British Nationality

The process of becoming a British Citizen is not covered by the Immigration Rules. Instead, a person can choose to naturalise or register under the British Nationality Act 1981.

What is the process?

  1. Naturalisation

    To naturalise as a British Citizen, a person must be over 18 years and be free from immigration time restrictions (i.e. hold indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom) for a period of at least 12 months (unless married to a British Citizen, in which case a person can apply as soon as they receive their grant of indefinite leave to remain). The Home Office will expect a number of requirements to be met including, but not limited to, the residence requirement (5 or 3 years in the UK depending on whether the Applicant is married to a British Citizen), the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirement, the good character requirement and the future intentions requirement. The naturalisation rules are strict and even a simple mistake on the application form can lead to refusal and potentially a ban on reapplying for nationality for a period of 10 years. It is therefore imperative that the application is completed accurately, to ensure a positive outcome.
  2. Child Registration

    The process of applying for child registration under the British Nationality Act of 1981 for British citizenship covers a wide range of circumstances. It’s important to note that registration as a British Citizen does not always require a person to hold indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. There are several potential routes to Registration as a British Citizen, including but not limited to:
    • A person born in the UK, whose parent(s) have subsequently been granted indefinite leave to remain, conferring entitlement to registration.
    • A person born in the UK who has completed the initial 10 years of their life within the UK, also conferring an entitlement to registration.
    • A Person born to a serving member of HM Armed Forces.
    • Individuals born outside the UK, having completed residence in the UK of at least 10 years and aged under 18 years at the time of application; however, this falls under discretionary provision. The Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) carefully evaluates the child’s future, which is expected to be rooted in the UK. Factors such as the child’s immigration status, the duration of residence, and the immigration status of the child’s immediate family members are integral to this evaluation.
    It’s crucial to recognise that there are additional circumstances beyond those listed above, under which a child may qualify for registration. Should you seek impartial legal guidance regarding your child’s eligibility to register as a British Citizen, we stand ready to provide you with the necessary assistance. The act of registering a child as a British Citizen is a pivotal and rewarding decision, affirming their right to reside within the United Kingdom. This privilege plays a crucial role in the child’s future prospects, particularly in contexts such as applications for student financial support and other vital opportunities.

How can we help?

It’s clear that the process of becoming a British citizen involves navigating a maze of requirements and conditions. Our team of qualified immigration solicitors specializes in British Nationality law and can provide expert guidance to help individuals understand and meet all the necessary requirements. We offer comprehensive support, guiding our clients through each step of the process to ensure they achieve the desired outcome.

Right of Abode:

Section 1(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 exempts from immigration control persons who have the right of abode in the UK, if they can prove that they have the right of abode. This means that they do not need to obtain the permission of an immigration officer to enter the UK and may live and work without restriction. There are two categories of people with the right of abode in the United Kingdom:
  • British Citizens.
  • Commonwealth citizens who had the right of abode immediately before 1 January 1983 and who have not, since then, ceased to be Commonwealth citizens.

How can we help?

If you feel that you are entitled to the right of abode in the United Kingdom, our dedicated immigration team can advise you of your right to obtain a certificate of entitlement to the same, whilst guiding you through the application process.

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