Embarking on the journey to secure British citizenship through marriage involves understanding the intricacies of the application process. This blog post aims to address a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to applying for British Citizenship by Marriage.
Contrary to common belief, marrying a British citizen doesn’t automatically result in citizenship. However, eligibility allows for application upon meeting specific criteria. Importantly, this route offers the advantage of potentially applying immediately after gaining permanent settlement, provided three years of continuous UK residence can be demonstrated, as opposed to the typical 12-month waiting period associated with Naturalisation.
What are the eligibility criteria for British Citizenship by Marriage?
British Citizenship by marriage can be obtained if you are eligible to ‘naturalise’ as a British citizen under section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981. You must:
- Be aged 18 or over at the time of application
- Be married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
- Demonstrate your knowledge of English at the required level
- Have passed the Life in the UK test
- Have lived in the UK for the past 3 years and meet the residence requirements
- Be of sound mind
- Be of good character, meaning you have not breached any laws
- Be free from immigration time restrictions, meaning you hold ILR or Settled Status.
What is the residency requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage?
Applicants must have spent at least 270 days in the UK in the last three years, with no more than 90 days spent outside the UK in the last 12 months. Furthermore, they must have been present in the UK precisely 3 years before the date of application.
Can I apply if my spouse is a dual citizen?
Yes, as long as your spouse is a British citizen, their dual citizenship does not affect your eligibility.
When can I apply?
To apply for British citizenship by marriage or as a civil partner, it is recommended to submit your application once you acquire indefinite leave to remain (ILR), indefinite leave to enter (ILE) for the UK, or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, subject to meeting the additional criteria for citizenship.
Is it mandatory to take the Life in the UK Test?
Can I apply if my marriage breaks down during the application process?
If your marriage breaks down before a decision is made, it is advisable to inform the Home Office. Your eligibility may be affected, and legal advice is recommended.
How long does the application process take?
The processing time varies, but on average, it takes around six months. Factors such as case complexity and application volume can impact the timeline.
Is there an English language requirement for the application?
Yes, applicants are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language, typically by passing an approved English language test at level B1.
Can I include my children in the application?
Children may be included in a joint application, but they may have different eligibility criteria.
What if I have gaps in my UK residency during the qualifying period?
Gaps in residency may affect your eligibility, and it is essential to seek professional advice to address such issues.
Can I travel outside the UK during the application process?
Travelling outside the UK is usually permitted during the application process, as applicants will typically hold Indefinite Leave to Remain status.
What types of documents are required for the application?
Documents that are not in English must be translated by a certified translator. The supporting documentation will depend on the applicant’s circumstances, and may include the following:
- Evidence of Identity and nationality, such as a valid passport
- Evidence of knowledge of the English language or proof of exemption
- Evidence of Life in the UK in the form of a reference number or an official letter
- Evidence of Settlement in the UK: BRP card, passport showing permission to remain permanently or a Home Office letter indicating permission to remain permanently in the UK
- Evidence of Spouse/Partner’s British Citizenship: Spouse’s or civil partner’s current passport and naturalisation/registration certificate proving British citizenship
- Evidence of relationship: valid marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
- Evidence of UK Residence for the past 3 years.
Is there an age limit for applying for British Citizenship by Marriage?
There is no specific age limit, but applicants must meet other eligibility criteria.
Can I apply if my spouse is a permanent resident but not a British citizen?
British Citizenship by Marriage is specific to spouses of British citizens.
Is there a financial requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage?
Unlike some other immigration routes, there is no specific financial requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage. However, financial stability may be considered as part of the overall assessment.
British citizenship by Marriage Fees
British citizenship by marriage application fee is £1,580 as of 04 October 2023. This includes £80 towards the citizenship ceremony. In addition, you will need to pay for document translations, English language exams, and a Life in the UK test.
Does the UK permit dual nationality?
The United Kingdom permits dual nationality, affirming that UK law does not mandate the renunciation of your existing citizenship in another country. However, it is essential to verify the specific requirements of the countries in which you hold citizenship, as they may have regulations necessitating the renunciation of citizenship before pursuing British citizenship.
How We Can Help
Navigating the complexities of the British Citizenship by Marriage process can be overwhelming. Our immigration firm, with its wealth of experience, is dedicated to providing tailored guidance and support. From expert advice to meticulous document preparation, we are here to ensure your journey to British citizenship is smooth and successful. To discuss your British citizenship application with an experienced adviser, contact our friendly and professional team on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form.