How to Become a British Citizen
The law concerning British citizenship and nationality are complex due to the United Kingdom's long standing history of monarchist power. However, the two basic ways you can become a citizen are through becoming a naturalized citizen after living in the UK for 5 years, or by marrying a British citizen and living in the country for 3 years. You must meet certain requirements to apply.
Becoming a Naturalized Citizen
Live in the UK.To be a naturalized citizen, generally you must live in the UK for five years prior to applying for citizenship.To live in the UK, you must have some type of visa.
- Some types of visas that allow you to live in the UK are a work visa, a student visa, a visa granted to family members or partners, a retired person visa, or a visitor visa.
Complete the application to settle in the UK.This application will ask you about your visa and current situation. If accepted, you will be allowed to stay indefinitely, and you won't have a specified date for leaving the country like you do with a visa.,
- This application must be completed a year before applying for citizenship.
Have a clean criminal record.You must be in good standing to be a UK citizen, though usually minor infractions won't count against you.
Decide to stay in the UK.You must be planning on living in the UK if you want to apply for naturalized citizenship.
- You also must have lived a certain number of days in the UK prior to your application date; you can only have stayed 450 days out of the UK in the previous 5 years and 90 days in the last year.
Prove your English competency.You must prove you are capable of speaking English, which is expanded on in a later section.
Pass the Life in the UK Test.This test is on British culture and life, and you'll find more on it in a later section.
Apply and pay the fee.You must pay a fee based on what type of citizenship you're applying for.
- You can apply one of three ways: 1) Pull the form from online, fill it out, and mail it in; 2) Visit your local NCS, and they will help you fill it out; or 3) Use a private agency or individual, who can also help you fill it out.
Becoming a British Citizen Through Your Spouse
Live in the UK.You must have lived in the UK for the past 3 years and not have been out of the country more than 270 days in that time period or 90 days in the last year.You must have some type of visa to live in the UK. Generally, for this type of citizenship, you'd have a partner visa, but you may have also been in the UK under other visas, such as a visitor visa or a student visa.
Be over the age of 18.You must be of legal age to gain citizenship this way in the UK.
Have a clean record.That is, you don't have any serious recent crimes on your record.
Be capable of making decisions.This requirement is also called being of sound mind. Essentially, the government wants to know you are entering into the marriage and country of your own free will.
Prove your English capabilities.You must prove you can speak English, which is expanded on below.
Pass the Life in the UK Test.This test covers British culture, life, and government, and you'll find more information on it below.
Apply for and be granted the right to settle in the UK.This means that you must be granted the right to live in the UK without a specific date to leave.
Apply and pay for the application.Every application costs to fill out and send in.
- You have three ways you can apply for citizenship: 1) Pull the form from online, fill it out, and mail it in; 2) Visit your local NCS, and they will help you fill it out; or 3) Use a private agency or individual, who can also help you fill it out.
Passing the Life in the UK Test
Purchase the study guide.The guide is calledLife in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents, 3rd Edition.
Understand what it covers.The book and test will cover things such as how to become a citizen and what you need to know about British traditions. It will also talk about British law and government, so you can become acquainted with the culture. In addition, you'll look at British history and events.
Study for the test.Read through the book and use it to learn what you need for the exam.
Book the test.You must book the test a week ahead of time, and it does cost a fee.
- You'll need an email address, an ID, and a debit card to book online.
Gather your materials.Take the same ID to the test that you booked the test with online. You also need something to prove your address, such as an electricity or water bill, credit card statement, bank statement, a letter from the Home Office that has your name and address on it, or a UK driver's license.
- You need these documents to take the exam. The government won't let you take it without them, and you will not get your money back.
Take the test.You'll have to go to a test center to take it.
- The test should take less than an hour. You will need to answer about 24 questions, usually.
- You must get 75 percent of the questions correctly to receive a pass notification letter. You will then submit the letter with your application to settle or your application for citizenship. As you only get one copy of the letter, do not lose it.
- If you fail, you can take the test again in a week. However, you do have to book and pay for the test again.
Proving Your English Competency
Come from an English-speaking country.The easiest way to pass this hurdle is to come from an English-speaking country, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United States.If you come from one of these countries, you do not actually have to prove your competency.
Have an English level of B1, B2, C1 or C2.Essentially, these levels mean you must be at least an intermediate speaker.
Take a test to prove your competency.The UK has a list of approved tests that you can use to prove this competency.
Have received a degree that was administered in English.In other words, you have a college degree from an English-speaking university.
- Having a degree is an alternate way to prove your competency. You do not need this achievement in addition to the previous test. You just need one or the other.
QuestionHow do I become a British citizen through lineage?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou must have at least one grandparent born in the UK. There is a Visa for that.Thanks!
QuestionCan I apply for UK citizenship if I was born in the UK while my parents were not citizens?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionWhat is the name of a book that will help me to improve my English?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl, The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway, The Giver – Lois Lowry.Thanks!
How do I get citizenship in the UK by having a job?
How much does it cost to become a British citizen?
I have a friend in the Philippines whose father was English. The father died several years ago, could my friend come to England?
What do I need to do for my new spouse to become a British citizen and have her live with me in the UK?
How do I become a British citizen through invitation?
To become a British citizen, note that you must have lived for at least 5 years in the UK. First, you must apply to settle in the UK so you can remain in Britain indefinitely. Then, study for and pass the Life in the UK test, which includes questions about becoming a citizen and British traditions. If you're from a non-English speaking country, you'll also need to take an English test to prove your proficiency. Then, download the application form for British citizenship and fill it out. Finally, mail your completed application and pay the relevant fee.
- You can become a registered citizen if you meet certain requirements, which is a simpler process. You must have been born to a British mother (on or before January 1, 1983) or father, be stateless, have British nationality in another form, or be connected to Gibraltar or Hong Kong. You may also fall under this category if you don't fit under other categories and you're under 18.
Sources and Citations
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Video: How to Become a British Citizen the 3-Year Route
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