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What is the difference between British Citizenship and Naturalisation?

Technically, being a British citizen is an immigration status, whereas Naturalisation is the legal process and the means to British citizenship.

Having British citizenship means you’re able to work, live and study in the UK without any time restrictions.

It also means you are entitled to access to both public funds and a British passport.

Newcastle Immigration lawyers can help you with your citizenship application. Call today on 028 4379 8565 or visit us online.

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    British Citizenship

    UK citizenship and nationality laws are usually complex due partly to British imperial histories and historical relationships.

    Sometimes there may be a need for several generations of documentation for identification if one is a British citizen or is qualified for British citizenship.

    Citizenship is a lengthy process, and one that could likely lead to refusal if applicants are not genuine.

    You must have already acquired ILR, EU settled status or EEA permanent residence status to be considered for British citizenship.

    You can apply for citizenship if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and have had one of the following for 12 months:

    • Indefinite leave to remain in the UK
    • Settled status, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain under the EU Settlement Scheme
    • Indefinite leave to enter the UK (permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad)

    You do not have to wait 12 months if you are married to a British citizen.

    You must also:

    • Be over 18
    • Prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
    • Prove your knowledge of the English language, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic
    • Have passed the life in the UK test
    • Intend to continue living in the UK
    • Be of good character
    • Have had no criminal convictions

    It costs £1,330 to apply.


    It describes the legal process of a non-citizen of the UK becoming a UK citizen.

    There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to qualify for naturalisation.

    You must also have been settled in the UK (Permanent residence, ILR or Settled Status) for a minimum of 12 months.

    If you are married to a British citizen, you can commence the application process once you have been continually living in the UK for 3 years.

    Before starting your application, you must have already made sure you have not exceeded the maximum time (90 days) outside of the UK during your qualifying period.

    You must also pass both the ‘Good Character’ requirement and the KoLL (Knowledge of Language and Life) as well as the Home Office Form requirement to be eligible to apply.

    If your application is successful you will be invited to attend a citizen ceremony welcoming you to life as a citizen of the UK, where you will receive a Certificate of Naturalisation.

    If you require assistance with any aspect of your application, Newcastle Immigration lawyers are here to help.

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    Documents required to apply for British citizenship

    The documents applicants will need to provide to the Home Office include the following:

    • Life in the UK test certificate
    • Proof of English language ability (the exam must be taken at a test centre approved by the Home Office, and the qualification must also be recognised for your certificate to be valid)
    • Proof that you have lived continually in the UK throughout the qualifying period without breaking your visa rules
    • Proof of previous immigration status or visas you have held prior to coming to the UK.
    • Information pertaining to any time you have spent out of the UK during your qualifying period.
    • Biometric Residence Permit card
    • Documentation proving you hold Indefinite Leave to Remain
    • Proof of identity and permanent residence status. This can be your passport, birth certificate, or other official documents recognised by the Home Office.
    • Proof you are not a Person Subject to Immigration Control
    • Proof you exercised your Treaty Rights during your time in the country via a bank statement

    Am I eligible?

    There are many ways to acquire British citizenship that do not require the lengthy processes, such as through marriage, by birth, or by resuming a previously renounced British status.

    Newcastle Immigration lawyers can advise you to other routes into citizenship in the UK.

    The Home Office has strict rules for accepting British citizens through naturalization. Many requirements for a good character can also be met including the Good Character Requirement.

    This specifically means that you cannot violate a law or have a recent or serious offense. Upon request, you should record any convictions you have made.

    It’ll also be able to take into account the good work you did as a citizen and the positive contribution you have made.

    Do you need help applying for British Citizenship? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      The good character requirement

      Upon naturalisation, a British citizen has to have good character in order to become a resident in Britain.

      Good character isn’t defined under any legal Act, however home government national policy guidelines explain how to assess ‘good character’ requirements for a person.

      The Home Office provides general information on what ‘Good character’ is, as well as a list of examples of when an individual would not be granted ‘good character.’

