This guidance relates to UK Naturalisation Requirements for British Citizenship by Discretion. Accordingly, explains the naturalisation requirements and under Section 6(1) and 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981. And also the UK naturalisation residency requirements for British Citizenship. Please note, during the consideration process, the Home Office usually checks whether an applicant is already a British Citizen. Therefore, the Home Office normally evaluates for British Citizenship application by naturalisation applications for automatic claims and entitlements. Accordingly, ascertains: whether the grant of Certificate of Naturalisation is necessary or not.

UK Naturalisation Requirements for British Citizenship

 The UK naturalisation requirements somewhat vary based on whether an applicant is married to (or in a civil partnership) with a British citizen or not. Accordingly, if a person is not married to British Citizens then needs to meet the UK naturalisation requirements under Section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981. However, if an applicant is married to a British citizen then needs to meet the UK Naturalisation requirements under Section 6(2).

UK Naturalisation Residency Requirements

Indeed, for naturalisation as a British Citizen, an individual needs to demonstrate close links and commitment to the UK. Accordingly, an applicant needs to meet the UK residency requirements for naturalisation as a British Citizen. Please note, if there is discretion to waive the UK naturalisation residency requirements then this cannot be done to completely ignore the requirements.

Children under 18

Children under the age of 18 cannot be naturalised. If a child is included on an application then the Home Office considers whether the child is already a British citizen or can be registered as a British citizen because of an entitlement or at the discretion of the Home Secretary. Moreover, if a child has an automatic claim to British citizenship then the Home Office accordingly informs in writing.

Immigration Services

Now YOU can get the Best Advice and Representation for All Types of UK Visa and Immigration Applications!

UK Naturalisation Requirements under Section 6 (1)

Indeed, an applicant may get a certificate of naturalisation under section 6 (1) of the British Nationality Act if he/she:

  • is at least 18 years of age
  • is of full capacity and good character
  • meets the residency requirements for naturalisation (or is serving outside the UK in Crown Service)
  • has sufficient knowledge of:
    • English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh language and provides the evidence
    • life in the UK and provides evidence
  • intends to have UK as his/her main home or enter into or continue in any of the following:
    • service under an international organisation of which the UK is a member
    • Crown service under the government of the UK
    • service in the employment of a company or association established in the UK
UK Naturalisation Residency Requirements u/s 6(1)

The UK residency requirements for naturalisation under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 are that the applicant was:

  • in the UK at the beginning of the period of 5-year period ending with the date of the application
  • not absent from the UK for more than 450 days in the 5 year period and 90 days in the period of 12 months ending with the date of application
  • on the date of application, was not subject to any restriction on the period of stay in the UK under the immigration laws
  • at any other time in the 12 month period, ending with the date of application, was not subject to any restriction on the period stay in the UK under the immigration laws
  • not at any time during the 5-year period, ending with the date of application, was in breach of the immigration laws
Discretion

Although, there is discretion to waive the UK residency requirements for naturalisation, but the applicant must:

  • have been in the UK at the beginning of the 5 year period, unless their absence was due to serving in HM Armed Forces
  • be free from time restrictions under immigration law at the time of their application

UK Naturalisation Requirements under Section 6 (2)

If an applicant is married (or in civil partner) to a British Citizen then may a get certificate of naturalisation under section 6 (2) of the British Nationality Act if he/she:

  1. is at least 18 years of age
  2. is married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
  3. meets the UK residency requirements for naturalisation
  4. is of full capacity and good character
  5. has sufficient knowledge of English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh language and can provides the evidence
  6. have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK and can provide the evidence

Please note: in some instances, the Home Office may exempt an applicant from language and knowledge of life in the UK.

Residency Requirements for Naturalisation UK u/s 6(2)

The UK residency requirements for naturalisation under section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981, are that application was:

  1. in the UK at the beginning of the 3-year period ending with the date of application
  2. not absent from the UK for more than 270 days in the 3-year period and 90 days in the 12-month period ending with the date of application
  3. on the date of the application was not subject to any restriction of stay in the UK under the immigration laws
  4. not at any time in the 3-year period ending with the date of application in breach of the immigration laws
Discretion

Indeed, there is discretion to waive the UK naturalisation residency requirements under section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981. However, an applicant must not be subject to conditions on the date of application under the immigration laws.

