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Who is Eligible to Act as a British Citizenship Referee?

When you apply for British citizenship, you must provide two referees for your application verification.

For immediate assistance with your citizenship situation, call our immigration advisors today at 020 4502 8582. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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    What is a Referee for a British Citizenship Application?

    A referee is someone who will vouch for you. If you’re applying for British citizenship, you’ll need to provide two referees that can vouch for your character, and also confirm your identity.

    A British Citizenship referee is someone who has known you for at least three years and can confirm that you are of good character. The referee should be able to provide evidence that they know you well, such as a written letter from them confirming their relationship with you.

    One of the British Citizenship referees must also be a UK resident, over the age of 18 and not related to you in any way (including spouse/partner). If they are your spouse or partner, they cannot act as your referee. The other referee can be of any nationality with a professional standing or aged over 25.

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    What Does a Referee Have to Do?

    A referee is a person who has agreed to act as a reference. This means they are responsible for providing information about you to the Home Office. They will be asked questions about your character, behaviour, and any criminal activity that may have taken place.

    You should select someone who knows you well, so they can speak about the personal details contained in your application form. If possible, choose someone who knows you personally and may have seen your passport or other identity documents.

    The referee must also confirm that you are not a threat to national security or public safety. This means they do not have any information that would put you at risk if it were released by the Home Office.

    It is important that these referees are able to provide accurate information about your character and life history. You should not ask someone who does not know you well or has no interest in your application.

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    Eligibility Criteria for Referees


    The Home Office has criteria for who can act as a British citizenship referee:

    • They must be aged 18 or older
    • They must have no criminal record
    • They must not be disqualified from acting as a referee
    • They must have known you for at least three years

    In addition to the above, the referees shouldn’t be your:

    • Relative
    • Related to your other referee
    • Solicitor representing you on your citizenship application
    • Employed by the Home Office

    One referee must be a person of professional standing, and this referee can be of any nationality. The second referee must be a British passport holder and be over 25 years old unless they are also a person of professional standing.

    If you live outside the UK and do not know a British citizen passport holder who is either a professional person or over the age of 25, you may ask a commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the country in which you are residing may sign and submit the form provided that they meet all other requirements and that the consul deems it acceptable.

    If the referees meet these criteria, they can apply for confirmation as British citizenship referees.

    Referee Requirements for Child Applications

    For child applicants, at least one of the referees must be a professional who has dealt with the child in a work-related manner, such as a teacher, doctor, healthcare worker or social worker.

    If a child does not have a referee who can verify that he or she has worked with them in a professional capacity, you may accept two referees who meet the criteria for adult referees.

    Who Cannot be a Referee for British Citizenship?

    It is not possible for an applicant to be a referee for themselves. Also, your referee cannot be someone you are related to or is related to the other referee.

    In addition, there are specific categories of people who are ineligible to act as referees:

    • People who currently have a criminal conviction in the UK or abroad (or have had one in the past few years)
    • People with mental health problems or learning disabilities that make it impossible for them to make an informed decision about whether or not they can act as a referee
    • Anyone who has been excluded from being a British citizenship referee due to previous bad behaviour

    If it becomes clear that you have included someone as a referee who does not meet the necessary requirements, your application may be delayed. To avoid this, make sure you only include eligible referees.

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      What Does Professional Standing Mean?

      Professional standing is a term used to describe the level of education, experience and knowledge that a person has.

      This term is used when deciding whether or not it is appropriate for someone to act as a referee in relation to British citizenship applications.

      What is an Acceptable Professional Person?

      The following professions are eligible to act as a British citizenship referee:

      • accountant
      • airline pilot
      • articled clerk of a limited company
      • assurance agent of a recognised company
      • bank or building society official
      • barrister
      • British Computer Society (BCS) – professional grades which are Associate (AMBCS), Member (MBCS), Fellow (FBCS) (PN 25/2003)
      • broker
      • chairman or director of a limited company
      • chemist
      • chiropodist
      • christian science practitioner
      • commissioner for oaths
      • councillor: local or county
      • civil servant (permanent)
      • dentist
      • designated premises supervisors
      • director or manager of a VAT-registered charity
      • director, manager or personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
      • driving instructor (approved)
      • engineer (with professional qualifications)
      • fire service official
      • funeral director
      • insurance agent (full-time) of a recognised company
      • journalist
      • justice of the Peace
      • legal secretary (members and fellows of the Institute of legal secretaries)
      • local government officer
      • manager or Personnel officer (of a limited company)
      • member of Parliament
      • member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces
      • Merchant Navy officer
      • minister of a recognised religion
      • nurse (RN, SEN or holder of a BA in nursing)
      • officer of the armed services (active or retired)
      • optician
      • paralegal (certified or qualified paralegals, and associate members of the
      • Institute of Paralegals)
      • person with honours (such as OBE, MBE and so on)
      • personal licensee holders
      • photographer (professional)
      • police officer
      • Post Office official
      • president or secretary of a recognised organisation
      • Salvation Army officer
      • social worker
      • solicitor
      • surveyor
      • teacher, lecturer
      • trade union officer
      • travel agency (qualified)
      • valuers and auctioneers (fellow and associate members of the incorporated society)
      • warrant officers and chief petty officers

      What Does a Referee Have to do?

      Referees must provide the Home Office with specific information about themselves and sign a declaration. The declaration must include the following information:

      • Full name
      • Address(es) for the last 3 years
      • Date of birth
      • Telephone number
      • Email address
      • Profession
      • British passport number (if British)
      • Details about how they know you

      By signing the declaration, the referees will confirm that:

      • The referee is qualified to act as a referee for your application
      • The photograph attached accurately depicts the applicant
      • They have read the “requirements of a referee” section of the form
      • They have read the application and are signing it so that, to the best of their knowledge, all details given in it are correct

      When the referee has completed the declaration, they can send it either in hard copy or electronically to the person processing your citizenship application.

      Will the Home Office check my referees?

      The Home Office may contact your referee if there is a problem with their information. If you provide two good referees, there should be no reason why you would not get British citizenship.

      The best way to ensure that this happens is to make sure that your referees are aware of what they’re signing and that they provide the correct information to the Home Office.

      If the referee is unable to provide the requested information, or if there are any inconsistencies in what is provided, you should be contacted by the Home Office so that you can make amendments.

      In the event that you provide false information, you could be liable for up to three months in prison or fined up to £5,000 or both.

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        What if My Referees Are Not Accepted?

        If your referees are not accepted, you have the option to resubmit a different set of referees. You can request that your application be reviewed again by sending in a new set of referee forms with the same supporting documents.

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

        How Can London Immigration Lawyers Help?

        If you are looking for a British Citizenship Referee, then we can help.

        We have been helping people with their immigration issues for several years now. Our services include help with visas, work permits, and more. We also provide assistance in cases where a client has been refused a visa or entry to the UK.

        Our team of lawyers has extensive experience in dealing with all types of immigration cases. We can help you determine your eligibility for naturalisation and gather the necessary documents needed to file an application. We will also assist you in preparing for any interview that may be required as part of your application process.

        Our experts will guide you through each step and make sure that your application is processed as quickly as possible.

        For immediate assistance with your citizenship situation, call our immigration advisors today at 020 4502 8582. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

        Call us for further assistance with your Citizenship application. Contact us

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