British Citizenship

British Citizenship
There are six different types of British nationality, of which British citizenship is one, defined legally by the British Nationality Act of 1983. The legal requirements depend on your country of origin and are known to be complicated, although there are many legal firms in the UK specialising in citizenship applications.

The UK Border Agency also offers an advisory service through its website for migrants wishing to become British citizens. Requirements include being over the age of 18 and having lived in the UK for three years if married or a civil partner of a UK national, or living in the UK for five years before your application.

Designated or crown service benefiting the UK in overseas posts is another route to citizenship for migrants as well as for their wives, husbands or civil partners. For those under 18 years, eligibility to register as a British citizen is given if the applicant has a connection to Hong Kong or is a citizen of British overseas territories such as Gibraltar.

All applicants over the age of 10 must satisfy the ‘good character’ requirement, involving respect for and understanding of UK laws, rights and freedoms as well as duties and obligations as a UK resident. Verification checks and enquiries will be made to police and other government departments, with the applicant’s signature on the application form giving permission for these enquiries to be carried out.

Checks of the applicant’s financial status, including payment of National Insurance and income tax will be made, and required details of any legal proceedings against the applicant must include bankruptcy, unspent criminal convictions including road traffic offences and civil proceedings, including any upcoming court hearings for offences alleged to have been committed.

Those applying for citizenship may be interviewed as part of the process, with the interview conducted entirely in the English language. Knowledge of life in the UK, its culture and the language is an essential part of citizenship requirements. The Life in the UK test must be taken if your standard of English is above a certain level.

For those whose English language capability is low, the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course, which includes a citizenship module, must be taken at Level 3. These language and lifestyle requirements are stipulated by law, with the only exemptions being applicants over the age of 65 or under the age of 10 or those with serious mental or physical conditions.