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Applying for nationality in the UK is an extremely important step for a foreign national.  Our lawyers at Batley Law have built up considerable experience over the years of helping clients to achieve their goal of citizenship, through expert tailored advice and assistance.

While the law and procedure can be complex at times, we will be able to guide you every step of the way.

We have set out some of the main requirements here:

Eligibility for British Citizenship by Naturalisation

You are eligible to start the application process if you satisfy the following criteria:

  • You are 18 years of age or over;
  • You satisfy the residency requirements;
  • You have had Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK for at least 12 months, or have permanent residence in the UK as an EEA national;
  • You have not broken immigration laws or have been convicted of a serious crime; and
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the English language and “Life in the UK” Test.

Residence Requirements for British Citizenship

To naturalise as a British Citizen, you must have lived in the UK for a minimum 5 years and cannot have been outside the UK for more than 450 days in the last 5 years and 90 days in the last 12 months.

Please note that different requirements may apply depending on the date of your entry to the UK, and your type of visa.  We can check your details and advise you in relation to this.

Good Character Requirement for British Citizenship

In order to qualify for British Citizenship, you will need to demonstrate that you have a good character. When assessing this, the Home Office will take into account whether you have any criminal convictions. Your criminal record will therefore be crucial to this assessment.

If you have convictions on your record, you should seek legal advice to see whether you are eligible to apply for citizenship, and in relation to the timing of the application.

English Language Requirement for British Citizenship

As part of your application, you will need to demonstrate that you can speak English to the required standard. Currently, the rules require that you can speak English to Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Languages.

Your qualification will be valid only if your English exam is taken through an approved (SELT) Provider.

There are some, limited, exceptions, where you can be exempted from meeting the English language requirement, as follows:

You do not need an English Language test if you:

  • Are a national of a majority English speaking country
  • Are aged under 18 or over 65
  • Have a long-term physical or mental condition
  • Hold a degree from an educational establishment that was taught or researched in English.

Life in the UK Test for British Citizenship

To prove your knowledge of life in the UK, you may be required to sit a multiple choice test.

Not everyone is required to take this test as part of the naturalisation process and we will be able to advise if you are exempt.

Having problems passing the Life in the UK Test? Want to see if you can apply for an exemption? See our Blog post: Life in the UK Exemption

How long will my British Citizenship application take?

The time can vary, and depends on a number of factors.

On average decisions are made in around 6-12 weeks.

What happens if my British Citizenship application is refused?

If your application for British Citizenship is rejected, it is important to consider in detail the reasons provided by the Home Office for doing so.  An application may be refused if an applicant has not provided all the required documents, or if an applicant does not meet the residency requirements.

There is no right of appeal against a refusal.  However, this does not mean that nothing can be done.  You have the right to request an administrative review, and failing that, there is the option of judicial review.

At Batley Law, one of our experts can help you to seek a review of the decision and can help to draft the grounds for this.  If this review is unsuccessful, we can then assess your case again and consider whether there are merits for a legal challenge, known as Judicial Review.

How can Batley Law help with my British Citizenship?

Our experts will advise you on every stage of this process, to ensure that your application is complete and that you have the correct supporting documents.

We will also look in detail at your immigration history to ensure that you meet the residency requirements detailed above.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you
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