British Citizenship by Naturalisation – Top 10 questions answered

by | Dec 22, 2020 | British Citizenship, UK Immigration

The requirements for an application of British Citizenship by Naturalisation stem from the British Nationality Act 1981. Applicants must be sure that they meet the basic requirements for British Naturalisation as the application fee of £1330 is non-refundable.

For better understanding, we have answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) around the British Citizenship by Naturalisation application and process. 

How do I know if I am “free from immigration time restrictions”? 

The Naturalisation guidance provides ways in which a person can demonstrate that they are free from time restrictions. This may be as a passport showing permission to remain permanently in the UK, a biometric residence permit (BRP) showing Indefinite Leave to Remain or Enter or Permanent Residence under the EEA Regulations

You must be free from immigration time restrictions for at least 12 months prior to your application. However, if you are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen then you will need to be free from immigration time restrictions on the date you make your British citizenship application. 

Will my application fee be refunded if my application is refused or withdrawn?

Unfortunately, the naturalisation application fee of £1330 will not be refunded if your application is not successful. Only the £80 cost for the Citizenship ceremony will be refunded. Therefore, we highly recommend seeking professional advice whilst applying for Naturalisation.

I can speak English fluently, do I still need to take an English language test? 

Even if you speak the English language, you will need to prove that you satisfy the knowledge of language requirement if you in one of the following ways:

  • You are a national of a majority English speaking countries, that include – Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; United States of America;
  • You have a degree obtained in the UK; 
  • By passing a Home Office approved speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher
  • Have a degree certificate that was taught or researched in a majority English speaking country and an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from UK NARIC confirming the qualification is equivalent to a UK qualification;
  • By having a degree certificate that was taught or researched in a non-majority English speaking country and: an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from UK NARIC confirming the qualification is equivalent to a UK qualification and an English Language Proficiency Statement (ELPS) from UK NARIC showing that your degree was taught in English.

I have been stuck abroad for more than 3 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, can I still apply for Naturalisation?

You can apply for Naturalisation by discretion. The Nationality policy states for absences between 100 to 180 days, discretion may be exercised if both of the following requirements can be satisfied:

  • You have demonstrated that they have made this country your home by establishing a home, employment family, property and finances in the UK; and 
  • the absence is justified by Crown service or by compelling occupational or compassionate reasons, including inability to travel because of a global pandemic

What is the good character requirement for a British Naturalisation application?

The British Nationality Act 1981 requires any person who wishes to naturalise as a British Citizen to be of ‘Good Character’. The Nationality policy guidance explains how this requirement is assessed. This good character requirement relates to criminality, terrorism, financial soundness, notoriety deception and dishonesty and immigration-related matters such as unlawful residence in the UK due to overstaying. 

How do I book the Life in the UK test for Naturalisation?

The test must be booked through the official UK government website which can be found by clicking here. If successful, you will receive a unique reference number which you must provide along with your naturalisation application. 

Who can be a referee for my British Naturalisation application? 

As part of your Naturalisation application, you will need to provide two referees. One referee must be the holder of a British Citizen passport (and either a professional person or over the age of 25). The other referee should be a person (of any nationality) who has professional standing. This can include a minister of religion, civil servant or a member of a professional body such as an accountant or solicitor (who is not representing you with this application). Further information, please visit our other post – Referees in British Citizenship applications.

Where can I find the referee declaration form for the British Naturalisation application?

The referee declaration form is available for download towards the end of the online naturalisation application before the submission stage.

How soon will I receive my British passport?

After your naturalisation application to become a British citizen is successful, you will need to make another application for a British passport. The naturalisation process is just the first step to eligibility for the issue of a British passport. 

Can I pay for priority service to get my British naturalisation certificate sooner?

At the moment there is no priority service for the British Naturalisation application. The official Home Office processing time for a British Naturalisation application is up to 6 months. However, in our experience well-prepared applications may be processed sooner than 6 months.

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