Who can be a referee for a British Citizenship application?

by | Dec 15, 2023 | British Citizenship, UK Immigration

When applying for British Citizenship by Naturalisation, applicants are required to provide two referees who can help prove and verify their identity. These referees must meet a set criteria and must have known the applicant for a specified period. In this post, we discuss the referee rules and requirements for a successful British Citizenship application. 

British citizenship referee requirements

The relevant guidance states that one referee can be of any nationality but must be a professional person. A professional person is one whose occupation falls under the acceptable professions list, these include a barrister, dentist, director of a VAT-registered company, member of parliament, nurse, optician or solicitor. 

The other referee must be the holder of a British citizen passport and either a professional person or over the age of 25.

Furthermore, the referee must not:

  • be related to the applicant or the other referee
  • be the applicant’s representative
  • be employed by the Home Office
  • have been convicted of an imprisonable offence in the last 10 years for which the sentence is not spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

What does a referee need to provide?

Referees must provide their details and sign a declaration confirming that they are eligible to act as a referee. They must confirm that the photograph is a true likeness of the applicant. Referees who provide false information, knowingly or recklessly, can face a fine of up to £5,000 or up to three months imprisonment.

The details they must provide include their:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • addresses for the last three years
  • profession
  • telephone number
  • email address
  • passport number, if a British passport holder; and
  • details of how they know the applicant.

Can a retiree be a referee for British citizenship?

The requirement for professional standing applies to only one referee. The second can be any British citizen over 25, including retirees. However, a retiree cannot act as a professional referee as they’re no longer bound by professional standards.

What happens if the referees do not meet the requirements?

If your referee doesn’t meet the requirements, the Home Office may ask for a different one, causing delays in the processing of your application. To avoid this, only include eligible referees in your application.

How we can help

To discuss your citizenship application with an experienced adviser from our team, please call us on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form

Frequently asked questions

Can my brother or sister be my British Citizenship referee?

No, a British citizenship referee cannot be related to the applicant.

Can my manager be my referee for British citizenship?

A manager of a limited company can be a referee for British citizenship.

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