To many, obtaining British citizenship is the ultimate immigration goal and dream. There are of course many advantages to obtaining British citizenship, which include; unrestricted entry to the UK, no work restrictions, receiving a British passport and enjoying the same benefits as a person born as a British citizen!
Furthermore, obtaining British citizenship does not necessarily mean that you have to forfeit your current citizenship, as many countries allow their citizens to have dual citizenship.
How to qualify
After you have acquired indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) in the United Kingdom, you may wish to apply to become a British Citizen. You may also qualify for British Nationality through Registration or through Right of Abode in the UK.
In most cases, you are entitled to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen six years after you have entered the UK, provided that you have held indefinite leave to remain for at least one year.
Although there are exceptions to some criteria, the most important points to satisfy are:
• That you hold indefinite leave to remain, and have normally done so for one year.
• That you have not been outside the UK for more than 450 days over the 5 year period, including not more than 90 days in the last twelve months.
• That you were in the UK on the date 5 years prior to the date your application is received by the UK Home Office.
• That your tax and national insurance affairs in the UK are up to date.
Note that there are some flexibility allowed for major investors and entrepreneurs in the Tier 1 categories, in the qualifying criteria.
If you are married to a British citizen, and your application for a spouse visa was submitted before 9 July 2012, you may apply for British citizenship after you have lived in the UK for three years, provided that you hold indefinite leave to remain at this time. If your application for a spouse visa was submitted on or after 9 July 2012, you will be required to have lived in the UK for six years, and hold indefinite leave to remain at the time of the application.
Do I need to give up my current citizenship?
Different countries have different laws in this regard and it would be advisable to contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.