Gaining British Citizenship: A Comprehensive Guide to British Naturalisation
Many people dream of becoming British citizens. For those who are eligible, there is a straightforward process for gaining British naturalisation known as naturalisation. On successful completion of the process, an individual will be granted British citizenship. To help ensure that anyone seeking British naturalisation has the best possible chance of making their application and attaining their goal, here is our comprehensive guide to British naturalisation and the relevant immigration laws regarding it.
What is British Citizenship By Naturalisation?
British citizenship by naturalisation is the process of becoming a British citizen by passing through the legal process in the United Kingdom (or Crown Dependency). It also encompasses the rights, responsibilities and duties associated with British citizenship. The Home Office (the branch of the government responsible for immigration decisions) determines whether an applicant is eligible for British citizenship once the applicant has completed the process.
Eligibility Requirements For British Naturalisation
The eligibility requirements for naturalisation will vary from applicant to applicant. However, the most common criteria for applicants are as follows:
- Applicants must be over 18 years of age and possess a valid residence permit.
- Applicants must have been a legal resident in the UK for a minimum of 6 months with valid leave to remain in the country.
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the financial resources to support themselves while in the UK.
- Applicants must be able to communicate in English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish Gaelic to a specific standard.
- Applicants must have knowledge of life in the UK – this is assessed by passing the Life in the UK Test.
- Applicants must fulfil certain residence requirements, which vary depending on citizenship application.
- Applicants must show that they have been of good character throughout the naturalisation process.
- Applicants must prove their current nationality and renounce any other foreign nationalities they hold.
The Naturalisation Process
The process for naturalisation involves a number of steps:
- The applicant must first complete and submit the relevant application form.
- The applicant must then provide proof of their identity and nationality.
- Once these documents are verified, the applicant must pass the Life in the UK Test and demonstrate language skills.
- Following this, the applicant must provide evidence of their residency, finances and character.
- Finally, the applicant must attend a naturalisation ceremony where they will take the Oath of Allegiance.
The Naturalisation Oath
The Naturalisation Oath is the final step in the naturalisation process. It must be said in English (or Welsh) and is a solemn promise to accept the duties and responsibilities of British citizens. The oath is as follows:
“I, [name], swear by Almighty God that, on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to law”
Naturalisation Rights and Responsibilities
The rights and responsibilities of a British citizen holding citizenship by naturalisation are largely the same as those of a British citizen by natural-born birth. These include:
- The right to live and work in the UK, to go to school and university and to vote.
- The right to be protected by the law, to own property and to stand for public office.
- The responsibility to respect the legal system of the UK and to honour its laws and regulations.
- The responsibility to obey taxation laws and to serve on a jury when called upon.
- The responsibility to act as a responsible member of society and to participate in elections and referenda.
Fees Associated With Naturalisation
The cost of naturalisation can vary, depending on the applicant, but typically includes the following fees:
- The application fee – this covers the cost of processing the application and can be paid online.
- The nationality checking service (NCS) fee – this fee is paid directly to the NCS and is required for satisfactory completion of the application.
- The cost of a naturalisation ceremony – this must be paid directly to the local authority in which the ceremony is to be conducted.
FAQs on British Naturalisation
Q: How long does British naturalisation take?
A: The time it takes to accomplish naturalisation will vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the number of applications that the Home Office is processing, but typically it takes between 6 to 12 months from the date of submission of the application to the date the applicant receives naturalisation.
Q: Is there an official test to obtain British citizenship?
A: Yes, applicants must pass the Life in the UK Test in order to demonstrate their knowledge of life in the UK. It is an online multiple-choice test that is designed to assess whether the applicant has a good understanding of British laws, customs and culture.
Q: Is the Naturalisation Ceremony mandatory?
A: Yes, the naturalisation ceremony is mandatory and is the final step in the naturalisation process. The ceremony must be attended by the applicant and the Oath of Allegiance must be said in order for the application to be successful.
The Benefits Of British Naturalisation
Gaining British citizenship has a number of benefits for those eligible. These include:
- The opportunity to work, learn, and travel in the UK and throughout the European Union.
- Access to free healthcare and education in the UK.
- Ability to sponsor family members to come and live in the UK.
- Increased rights and privileges with regards to property ownership.
- Improved access to banking services, savings opportunities and loans.
- Greater job prospects and access to employment opportunities.
Gaining British citizenship is an exciting prospect for many people. With a clear understanding of the naturalisation process and the commitment of time and effort to completing the relevant application and procedures, anyone can have the opportunity to reach their goal and become a British citizen.
If you’re trying to gain British citizenship, or know someone who is, then take advantage of this comprehensive guide to naturalisation and gain peace of mind on the eligibility criteria, naturalisation procedures and the benefits of holding citizenship.