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Who can be a British citizenship referee?

When you are applying to naturalise as a British citizen, you will need two referees. Find out more about why you need referees and who they can be.

For assistance with your British citizenship application, get in touch with our immigration lawyers today on 020 4502 8582 we are here to help.

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    What is a British citizenship referee?

    If you are over the age of 18 and have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, then you could be eligible for British citizenship by naturalisation. Applying to become a British citizen is a complex process with many steps, one of those steps is finding referees to support your application.

    Everyone who applies for British citizenship by naturalisation is required to have two referees. Your referees are needed to prove your identity.

    You cannot choose anyone to be a referee, they must meet certain requirements as set out by the Home Office.

    Finding appropriate referees can be a particularly difficult part of the British citizenship application process and failing to find acceptable refugees can delay your application. It’s important that you are aware of the requirements that your refugee should meet and what they will need to do.

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    Who can be a referee for British citizenship?

    Both of you referees should be people who know you personally, they should have known you for at least 3 years.

    At least one of your referees should be a person of any nationality who has professional standing. Your second referee must be a British citizen passport holder and be either a professional person or over the age of 25.

    Your referees cannot:

    • Be a relative
    • Be a solicitor representing you on your citizenship application
    • Be related to your other referee
    • Be employed by the Home Office
    • Have been convicted of an imprisonable offence in the last 10 years

    Referees for child applications

    The requirements for referees in relation to a child’s British citizenship application differ slightly. In a child’s application at least one of the referees should be someone who has dealt with children in a professional role, this could include a:

    • Teacher
    • Health visitor
    • Doctor
    • Social worker

    A child who is not able to find a referee who has dealt with them in a professional capacity can instead provide two referees who meet the requirements of a referee for an adult application, however, they will need to show documents to prove that they have attempted to provide a professional who has dealt with them.

    Do you need help applying for a British citizenship? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      What does professional standing mean?

      At least one of your referees is required to be of professional standing, this refers to the type of occupation that they have. There are many different types of people that meet this requirement, just a few examples of people of a professional standing include an:

      • Accountant
      • Dentist
      • Barrister
      • Councillor
      • Civil servant
      • Teacher or lecturer
      • Police officer
      • local government officer manager or Personnel officer
      • Limited company assurance agent
      • Certified or qualified paralegals
      • Officer of the armed services
      • Warrant officers
      • VAT registered charity director or manager

      A full list of roles that can qualify someone as a professional person can be found here.

      What do referees need to do?

      Your referees are required to prove your identity. To do this they will need to provide some information about themselves and they must also sign a declaration.

      They will need to provide the following information to you:

      • Full name
      • Address(es) for last 3 years
      • Date of birth
      • Profession
      • Phone number
      • Email address
      • British passport number (if British)
      • How they know you

      You will then need to fill in the above information about them on your application form.

      Your referees will then need to sign a declaration, at the top of the declaration form is a passport-sized photograph of yourself that should have your name and date of birth written on the back. Your referees must sign the declaration at the bottom of the form.

      When your referees sign the declaration they will be confirming that:

      • They are qualified to act as a referee
      • The photograph above is a true likeness of you
      • They understand each of the points in the “Requirements of a referee” section of the form
      • To the best of their knowledge, the details given about you in the application are correct
      • The details given about them as a refugee are correct
      • They understand they could be fined up to £5,000, or go to prison for up to 3 months if they knowingly give false information
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      Overseas applications

      If you are applying to become a British citizen from overseas and you do not know a British citizen passport holder who is either a professional person or over the age of 25 then you may be able to get someone else to sign the referee declaration form.

      You can have another person sign the form providing that they are either a commonwealth citizen or a citizen in the country that you are living in. They must also meet the other requirements and the Home Office must deem their signature as acceptable.

      What happens if my referees are not suitable?

      If you use a referee who does not meet the referee eligibility requirements then the Home Office will contact you to ask you to provide an alternative referee, this will delay the processing time for your application.

      If you cannot find an alternative referee then your application for British citizenship can be refused by the Home Office.

      If you are struggling to find appropriate referees it is recommended that you speak with a legal professional for advice about the options you may have.

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      Can you help me to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation?

      Yes, we know just how difficult it can be to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation which is why we offer citizenship application services that will see our expert UK immigration lawyers be there to support you throughout the entire application process.

      Just a few of the ways that we can assist you with your application include:

      • Assessing whether you are eligible to become a British citizen
      • Filling in the citizenship application form on your behalf
      • Helping you to meet all of the requirements for citizenship, including preparing you for the Life in the UK test
      • Helping you to put together a substantial portfolio of documents to support your application
      • Helping you to find adequate referees for your application and assisting your referees with the declaration form
      • Answering any questions you may have about the application process

      As well as citizenship by naturalisation, we also assist with a variety of other British citizenship applications including British citizenship by birth and British citizenship by descent.

      For more information about how we can help you to become a British citizen, get in touch with our team today on 020 4502 8582.

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