Individuals can live and work in the UK free of any immigration controls if you are a British citizen.
You might be able to apply to:
- Register as a British citizen - for example, if you have another type of British nationality
- Become a British citizen by ‘naturalisation’ - for example, after you settle in the UK
You might already be a British citizen based on where and when you were born, or your parents’ circumstances. Our Immigration team have a wealth of knowledge and experience to assist those who are unsure if they qualify as a British Citizen.
Please note - You don’t automatically get British citizenship if you were born in the UK.
If you were born in the UK or a British colony before 1 January 1983
You became a British citizen on 1 January 1983 if both of the following apply:
- you were a citizen of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) on 31 December 1982
- you had the ‘right of abode’ in the UK
It also includes people who:
- were born in the UK
- have been naturalised in the UK
- had registered as a citizen of the UK and Colonies (CUKC)
- could prove legitimate descent from a father to whom one of these applies
‘Right of abode’ means you:
- are entirely free from UK Immigration Control and don’t need permission from an Immigration Officer to enter the UK
- can live and work in the UK without restriction
If you were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983, you’ll be a British citizen if your mother or father was either:
- a British citizen when you were born
- ‘settled’ in the UK when you were born
‘Settled’ means you can stay in the UK without any time restrictions. This includes people who have one of the following:
- ‘right of abode’
- ‘indefinite leave to remain’
- permanent residence as an European Economic Area (EEA) national
In most cases you’ll be a British citizen if your mother or father was born in the UK or naturalised there at the time of your birth.
If you are unsure of your status or your circumstances are complicated, please contact our Immigration team whose knowledge and experience will guide you further.
FAQ’s about British Citizenship
How can I apply for British Citizenship?
British citizenship by ‘Registration’
In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply to become a British citizen by ‘Registration’. This process is often easier than naturalisation but you must fit the eligibility criteria to do so.
What are the requirements for Registration?
You may be eligible if:
- You have another form of British nationality
- You were born to a British father, even if he was not married to your mother
- You were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983
- You are under 18 and do not fit into the other categories
- You have a connection with Gibraltar or Hong Kong
- You are stateless
British citizenship by ‘Naturalisation’
The most common way of becoming a British citizen is by ‘naturalisation’.
What are the requirements for Naturalisation?
You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:
- You are 18 or over
- You are of good character, for example you do not have a serious or recent criminal record, and you have not tried to deceive the Home Office or been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years
- You will continue to live in the UK
- You have met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements
- You meet the residency requirement
- You were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
And you must usually have:
- Lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application
- Spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
- Had settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) in the UK for the last 12 months if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
- Spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
- Had permanent residence status for the last 12 months if you’re a citizen of an EEA country - you need to provide a permanent residence document
- Not broken any immigration laws while in the UK
What if my spouse or civil partner is a British citizen?
The above requirements remain the same, other than time lived in the UK whereby you will need to have lived for a minimum of 3 years and during that time not spent any more than 270 days outside of the country in order to apply for citizenship.
For further expert and professional advice and assistance in relation to your citizenship application, including with regards to fees and charges, application methods and processing times and the necessary requirements and eligibility criteria please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team who are ready and able to help you.
Please be advised that Immigration Rules are always changing. Contact us for the latest help, advice and information with regards to your query.