Naturalisation is the process that essentially means becoming a British Citizen. Foreign citizens who reside in the UK can apply to become British Citizens as their final immigration step. Becoming a British Citizen is a personal choice which will free you from any immigration restrictions on working, studying or travelling in and out of the UK.

The naturalisation application can be a lengthy process and there are certain requirements that must be met, in particular the absences requirement. Also, the requirements for naturalisation are different for an applicant who is married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen.

While the UK allows dual or multiple citizenship, some other countries do not. Therefore, before making an application to naturalise as a British citizen, individuals are strongly encouraged to verify whether the acquisition of British citizenship may result tin them or their dependants losing another citizenship they hold.

Acquisition of British citizenship may also affect an individual’s tax status – we would therefore recommend that tax advice be sought prior to the filing of any application.

Case Study

An important aspect which many do not realise is that there is scope for the Home Office to exercise discretion in cases where applicants have absences exceeding the number of days as referred to in the rules. At Edwin Coe we are also receiving more applications from persons who feel that they do not qualify for British citizenship as they do not meet the good character requirement.

We had a client approach us as he was of the opinion that he did not qualify for British citizenship. The applicant had absences totalling 640 days in the 5 year period and also had an offence and a penalty as a result of which he believed that he would not qualify for British citizenship.  We had filed a successful application as we were able to demonstrate that the absences, which were as a result of factors which meant that he could not return to the UK earlier, that he had lived in the UK for 8.5 years and that the offence and the penalty, did not preclude him from making the application.

Contact our Immigration Team
telephone: 020 7691 4000
or email: enquiries@edwincoe.com

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British Citizenship applications

Many entering the UK come with the view to acquiring British citizenship, as citizenship allows persons to live and work freely in the UK without being subject to immigration control. You may also make extended trips outside the UK without the stress of losing your right to British citizenship. British citizenship can be acquired in various ways. The most common method is through ‘naturalisation’. There are requirements which need to be met to enable you to apply for British citizenship, and we have the expertise to enable us to assess your position to see if you are eligible to make an application.  Quite often we come across clients who query as to whether they can apply as they have been imposed with penalties for driving offences, or have made extended trips outside the UK. To apply for British citizenship by naturalisation, you must:
  • be 18 or over;
  • be of good character e.g. you do not have a serious or recent criminal record and you haven’t tried to deceive the Home Office or been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years;
  • intend to continue to live in the UK;
  • have met the knowledge of English and Life in the UK requirements; and
  • meet the residency requirement.

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