowledge of Language' requirement means that you must be able to demonstrate a good level of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic. The requirement to prove your Knowledge of Language applies to most applicants, although there are some exemptions - for instance if you are at least 65 years old, or if you have certain physical or mental health conditions, or if you come from countries such as Canada, USA, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland. However most applicants are required to demonstrate a good level of English, usually by having completed an English language qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level, or through having completed a taught or research degree in English.

The 'Life in the UK' test is designed to test your understanding of life in the UK, including topics like the process of becoming a citizen, the main values and principles of the UK, notable events and people from the UK's history, traditions and culture from across the UK, as well as key information about the government and the law.

Applicants for British Citizenship must also show an intention to live in the UK in the future. Since the future is not always predictable, this requirement is mainly based on past behaviour - and may look at factors such as whether you have maintained an established home in the UK, and whether absences from the UK were clearly temporary as with a holiday or business journey.

Finally, there is also a further residency requirement designed to test of the applicant's strength of commitment and close links to the United Kingdom. These requirements vary depending on whether you are applying to become a British Citizen after 6 years, or after 3 years and with a spouse who is themselves a UK Citizen.

Becoming a British Citizen after 6 years in the UK

You are required to have lived in the UK for a minumum of 5 years before applying for British Citizenship through this route. There is a requirement to have been physically present in the UK on the specific date 5 years before the date your application is received by the Home Office.

However there is in effect a 1 year waiting period after you receive Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), since applicants who are not married to a British citizen should be free of 'immigration time restrictions' during the final 12 months of the 5 year qualifying period. And since 5 years are usually required to obtain ILR, the total period of time before you can usually apply for British Citizenship through this route (without a UK spouse) is actually 6 years.

You should have spent no more than 90 days outwith the UK in the last 12 months before the date of your application. And you should have spend no more than 450 days outwith the UK during the 5 year qualifying period.

Becoming a British Citizen after 3 years (with a UK spouse)

In contrast to the first route, if you are applying for British Citizenship with a UK spouse then you only need to have been resident in the UK for 3 years, rather than 5 years. You also only need to be free of 'immigration time restrictions' on the date of application, rather than for the 12 month period before your application. This means it is usually possible to become eligible for British Citizenship with a UK spouse in 3 years, rather than 6 years.

You should have spent no more than 90 days outwith the UK in the last 12 months before the date of your application. And you should have spend no more than 270 days outwith the UK during the 3 year qualifying period.

Once your British Citizenship has been granted, you are able to apply for a British Passport - giving you various rights relating to travel and work. For most people this is a moment to celebrate, marking the end of years of complex paperwork and uncertainty about your future.

Call Us Now for Expert Legal Advice on Citizenship Applications

Five Star International is a specialist immigration company based in Glasgow, and we have helped a huge number of people like you to successfully apply for British Citizenship - from the initial application right up until you receive your own British Passport. Due to the length, complexity and importance of the naturalisation process we recommend that you speak with one of our friendly and highly-trained immigration lawyers as soon as possible - in order to give you the best chance of success.

We offer expert and affordable legal advice, as well as practical tips on dealing with the application process. And we have one of the best success rates as well as the lowest costs of any immigration firm in Scotland. So why not call us now on +44 (0) 141 339 7373, or send us an email at enquiries@fivestarvisas.com.