- What is British Citizenship by Marriage?
- Eligibility requirements
- Other requirements
- Good character
- Costs and fees
- Residency Requirements
- UK Nationality by Marriage
- How to apply if you’re a settled person
- How to Apply for a British Passport
- UK Nationality for your Children
- Processing times
- UK Citizenship if your Partner Dies
- How Can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is British Citizenship by Marriage?
British citizenship through marriage refers to the naturalisation of foreign nationals from overseas who are married to or in a civil partnership with a British national, and therefore go through the process of becoming a British citizen themselves.
Obtaining citizenship via this route is the last step you need to clear before you can settle with your partner in the UK permanently. Once you become naturalised, as a British citizen you are free to live, work or study in the UK without being subject to immigration controls.
Additionally, there will be no limits on the time allowed outside the country, which will mean you’re free to leave and re-enter the UK as many times as you like, without the need to apply for a UK visa.
You should bear in mind that being married to a British citizen doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll qualify to become a British citizen yourself. There are other criteria which you must first meet in order to naturalise.
First, you must be married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or permanent resident. In order to apply for British citizenship via this specific route, there are a number of requirements which you must first meet in order to qualify.
To be eligible to apply for citizenship via marriage, you must:
- Have passed the Life in the UK test that will demonstrate an understanding of the customs, culture and history of the United Kingdom
- Have a UK permanent residence status with possession of possession of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- Have lived in the UK for three years or more
- Demonstrate the ‘Good Character’ requirement by having not committed any criminal offences
- Be 18+
- Demonstrate a competence of both written and spoken English by passing an accredited exam
To qualify for British citizenship by marriage, you must have lived in the UK continuously for at least three years prior to making your application. You must also meet the residency conditions, which means you must not have done any of the following:
- Spent above the permitted 270 days outside the country during the three-year qualifying period before you making your application
- Spent more than 90 days abroad during the final 12 months of your qualifying period
- Broken any UK immigration laws at any time during your time spent in the United Kingdom
Anyone making an application to become a British citizen must complete and pass the Life in the UK test. The test is designed to assess whether applicants can demonstrate a competent knowledge of British customs, history and culture.
The Life in the UK test is completed on a computer at one of 30 official test centres around the UK. Those taking the test will be asked 24 questions, and only those scoring at least 75% will receive a pass. Once you’ve passed the test, you’ll receive a certificate.
When making an application to become a British citizen, the process places an emphasis on the applicant making a positive contribution to British society. The ‘Good Character’ requirement plays a key role in determining this, and it shows the Home Office that the applicant has obeyed the laws and not committed any crime since arriving in the country.
When an application is made, the Home Office will generally take into account the following:
- Criminal convictions
- Breaking any immigration law
- Financial soundness
- War crimes or terrorism charges
In the event the applicant has a severe and recent custodial sentence of four years or more, the citizenship application will be denied outright. Likewise, any immigration-related offences will also cause the application to be rejected, as this is an area looked at with a great deal of importance when an application for citizenship is being assessed. Anyone found to be guilty of entering the country illegally or breaking rules pertaining to their immigration status will be rejected.
You should also bear in mind that any custodial sentence from 12 months to four years could also affect your citizenship application unless 15 years have passed since the end of your sentence. Positive actions, such as any contribution you’ve made to society, will also be looked at. Therefore, if there’s anything you feel will add weight to your application then you should mention this during the ‘Good Character’ assessment.
Costs and Fees
It costs £1,330 to apply for British citizenship by marriage.
In addition, there are some other costs you should also take into account before you make your citizenship application. These include:
- Life in the UK test – £50
- English test – £150
- Biometric information (fingerprints and photographs) taken – £19.20
- Translation of documents – costs may vary depending on documents
If your application for British citizenship is rejected, then unfortunately you won’t be refunded for the application fee. This is why it’s important to send all the correct and relevant documentation, and our immigration lawyers can help go over your citizenship application and make sure everything is in order to give you the best chance of success.
To qualify for British citizenship as a spouse of a UK national, you must have lived in the UK for three years before you submit your application.
You are also required to meet the residency condition. In other words, you must not have:
- Spent more than 270 days outside the UK during the three-year qualifying period before your application
- Spent more than 90 days abroad in the last 12 months before you submit your forms
- Broken any UK immigration law at any time during your residency in the UK.
UK Nationality by Marriage
Those looking to become a British citizen by marriage need to have continually lived in the UK for at least three years prior to the submission of their citizenship application. In addition, they also need to hold Indefinite Leave to Remain and must be deemed a settled person as a result.
Once granted ILR, before applying for full British citizenship a person must have been a settled person for at least 12 months.
