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British Citizenship & Naturalisation

Becoming a naturalised British citizen can open up many doors, such as allowing you to permanently live and work in the UK free from immigration restrictions and procedures.

Like other immigration matters, applying for British citizenship can be a long and extremely complicated process. However, with the right support, you have the best possible chance of achieving a positive outcome.

We are specialist immigration solicitors within Croydon and Central London and have a strong reputation for being one of the leading immigrations firms in the UK, particularly for our experience in helping people apply for British citizenship. We can offer you bespoke advice and a friendly, personal service that you can trust.

Contact our British citizenship solicitors in London

For expert advice about becoming a British citizen, arrange a free telephone consultation with one of our British naturalisation solicitors at one of our offices in Bank, London City or Croydon. Alternatively, call our Senior Partner Paul Turner directly on 0333 444 8216 or email at paul.turner@bhdsolicitors.co.uk.

Our British citizenship lawyers’ expertise

We are committed to helping every individual achieve their goal of living and/or working in the UK. Our team will fiercely advocate for your rights but are also here to support you through this challenging process. With us on your side, we are confident that your citizenship and naturalisation experience will be as smooth and straightforward as possible.

Our team have achieved the Law Society Immigration and Asylum Law Accreditation and the Immigration Law Advanced Accreditation for our nationally recognised expertise. We have also been highly ranked in the South East by prestigious client guide, the Legal 500.

How to acquire British citizenship

We can help you obtain British Citizenship in multiple ways:

  • As a right by operation of the law
  • By ‘naturalisation’ at the discretion of the Home Office
  • Through ‘registration’, for example, if you are under 18 years old or are stateless

Whichever method you use, this area of law is highly complex and there are detailed rules and requirements to be met. We will provide advice about the process you will need to go through, breaking down the steps into plain, understandable language.

If an application for citizenship either by registration or naturalisation is refused, there is no right of appeal and any application fee paid to the Home Office is not refundable. It is therefore important that you obtain good quality and professional legal advice so as to ensure that your application has the best possible chance of success.

British citizenship by naturalisation

Naturalisation is the method by which a foreign national who is settled in the UK may acquire British citizenship.

For most people, becoming a citizen by naturalisation is not overly complicated. However, it is important to note that the Home Office may choose to refuse an application for naturalisation even where the applicant meets all the legal requirements. So, it is advisable to seek professional legal advice from a UK based firm of solicitors that has experience of naturalisation and British citizen visa requirements before you apply.

To qualify and to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen, a foreign national living in the UK must obtain settled status either through:

  • Marriage or civil partnership to a person settled in the UK; or
  • Length of residence in the UK.

However, there are additional requirements which must be met, such as:

  • Age – you must be at least 18 years old
  • Whether you have indefinite leave to remain (or permanent residence or settled status if you are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland) and for how long – usually you need ILR, permanent residence or settled status for at least 12 months before applying for citizenship
  • Whether you intend to live permanently in the UK
  • Whether you are of good character – you must not have a criminal record and you also cannot be bankrupt

You will also be required to show that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the UK. It is likely you will need to take a ‘Life in the UK’ test and an English language test as part of your British citizenship application.

We also offer advice on British citizenship applications for EEA and Swiss citizens. An EEA or Swiss citizen may apply for naturalisation if he or she can prove that they have a right of permanent residence or settled status in the UK and satisfies additional rules.

British citizenship by registration

There are many circumstances under which a person may be entitled to register for British citizenship. Registration is a simpler method of acquiring citizenship than naturalisation, but only certain people are eligible.

Currently, registration is normally reserved for children under 18 in the following circumstances:

  • Children born in the UK where a parent obtains British citizenship or indefinite leave to remain after the child is born
  • Children born in the UK and live in the UK until the age of 10
  • Children born to a British father who is not married to the mother
  • Certain children born outside the UK to a British citizen
  • Children under 18 who are adopted outside the United Kingdom by British citizens
  • Children for whom the Secretary of State is willing to exercise her discretion to grant nationality, such as children in care and children who were born outside the UK who are older teenagers who have spent the majority of their lives in the UK

Adults may also be entitled to be registered as British Citizens in some circumstances:

  • Persons born outside the UK to a British born or naturalised mother
  • British overseas citizens, British subjects, British nationals overseas and British protected persons
  • Persons who have no other nationality

In some cases, citizenship can be gained through registration as a matter of right provided all the requirements are met. For example, some Commonwealth citizens are eligible to apply for citizenship. However, in most cases being registered as a British citizen by the Home Office is a discretionary decision and the criteria for such decisions are not fully set out in the legislation. This makes it all the more important to seek our advice before any application is made.

What are the benefits of becoming a British citizen?

There are many advantages in becoming a British Citizen, especially if you intend to live permanently in the UK, such as:

  • You can live permanently in the UK – you can buy and sell property, move around, open a bank account and marry without any restrictions or extra hoops to jump through
  • You can work in the UK with restrictions – you will not need a work permit and will also be entitled to state benefits
  • You will have access to free healthcare on the NHS
  • You can apply for a British passport – this will allow you to visit many other countries without having to apply for a visa every time and re-enter the UK without restrictions
  • You will have the right to vote, giving you a say in how your local community or the country is run
  • You can pass down the right to your children – children born to UK citizens after you become a British citizenship will automatically be British citizens

Do you need a lawyer to apply for citizenship?

The process of applying for UK citizenship is a long and extremely complicated process so the help of a specialist immigration lawyer is essential.

We live and breathe immigration applications and procedures so we know exactly what steps to take to give you the best possible chance of achieving a positive outcome. Without the help of a solicitor, there is a good chance that there will be errors or missed steps in your application that could result in your application for naturalisation or registration being refused. Remember, there is no right of appeal.

Our team will ensure that all documentation is completed to the highest degree of accuracy with no room for errors or unnecessary delays.

Why choose our UK citizenship lawyers?

We have over 30 years’ experience helping people become British citizens

Our experience speaks for itself. Over the years, we have carved out our role as one of the UK’s leading firms of immigration solicitors. We put the needs of our clients first and work tirelessly to give them the best chance of achieving a fair outcome.

We are recognised immigration experts

We have the following Law Society Accreditations in recognition of our skills:

We have also been highly ranked as one of the top firms in the South East by prestigious client guide, the Legal 500.

We provide bespoke advice with a personal touch

Every individual is different, so we tailor our advice to suit every person’s needs. We understand how confusing, stressful and emotionally draining going through immigration processes can be. As well as providing the legal advice you need, we are here to provide emotional support and ensure that you understand exactly what is going on at all stages of the process.

We are responsive and proactive

Your experience with us is just as important as the results we achieve. We ensure that we are always available during office hours to pick up the phone or answer your emails; no concern is too small or insignificant, so if you have a question about your case or the citizenship process, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Our excellent customer service policies also extend to new clients. If you are contacting us for the first time, we will work quickly to connect you to the right person and help you start moving forwards as soon as possible.

We offer proportionate and flexible fees for British citizenship advice

We know that costs are likely to be a major consideration for you. We will be completely open and honest about our British citizenship fees so you can start the process with a full understanding of how much it is likely to cost.

For a detailed breakdown of our fees, visit our Fees & Funding page. For a tailored quote, please get in touch with our friendly, welcoming immigration team.

Contact our British citizenship solicitors in London

For expert advice about becoming a British citizen, arrange a free telephone consultation with one of our British naturalisation solicitors at one of our offices in Bank, London City or Croydon. Alternatively, call our Senior Partner Paul Turner directly on 0333 444 8216 or email at paul.turner@bhdsolicitors.co.uk.

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