BRITISH CITIZENSHIP

British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition

Before seeking status in the United Kingdom as a foreign national or stateless person, it is worth considering whether you may already be a British citizen by law.

Individuals who are able to demonstrate that they are British citizens have the right to enter and reside in the United Kingdom free of immigration restrictions.

British Citizenship by Naturalisation

If you are an adult and have no restrictions on the period of time for which you can reside in the United Kingdom, then you may be eligible to apply to be naturalised as a British citizen.

You will have no time restrictions on the period for which you can reside in the United Kingdom if you have been granted indefinite leave to remain by the Home Office, or if you have acquired a right of permanent residence in the UK under European law.

Naturalisation at Discretion

All applications for naturalisation as a British citizen are subject to the discretion of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. This means that even if you meet the requirements set out above (whether or not as the partner of a British citizen) your application may still be refused if there are good grounds.

You may also be naturalised as a British citizen on a discretionary basis if you do not meet all of the above requirements (for example, if you have been absent from the United Kingdom for too long or were in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration laws for part of the relevant period).  You must have been in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the 3 or 5 year period and must be free from any time restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom.

British Citizenship by Registration

Before seeking status in the United Kingdom as a foreign national or stateless person, it may be worth considering whether you, or your family member(s) (including children), are eligible to be registered as a British citizen.

Registration as a British citizen will enable you or your family member to apply for a British passport and provide a right to enter and reside in the United Kingdom free of immigration restrictions.

Eligibility for British Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition

You will already be a British citizen if:

  • You were born in the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983; or
  • On 31 December 1982 you were:
  • A citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and
  • Had at any time before 31 December 1982 been settled in the United Kingdom; and
  • Had at that time been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for the last five years or more while a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; or
  • On 31 December 1982 you were:
  • A Commonwealth citizen; and
  • At the time of birth your parents were married; and
  • At the time of birth your father was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth in the United Kingdom; or
  • You were:
  • Born in the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983; and
  • At the time of birth your father was a British citizen or settled in the United Kingdom; and
  • At the time of birth your mother and father were married; or
  • You were:
  • Born in the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983; and
  • At the time of birth your mother was a British citizen or settled in the United Kingdom (irrespective of marriage); or
  • You were:
  • Born in the United Kingdom on or after 1 July 2006; and
  • At the time of birth your father was a British citizen or settled in the United Kingdom (irrespective of marriage).

Alternatively, you may automatically be a British citizen by descent if:

  • You were:
  • Born outside the United Kingdom before 1 January 1983; and
  • At the date of birth your father was a British citizen otherwise than by descent; and
  • At the date of birth your mother and father were married; or
  • You were:
  • Born outside the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983; and
  • At the time of birth your father was a British citizen otherwise than by descent; and
  • At the date of birth your mother and father were married; or
  • You were:
  • Born outside the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983; and
  • At the date of birth your mother was a British citizen otherwise than by descent.