Becoming A UK Citizen: The Basics Explained

The United Kingdom is a fantastic country to live in, so it’s no surprise that so many people want to become UK citizens. Our handy guide gives you the lowdown on the immigration process. Firstly, it’s worth understanding what citizenship really means. It means that you’ll have the right to live and work in the UK, and while you’re there you’ll also be expected to abide by all the laws of the land.
When you’re planning your application, take some time to get to know who can apply as this varies between cases. Some general requirements include the need to be of ‘good character’ if you are over the age of 10 and also the need to be of sound mind. Also, if you have been living in the UK for over 5 years and are over 18, then the process you go through will be one of ‘naturalization’ to become a full citizen and the application is different.
You also need to check out how your specific situation and circumstances will impact on the type of citizenship application you need to make. Also be aware that there are separate processes for registering adults and children. If you are a British sources of contemporary law national, although not a citizen, or if you lived in the UK for a time as a child, then there are specific application pathways for this. Similarly, if you’re from the EU or a Commonwealth country, you have to make a different type of application.
Once you have ascertained the type of application you need to make, there are three ways of applying. The first is through the Nationality Checking Service, which is provided by local authorities in the UK. This method was introduced in 2005 and big law job security there’s only a 2% refusal rate. The second way is through a representative, who you should make sure is registered with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner. You can also apply as an individual, without any professional support.
Waiting times following an application can vary, although 95% of citizenship decisions are made within 6 months. Following application success, your next step is to attend a citizenship ceremony. You must attend one of these within 3 months of being invited to do so or you’ll have to apply again. The ceremony includes pledging your commitment to the UK’s laws, rights and freedoms, plus an oath of allegiance. These ceremonies are only for adults; children aren’t required to make the oath or pledge.

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