British Citizenship

There are number of ways that a person can become a British Citizen.

You may qualify for automatic British Citizenship, you may have to register as a British Citizen or alternatively you may have to naturalise as a British Citizen.


You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’re of good character, eg you don’t have a serious or recent criminal record
  • you’ll continue to live in the UK
  • you’ve met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements
  • you meet the residency requirement
  • And you must usually have:
  • lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application
  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national) - this means there’s no specific date that you have to leave
  • had indefinite leave to stay in the UK for the last 12 months (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national)
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.


Registering as a British citizen is usually simpler than becoming naturalised, but you must be eligible.

You may be eligible if:

  • you have another form of British nationality
  • you were born before 1 January 1983 to a British mother
  • you were born to a British father, even if he was not married to your mother
  • you were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983
  • you’re under 18 and don’t fit into the other categories
  • you have a connection with Gibraltar or Hong Kong
  • you’re stateless

As well as belonging to one of these groups there are other eligibility rules for each category.

The requirements are different for each and if you feel you qualify for Citizenship you should contact one of our lawyers.