Before you can apply for full British citizenship, you must hold one of the following:
- Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- EU Settled Status
- EEA Permanent Residence
Keep in mind you’ll be asked to provide proof of these when you’re making your application to become a British citizen.
How to Apply if you're a Settled Person
If you’re the spouse of a British citizen then you’ll be eligible to naturalise within three years. However, you should keep in mind that you must already be settled in the UK, and you must have spent at least five years in the country to be eligible for ILR.
Therefore, it will usually take at least five years to obtain British citizenship by marriage or civil partnership, but this may also increase depending on the waiting time for each stage of the application process.
First, you must apply for a spouse visa or an unmarried partner visa. If you are granted one of these then you’ll be allowed to stay in the United Kingdom for 2.5 years. After this period, if you want to remain in the UK then you need to apply for an extension to your visa.
After that, once you’ve been living in the UK for a minimum of five years then you’ll be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Once you have been grated ILR, you’re then eligible to make an application for citizenship and can naturalise as a British citizen via the route of marriage or civil partnership.
If you wish to use this naturalisation route, you must apply using the Form AN on the government’s official website.
Once you’ve submitted the From AN to the Home Office and the relevant fees have been paid, you’ll then need to book an appointment with the nearest UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre. Here, they’ll record all of your digital information.
Both your fingerprints and digital photographs will be taken, which will then need to be submitted as part of your application. You can also scan and submit a copy of your documentation.
For those who prefer not to apply online, you can submit your application, along with supporting documentation and payment via post to the Home Office.
Once you’ve submitted your application for British citizenship, you should receive a decision from the Home Office within six months. However, please bear in mind that any missing documents or any mistakes or errors on your application are likely to cause delays.
How to Apply for a British Passport
After receiving your proof of British citizenship, you can apply for your first adult passport. Even if you are 16 years old or older, you are still permitted to travel with a British child passport until it expires.
Adult passports have a ten-year validity period and can be used to prove your British citizenship. Additionally, it is recognised as valid identity when travelling internationally.
You won’t need to apply for a visa to leave and enter the nation at any time if you naturalise in the UK and receive your passport.
Online applications will cost £82.50 starting in February 2023, while paper applications will cost £93. If you are submitting your forms from outside the UK, fees may change.
UK Nationality for your Children
Children who are born in the UK and have at least one parent who is a British citizen or a settled person automatically get British nationality.
To determine whether your children are eligible to get British citizenship in any other way, it is always advisable to seek legal advice.
You should receive a response from the Home Office within six months after submitting your request. However, if you fail to provide sufficient supporting documentation or if you make a mistake when filling out your papers, it can take the UKVI longer to process your application for British citizenship.
It is imperative that you inform UKVI of any change of circumstance as soon as possible to prevent you being prosecuted for failing to notify of situations such as separation, divorce, or death.
UK Citizenship if your Partner Dies
Unfortunately, if your British partner passed away before you submitted your paperwork, you cannot seek for citizenship.
However, you can be qualified for British nationalisation through alternative immigration processes if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain, EU settled status, or permanent residency status.
How Can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers Help?
Here at Newcastle immigration lawyers, we know that the process to become a British citizen can be both a complex and stressful one, especially if you’re looking to settle with a loved one. Our Newcastle team of immigration lawyers are here to provide all their expertise and help make your journey towards gaining British citizenship as smooth as possible.
Based on your specific circumstances, a dedicated case worker will assess your case and investigate all the options to help you naturalise as a British citizen.
Your lawyer will also ensure there are no issues with your British citizenship by marriage application, avoiding any unnecessary delays and guaranteeing your documentation is submitted without any mistakes.
Your dedicated Newcastle immigration lawyer will assess your case, establish whether you’re eligible and help you collate all the required documentation. In addition, they will also write a Letter of Representation and complete your British citizenship application to the highest of standards.
Call us on 020 4502 8582 or fill out the online form to enquire or to begin your British citizenship by marriage application.
Last modified on April 13th, 2023 at 10:15 am
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If your application to become a UK citizen is rejected, the Home Office will write to you outlining the reasons why. Although there is no right of appeal, if you believe the decision is wrong or should be reviewed then you can request for this to be done using the form NR on the gov.uk website.
You won’t receive a refund if your application for British citizenship by marriage is rejected.
Applications for Naturalisation are submitted only through the post, so compiling your documents beforehand is crucial. Applicants are required to complete Form AN, Application for Naturalisation as a British Citizen. This form is notoriously long and can be tricky to navigate. With the help of our immigration lawyers, we will be able to guide you through it to help you complete it correctly.
Applicants may need to pass a language test as well as the Life in the UK test. You will also need to gather your travel details for the past five years, as UKVI are thorough with their assessment of each applicant.