A common route to British citizenship is through naturalisation. But what does this mean and how complex is this process? We take a look at how you can naturalise as a British citizen and how much it is likely to cost you.

There are several ways for someone to get British citizenship. The most direct way would be having it passed down from your parents or grandparents – what is known as citizenship by descent.

However, many people naturalise as British citizens. What this means is that they have spent enough time in the UK on a qualifying visa to become a citizen of the country.

Which visas lead to settlement in the UK?

It’s important to remember that not all UK visas are eligible for settlement. Generally, short-term visas do not qualify, such as:

  • Visitor visa
  • Short-term student visa
  • Parent of a Child Student visa
  • Seasonal Worker visa
  • Student visa
  • Graduate visa
  • Youth Mobility Scheme visa
  • Visa with valid leave granted for a period of six months or less

However, if you are in the UK on any of the following visas, they will eventually lead to settlement, granted you meet the other requirements:

  • UK spouse visa
  • Fiancé visa
  • Dependant visa
  • UK Ancestry visa
  • UK Skilled Worker visa
  • Health and Care Worker visa
  • Global Business Mobility visa (Senior or Specialist Worker) under specific conditions
  • Innovator Founder visa 
  • Minister of Religion Visa (T2)
  • Global Talent visa
  • Scale-up visa

How to become a naturalised citizen of the UK

The first step to becoming a naturalised citizen is gaining indefinite leave to remain (ILR), which is permanent residency in the UK. You can do this once you’ve met the residency requirement as well as the following*:

  • Pass the Life in the UK Test
  • Prove your proficiency in English
  • Be of good character
  • Meet the residential and income requirements

*This isn’t a comprehensive list and our UK immigration consultants will be able to guide you through all the requirements for ILR.

When you have held ILR for 12 months, you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Applying for British citizenship

The process of citizenship by naturalisation depends on your own individual status, for instance:

  • Are you a national from the European Economic Area or Switzerland?
  • What kind of passport do you hold?
  • Are you married or in a relationship with a UK citizen?

While the naturalisation process is somewhat straightforward once you have ILR, there are stringent requirements that you need to meet. You need to make sure that you meet all these requirements before you submit your application.

To be eligible for citizenship by naturalisation in the UK you must:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Be of good character
  • Have the requisite language ability
  • Have passed the Life in the UK test
  • Intend to continue to live in the UK
  • Have spent the requisite amount of time in the UK and have held ILR

You can expect the process to look like this:

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