British Citizenship & Nationality:
- British Citizenship by Naturalisation
Naturalisation is a legal process that allows an individual to change their nationality and become a citizen of a country other than the one they were born in. Becoming a British citizen is a major life event as not only does it allow you to apply for a British passport, but also gives you the opportunity to participate in your local community without any restrictions.
However, naturalisation is not an entitlement; it is a decision that is made by the Home Secretary if you can provide evidence that can satisfy certain legal requirements; such as:
- Applicant must be aged 18 or over
- Applicant has lived in the UK for at least 5 years without an absence longer than 450 days
- Applicant must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months before the application date
- Applicant must have been granted permanent residence (EEA nationals) or indefinite leave to remain in the UK at least 1 year before the application date
- Applicant must be of a good character (no criminal record, fraudulent activity, not breached immigration rules etc)
- Applicant must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK
Naturalisation must be applied for by applicants after they have completed their residential qualifying period in the UK. Please consult with our immigration solicitors to find out whether you qualify for Naturalisation and how you can apply.
- Registration of a Child Under 18 as a British Citizen
Children can automatically acquire British citizenship “otherwise than by descent” if they are born in the UK to at least one British or settled parent or by “descent” if they are born outside the UK to a parent who was British otherwise than by descent as British citizenship can descend to one generation born abroad.
In other cases, children must be registered as British citizens either by “entitlement” or “discretion”.
Children under the following circumstances qualify for registration by “entitlement”:
- When a non-British or non-settled parent of a UK born child becomes a British citizen or settled in the UK
- When a non-British or non-settled parent of a child born in the UK on or after 13 January 2010 becomes a member of the UK armed forces
- When a child has lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life
- When a child born in the UK who is and has always been stateless has spent a period of 5 years in the UK
- When a non-British or non-settled parent of a child born abroad on or after 13th January 2010 becomes a member of the UK armed forces
- If a child was born before 1st July 2006 who would have either become a British citizen automatically or had an entitlement for registration if their parents had been married at the time of the child’s birth
We are not able to list all circumstances under which the Home Secretary may exercise discretion; however, below is a list of some of the circumstances under which children may qualify for registration by “discretion”:
- When one or both of the non-British or non-settled parents submit a “family application” for British citizenship and include one or more of their children’s names in the application who were not automatically British by birth
- When a child’s parent or grandfather is or was in service which became Community institution or designated service after the child’s birth
- When a child is adopted abroad by a parent who was a British citizen otherwise than by descent
- When the parent of a child has renounced and later resumed British citizenship
- Child’s connections with the UK
- Child’s future and their best interest
- Parents’ views
- The time the child has spent in the UK
- On any compelling circumstances
Please consult with our immigration solicitors to find out whether you qualify for registration as a British citizen either by entitlement or discretion based on your circumstances and how you can apply.
- Registration of an Adult as a British Citizen
For many centuries, the UK has had an open policy allowing foreign nationals to attain British citizenship through the process of registration. Therefore, some adults may also be eligible for registration as a British citizen under the following special circumstances:
- Applicant has another form of British nationality
- Applicant born before 01 January 1983 to a British mother
- Applicant was born to a British father, even if he was not married to the applicant’s mother
- Applicant was born in the UK on or after 1st January 1983
- Applicant has a connection with Gibraltar or Hong Kong
- Applicant has previously renounced citizenship
- Applicant was born stateless
Please consult with our immigration solicitors to find out whether you qualify for Registration as a British citizen and how you can apply.