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  1. Eligibility

There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’.

You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:

And you must usually have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application
  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK (this means there’s no specific date that you have to leave) or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national (and you have a permanent residence card or document that shows you have permanent residence)
  • had indefinite leave to stay in the UK for the last 12 months (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national with a permanent residence card or document that shows you have permanent residence)
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.

You can’t include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control (eg as a diplomat or member of visiting armed forces) as part of the 5 years.

Read the full guidance notes and the requirements booklet before applying.

You may be able to apply to become a British citizen by ‘registration’ in certain circumstances.

Children under 18

You can apply on behalf of a child under 18 if they meet the eligibility criteria. They don’t have to pass the Life in the UK Test.

  1. If your spouse is a British citizen

If you’re married to, or the civil partner of, a British citizen, you can apply for citizenship if:

Unless your spouse or civil partner works abroad either for the UK government or for an organisation closely linked to government, you must usually also have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 3 years before your application is received
  • spent no more than 270 days outside the UK in those 3 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK.

 

  1. After you’ve applied

You’ll get a letter confirming your application. It can take up to 4 weeks for you to get the confirmation.

A decision about your application will usually be made within 6 months - some applications can take longer.

You’ll be told if you need to give more information to help with your application. You should also contact UK Visas and Immigration if your situation changes (eg, you move house, get married or are arrested) during your application.

  1. Citizenship ceremonies

You’ll be invited to book a place at a citizenship ceremony if your application is successful and you’re over 18. During the ceremony you’ll be presented with your certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack.

Ceremonies in the UK

Your ceremony will usually take place close to where you live.

Citizenship ceremonies are organised by your local council and are usually done in groups. Book your citizenship ceremony with your council. You can ask for a private ceremony.

Ceremonies outside the UK

If you’re registering to become a British citizen and you can’t be in the UK, your citizenship ceremony will take place at the embassy or consulate in the country you’re living in.

You’ll need to make an oath or affirmation of allegiance but you won’t need to attend a citizenship ceremony if you’re registering to become a:

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