Naturalisation – British Citizenship
British citizenship is one of the six different forms of British nationality. Some of these were defined in the British Nationality Act 1981, which came into force on 1 January 1983.
The forms of nationality are:
- British citizenship;
- British overseas citizenship;
- British overseas territories citizenship;
- British protected person;
- British national (overseas).
- British subject.
Only British citizens, and certain British subjects with right of abode through qualifying connections under the Immigration Act 1971, have the right to live and work in the UK. People holding one of the other forms of nationality may live and work in the UK if their immigration status allows it.
If you are over 18 and have been living in the United Kingdom for the last five years (or three years if you are married to or a civil partner of a British citizen) you may be able to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. You may also be able to apply for naturalisation if you or your husband, wife or civil partner is in crown or designated service outside the United Kingdom.
There are seven requirements you need to meet before you apply:
- you are aged 18 or over; and
- you are of sound mind; and
- you can communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to an acceptable degree; and
- you have sufficient knowledge of life in the United Kingdom; and
- you are of good character; and
- you are the husband, wife or civil partner of a British citizen; and
- you meet the residential requirements; or
- your husband, wife or civil partner is in Crown or designated service outside the United Kingdom.
You must meet the residential requirements (see below). Residential requirements
To demonstrate the residential requirements for naturalisation, you must have:
- been resident in the UK for at least five years (this is known as the residential qualifying period); and
- been present in the UK five years before the date of your application; and
- not spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the five-year period; and
- not spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months of the five-year period; and
- not been in breach of the Immigration Rules at any stage during the five-year period
Or if you are the husbsand, wife or civil partner of a British Citizen you must meet the residential requirement below:
- have been resident in the United Kingdom for at least three years (this is known as the residential qualifying period); and
- have been present in the United Kingdom three years before the date of your application; and
- have not spent more than 270 days outside the United Kingdom during the three-year period; and
- have not spend more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom in the last 12 months of the three-year period; and
- have not been in breach of the immigration rules at any stage during the three-year period.
Right of abode
This is the right to live permanently in the UK without any immigration restrictions. It means you do not need an immigration officer’s permission to enter the country, and can live and work here without restriction. All British citizens have the right of abode in the UK. Some Commonwealth citizens also have the right of abode.
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