Applying to naturalise as a British citizen: eligibility
Produced in partnership with Francesca Delany; and Andrew Osborne and Bronte Cullum of Lewis Silkin
Applying to naturalise as a British citizen: eligibility

The following Immigration practice note produced in partnership with Francesca Delany; and Andrew Osborne and Bronte Cullum of Lewis Silkin provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Applying to naturalise as a British citizen: eligibility
  • Eligibility overview
  • Non-spouse or civil partner of a British citizen
  • Spouse or civil partner of a British citizen
  • Age
  • Full capacity
  • Waiver of the full capacity requirement
  • Good character
  • Future intentions
  • Knowledge of language and life in the UK
  • More...

Applying to naturalise as a British citizen: eligibility

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for Immigration?

Naturalisation is the most common way for adults to acquire British citizenship. The naturalisation route to British citizenship enables adults who do not fulfil automatic registration criteria but who have lived in the UK for specified periods to apply to become a British citizen.

A person who becomes a British citizen through naturalisation is considered a British citizen otherwise than by descent.

The current legal framework governing the criteria under which an application for naturalisation can be made is set out in the British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA 1981).

BNA 1981, s 6 and Sch 1 set out a series of requirements, some of which are compulsory and others of which are subject to an exercise of discretion on the part of the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) to disregard.

The requirements for naturalisation are

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