      Examples of character that may lead to refusal include but is not limited to:

      • Breaches of immigration (H.O will look into 10 years of applicants history)
      • Terrorism (war cries, corruption)
      • Criminal convictions
      • Financial unsoundness (bankruptcy, debt, avoiding tax)
      • Overstaying visas
      • Illegal entry
      • Sham marriages
      • Deception (cheating on a Life in the UK test, or English language test)
      • Dishonesty
      • Undesirable association or conduct (if the applicant is associated with anyone who has been found guilty of the above, applications will likely be refused)

      Good character includes attributes such as charity work, non-corrupt service in the armed forces, volunteering in a positive role to help the community, honesty and transparency, etc.

      Time you have spent outside the UK

      You should not have:

      • Spent more than 450 days outside of the UK during the 5 years prior to your application
      • Spent more than 90 days outside of the UK in the last 12 months
      • Broken any UK immigration laws

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      Will my citizenship be refused?

      Yes, there is potential for your application to be refused if you do not meet eligibility requirements.

      The UK Home Office takes immigration and individual assessment incredibly seriously, and are not lenient with any case that does not meet their expectation.

      You should contact UK Visas and Immigration (part of the Home Office) if your situation changes during your application (for example, you move house, get married or are arrested) while awaiting your citizenship decision (within the 6 months wait time).

      Newcastle Immigration lawyers are a team of professional experienced solicitors who can offer you advice and guidance throughout your application process to citizenship in the UK.

      How can I apply for Naturalisation?

      There are 2 ways to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation, either by yourself or with the help of a legal representative. Applications can take up to 6 months turnaround.

      You will be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information.

      You do not need to send your documents anywhere. You can either:

      • Upload scanned copies into the online service
      • Scan them at your UKVCAS appointment

      You can alternatively apply by post. Applying by post will take considerably longer due to backlog and postal delays, whereas applying online applications are received immediately.

      It is advised applicants apply online, especially if you require your application on a certain date.

      Who can referee for a British Citizenship by Naturalisation application?

      The application must include two witnesses called Referees.

      Referees are persons of any nationality that have professional status, and don’t have to be British citizens.

      They can be people such as religious ministers, civil servants or members of a professional body including accounting solicitors.

      Referees are usually British citizens with a British passport, professionals, and older than 20.

      When making an application for British citizenship, you need to include at least two referees. This is to verify the information you submitted to the Home Office is both accurate and honest.

      Both of your referees must sign your application form. Failure to ensure this is done so properly will result in your entire application being deemed invalid.

      You are able to choose your own referees, however, they must meet the requirements set out by the Home Office.

      These requirements include:

      • The amount of time you have known the referees with a minimum of 3 years
      • They must not have been convicted of any criminal offence in the previous 10 years

      It is a requirement that one of your referees is a working professional in a role of important standing, such as a doctor, a teacher, a religious minister, etc.

      Your referee cannot be your solicitor or legal representative who is representing you, and they cannot be employed at the UKVI.

      It is not required that this referee is a British citizen, however your other referee must be a British citizen and in possession of a valid British passport.

      They must also be over the age of 25 and be a working professional.

      How Newcastle Immigration lawyers can help you

      Our specialist team of solicitors are ready to help you with all your immigration-related legal needs.

      If you want to speak to someone, call us on 0330 134 6208 to discuss your query with one of our knowledgeable, excellent and friendly immigration specialists.

      If you wish to naturalise in the UK, our Newcastle immigration lawyers can help.

      In order to become a British citizens, you must hold Indefinite Leave to Remain, Settled Status or permanent residence.

      Provided you’re eligible and are in line with immigration rules we will guide you every step of the way.

      Our list of assistance includes but is not limited to:

      • Provide a Letter of Representation
      • Assist you in completing your application to the best it can be, including fixing errors and proofreading
      • Conduct a thorough document check to make sure everything is included in your application
      • Walk you through eligibility for multiple visas that best suit your needs
      • Help you prepare for both the Life in the UK test and your English language examination
      • Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf throughout the entire process

      You may be interested in reading about.

      We can help you if you need help with your British Citizenship application. Call us now

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