close menu

UK naturalisation
for non-EU nationals

In order to naturalise in the UK, you will first need to qualify for indefinite leave to remain.

Find out if you qualify for a British passport

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) is the status of permanent residency for non-EU nationals in the UK. It is possible for a person holding ILR to naturalise in the UK as a British citizen.

The requirements to be met are dependent on two factors:

  • Are you married to a British citizen?
  • Are you not married to a British citizen?

In both cases, the following criteria apply:

  • You must be over 18 years old
  • You must be of good character (see below)
  • You must pass the “Life in the UK” Test*
  • You must have sufficient knowledge of the English language*
  • You must have an intention to live in the UK

* An applicant over the age of 65 is not subject to meeting this criteria

Applicants who are married to a British citizen

There are specific requirements for naturalisation if you are married to a British citizen. The applicant:

  • Must hold ILR on the date of application
  • Must have been resident in the UK for three years on any legal visa status
  • Must have been present in the UK on the date three years prior to the application being received by the Nationality Directorate
  • Cannot have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in those three years*
  • Cannot have been outside the UK for more than 90 days in the 12 months before your application*

As a married partner, you can apply for naturalisation immediately after receiving ILR.

*Exceptions can apply based on individual circumstances to allow further time away outside of the UK

Applicants not married to a British citizen

The requirements for naturalisation if you are not married to a British citizen are slightly different to those set out above.

An applicant must:

  • Have held ILR for at least the last 12 months
  • Have been in the UK for the last five years
  • Have been present in the UK on the date five years prior to the application being received by the Nationality Directorate
  • Not have been outside the UK for more than 450 days during those 5 years*
  • Not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days in the 12 months before your application*

* Exceptions can apply based on individual circumstances to allow further time away outside  of the UK

Good character

The good character requirement goes beyond the scope of simply being free from criminal convictions and includes (but is not limited to):

  • Traffic offences
  • Not being up-to-date with tax returns and tax payments
  • Bankruptcy
  • County Court Judgements (CCJ) or an overseas equivalent
  • Overstaying your visa (even by a single day)
  • Working when your visa did not permit it

Any person affected by the above should seek professional advice before attempting an application.

Find out more about children under 18 resident in the UK. 

 

Conditions for naturalisation in the UK

Once your naturalisation application is approved, you will be invited to attend a British citizenship ceremony. This ceremony can only take place in your local council area in the UK. Once you have done this, you will be eligible to submit an application for a British passport.

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
London
WC1A 1DG
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

Australia

Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

This site uses cookies, read more or close this notice.