British naturalisation rules can be complicated. For instance, you do not automatically get British citizenship if you were born in the UK. It depends on when you were born and your parent’s circumstances. The requirements for ‘naturalisation’ as British citizen are set out in the British Nationality Act 1981
If you moved to the UK you may be able to apply for citizenship by ‘naturalisation’:
Marriage or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
To apply as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen you must have lived in the UK for the last 3 years. You will also need to have one of the following:
– settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
– a permanent residence document to confirm you have permanent residence status
If you do, you might potentially be eligible to apply for citizenship immediately.
You have indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
You can usually for apply for ILR after you have resided in the UK for 5 years. However, you must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting ILR.
You have ‘permanent residence’ status
You have “settled status” under the EU Settlement Scheme
Other ways you can be eligible
– you have a British parent
– you have another type of British nationality
– you are stateless
– you previously renounced your British citizenship
If you are a Commonwealth citizen
You may be eligible to apply for citizenship under the Windrush Scheme if both:
– you or one of your parents arrived in the UK before 1973
– you have lived in the UK and not been away from it for more than 2 years
If your parent arrived in the UK before 1973, you must have either:
– been born in the UK
– arrived in the UK before you were 18
As a rough outline, the qualifying criteria for citizenship are as follows: continuous residence in the UK (with an absence requirement that needs to be met), good character, knowledge of language and life in the UK and an intention to live in the UK (unless already married to a British citizen). You also need to be 18 or older to apply and to be of sound mind. The residence requirement takes into account the number of days absence from the UK; under the 3 year qualifying rule (i.e. being married to a British citizen) you should not have spent more than 270 days in total outside of the UK in the 3 years, and no more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the application for Citizenship. If you are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen and you fall under the 5 year qualifying period then you should not have been away from the UK for more than 450 days in total (and, again, no more than 90 days in the 12 months leading up to the date of application).
There are other ways of applying and there are a number of other potential pitfalls, but Hurlingham Law can advise on all aspects of British citizenship, whether you intend on applying, do not qualify or have already been refused. Contact us.