Check if you can apply
There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’. You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:
- you’re 18 or over;
- you’re of good character, for example, you don’t have a serious or recent criminal record, and you haven’t tried to deceive the Home Office or been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years;
- you’ll continue to live in the UK;
- you’ve met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements;
- you meet the residency requirement.
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;
- spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months;
- had settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) in the UK for the last 12 months if you’re from outside theEuropean Economic Area (EEA);
- 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.
There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.
You can’t include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control (for example, as a diplomat or member of visiting armed forces) as part of the 5 years.
You may be able to apply to become a British citizen by ‘registration’ in certain circumstances.
There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.
Applying for Children under 18
You can apply on behalf of a child under 18 if they meet the eligibility criteria. They don’t have to pass the Life in the UK Test.