What is British nationality?
Those who gain British nationality can travel in and out of the country freely and can work and live in the UK without restriction. British nationals can also vote, obtain a passport and access public funds.
At RVS Solicitors we can advise and represent clients on all six different types of British nationality:
- British citizenship
- British Overseas Territories citizen
- British overseas citizen
- British subject
- British national (overseas)
- British protected person
How do I become a British citizen through naturalisation?
To become a British citizen through naturalisation, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- be over 18 years
- be of ‘good character’
- continue to live in the UK
- pass the Life in the UK Test
- meet the English language requirements
- have been in the UK for at least five years and have Indefinite Leave to Remain or an EEA Permanent Residence Card
- spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those five years
- spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
- have not broken any immigration rules
What is the ‘good character’ requirement for British Citizenship?
Statute does not define the requirement of ‘good character’. The Good Character: National Policy Guidance, states that an applicant will not normally be judged to be of good character if any of the following apply:
- they have not respected and/or are not prepared to abide by the law, e.g. they have been convicted of a crime, or there are reasonable grounds to suspect (i.e. it is more likely than not) they have been involved in crime
- they have been involved in or associated with war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, terrorism, or other actions that are considered not to be conducive to the public good
- their financial affairs are not in appropriate order, e.g. they have failed to pay taxes for which they are liable
- their activities are notorious and cast serious doubt on their standing in the local community
- they have been deliberately dishonest or deceptive in their dealings with the UK government
- they have assisted in the evasion of immigration control
- they have previously been deprived of citizenship
Factors such as having a criminal conviction will not automatically bar a person from obtaining British Citizenship; however, Home Office guidance states “a person who has not respected and/or is not prepared to abide by the law is unlikely to be considered of good character”.
If you have received a custodial sentence of 12-months or less, you will not be considered eligible for British Citizenship until seven years have passed since the end of your prison term. If you have been found guilty of a crime, but a non-custodial sentence has been given (i.e. a fine or community sentence), your application for British Citizenship will not be considered until three years have passed.
If you are in doubt about whether you will pass the ‘good character’ requirement, please come and talk to us. Our team can quickly establish your position and can write a detailed, persuasive covering letter to the Home Office explaining your situation.
What are the requirements for the spouse of a British citizen to apply for naturalisation?
If you are the spouse of a British citizen, the same eligibility requirements which are outlined above apply for gaining British Citizenship. However, instead of only being able to apply after being in the UK for five years, you will be eligible to apply for British Citizenship after three years. You must show that you have not spent more than 270 days outside the UK in those three years.
Do I have to attend a citizenship ceremony?
British citizenship ceremonies are not compulsory; however, many people like to take part to celebrate their naturalisation.
Ceremonies are organised by local councils and there one likely to be near you. You can invite two guests, and the cost is £80. If you’re not living in the UK, you can ask to have your ceremony at the embassy or consulate in the country you’re living in.
How we can help with British Nationality matters
At RVS we understand the technicalities of successfully applying for British citizenship and the complex legal issues that often surround British nationality. Our in-depth knowledge of the process, and our commitment to understanding you and your circumstances will enable us to submit an application that gives you the very best chance of success.
We are a modern, progressive, efficient, digitally-based boutique law firm that gets positive results, while respecting your valuable time. Where we differ from most traditional law firms is that we tailor our services to your immigration law needs. Not only do we provide a bespoke service, we care for the lives of our clients, and their families, and we do everything we can to make the process as easy as possible. To this end, you will have our direct contact information, and we will always make ourselves available to speak to you, if you have a question, would like an update, or would like to discuss any other matter. With us managing your case, you can relax in the knowledge that we will handle all of the matters of your case, and that it is in the best possible hands, allowing you to focus on your life, business, studying, and/or family.