Eligibility for becoming a British citizen
Before applying for British citizenship and submitting paperwork you should ensure that you are eligible to apply to become a British citizen.
In the majority of cases you need to have been living in the UK for at least six years – with at least one year with Indefinite Leave to Remain status.
There are exceptions to this rule, such as those who have been living in the country under certain UK visas. If you are unclear about your eligibility of your visa route then you may want to seek the help of immigration specialists.
In addition, if you are married to someone with British citizenship then you can apply for permanent residence in the UK after four years – including one year with ILR status.
If you have spent time outside of the UK during this period then you will need to ensure that you still meet the qualifying period. For a ILR application you need to provide evidence that shows you have not spent more than 180 days overseas in the 12-month period.
However, for British citizenship applications you need to ensure that you have not been outside of the UK for more than 90 days in the 12 month period before making your application. You will need to provide documents to support your claim of residency.
Documents checklist for British Citizenship
When applying for UK citizenship you will need to provide sufficient evidence and this will include submitting various documents to prove your ID, residency status, knowledge of the English language and passing the Life in the UK test.
It is likely you will need to ensure your provide the Home Office with the following:
- Proof of identity: This could be your passport, driving licence, birth certificate, Home Office travel document or even a credit card statement issued to you within the last six months
- Proof of status: this could include a civil partnership certificate or marriage certificate
- Your biometric information residence permit (if you have one)
- Evidence of a successful pass in the Life in the UK test
- Proof of at least a level of B1 in English language in speaking, writing, listening and reading (unless you are exempt)
- Evidence which shows that you were lawfully resident in the UK for the required time period
- Information relating to your periods of absence from the UK during your qualifying period
- Proof that you currently hold Indefinite Leave to Remain status
You need to make sure any documents provided are the originals and they must be in English or Welsh. If they are not, then you need to submit certified translated copies to meet UK immigration laws.
What is the Life in the UK Test?
A key part of a British citizenship application is taking and passing the Life in the UK test.
The test can be booked online and must be taken in person at an approved test centre. You will need to answer a total of 24 questions on a wide variety of topics associated with the culture, customs and living in the UK.
A handbook is produced by the Home Office so you are able to revise for the test, which is advisable, as you need to get at least 75 per cent of the questions correct in order to be given a pass certificate.
When you sit the test, you will be given 45 minutes to answer the multi-choice questions. You must bring the same ID that you used when booking the test. You also need to bring proof of address. This must display both your name and postcode and must be dated within three months of the date your test is due to take place.
If you fail to bring valid documentation with you on the day of your test, you will be unable to sit it. You will also be ineligible for a refund. The current cost of the test is £50.
After you pass the test, you will receive a pass notification letter from the Home Office – which you need to submit as part of your British citizenship application documents.
Proof of residency documents
The time you have spent in the UK can be shown by the stamps in your passport – this will prove your length of stay in the UK. However, the Home Office may ask for further documents to show you have been in the UK for the relevant period. So you may need to also provide:
- A letter from your employer (or employers) which states when you started working for the company along with supporting documents, such as payslips or P60
- A letter from an educational establishment which sets out your study periods in the UK
- A letter from a government department which indicates that you have been in the UK for the required period of time
Is it possible to track the status of my British citizenship application?
It usually takes three to six months for your UK citizenship application to be processed. However, this can vary considerably depending on each case and individual citizen as well as the current Home Office processing times.
There is currently no system available that enables you to track the status of your naturalisation application online. It is possible to contact UKVI via email or by telephone to get an update.
It also advisable to make sure the immigration service has your up-to-date contact information in case they need to contact you about your UK citizenship application or ask for clarification over any paperwork you have provided. They may ask for further information or documents and you want to avoid any additional delays if they are unable to reach you easily.
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
Becoming a British citizen is a life-changing event that comes with many benefits, however, the application process isn’t easy and it can be incredibly difficult to navigate it alone.
Our immigration lawyers are experienced when it comes to assisting with British citizenship applications, they know exactly what it takes for an application to be successful and can give you the best chance of success. We can offer a document checking service to make sure you provide the Home Office with all the information needed.
One of the most difficult aspects of the British citizenship application process is meeting the strict requirements. Our lawyers will help you to do this. We can advise you about whether you need to take an English language test, which test to take and how to book it.
To find out more about how our lawyers can assist you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today by calling 020 4502 8582.
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Last modified on April 12th, 2023 at 9:09 am
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