Study Abroad

Start YOUR admission process in UK, USA, Australia, NZ, Canada, Europe, Malaysia, Russia, China, Turkey or UAE

T

Considerations for UK naturalisation residency requirements

In assessing whether an individual meets the UK naturalisation residency requirements, the Home Office usually considers the following aspects:

  1. Presence in the UK at the beginning of the 3 or 5-year qualifying period
  2. Absences during the 3 or 5-year qualifying period
  3. Absences in the final year (i.e. last 12 months)
  4. Technical Absences
  5. Spouses/Civil Partners of British Citizens in Crown/Designated Services
  6. Free from the Condition on the period of time in the UK under the Immigration Law
  7. Any Breach(es) of immigration law during the qualifying period

Presence in the UK at the Start of the Qualifying Period

To identify the start of the qualifying period, the day after the application date minus the length of the qualifying period is used. For instance, if a British citizenship by naturalisation application u/s 6(1) is made on 1 Feb 2018, then the applicant needs to be legally present in the UK on 2 Feb 2013. However, the following individuals do not need to be in the UK at the begining of the qualifying period:

  • members of the UK Armed Forces
  • employees in the Crown Service
  • spouses/civil partner of a British Citizen, who is in a Crown/Designated Service Overseas
  • applicants technically absent from the UK

Nonetheless, for all other applicants it is mandatory to be physically present in the UK on the first day of the qualifying period. Moreover, there is no discretion to overlook the aforesaid UK naturalisation residency requirement for British Citizenship.

Discreation for Re-declaration

If an  applicant fails to meet the UK naturalisation residency requirements at the start of the qualifying period by 2 months or less then it is discretionary to allow the applicant to re-declare. Therefore, if the Home Office exercise the discretion then the applicant needs to re-declare by using the Doc Gen letter 4746. Moreover, if an applicant re-declares then original application date is superseded by the date on which the re-declaration is received by the Home Office. 

However, if an applicant fails to meet the UK naturalisation residency requirements by more than 2 months then Home Office refuses the application without a refund. Indeed, the only exception could be if an applicant meets all other UK naturalisation requirements. In such instances, the Home Office may refund the UK naturalisation fees.

Available Absences

The Home Office usually evaluates the following evidence to ascertain UK naturalisation residency requirements:

  • travel documents or stamped original passports to show arrival in the UK and entry/departure from other countries
  • records of the Home Office
  • other evidence such as employers’ letters or tax and National Insurance letters etc
Doctor’s Letter is Not Acceptable as Proof of Residence

The Home Office usually does not accept the doctors’ letters as a proof of residence. However, if nothing else is available and the doctor confirms seeing the applicant on a regular basis then the Home Office may accept the evidence.

Gaps in Evidence of Continuous Residence

If there are gaps in an applicant’s evidence of residence and it is evident from the information that an applicant could not have travelled then it may be acceptable to the Home Office. For instance, if the applicant is a refugee who has no means of travel or where immigration record confirms continuous residence.

Only Whole Days are Counted for Absences

Only whole days’ absences are counted for UK naturalisation residency requirements. Therefore, the dates of departure and arrival are not counted as absences. For instance, an individual who exit the UK on 12 February and returned on 13 February is not counted as absence from the UK.

Only Physical Presence is Required

An applicant only needs to have been physically present, therefore, does not need to be ordinarily resident or domiciled.

Absences during the qualifying period

For British Citizenship applications by naturalisation under section 6(1), the Home Office may exercise discretion if an applicant has met all the other requirements, but during the qualifying period has spent more than 450 days outside the UK. However, for applications under section 6(2) the Home Office may exercise discretion if an application has met all the other requirements, but during the qualifying period has spent more than 270 days outside of the UK.

Discretion

If an applicant exceeds the permitted absence by 30 days or less then the Home Office is likely to exercise discretion unless there are other refusal grounds. However, if the absences are in between 480-900 [for applications u/s 6(1)] or 300-540 [for applications u/s 6(1)], the Home Office may exercise discretion if the applicant has established home, employment, family and finances in the United Kingdom, and one or more of the following applies:

  • for applications u/s 6(1) – at least 2-year residence without substantial absences immediately prior to the beginning of the qualifying period. If the period of absence is greater than 730 days then the period of residence must be at least 3 years
  • for applications u/s 6(2) – at least 1-year residence without substantial absences immediately prior to the beginning of the qualifying period. If the period of absence is greater than 450 days then the period of residence must be at least 2 years
  • the excess absences are the result of:
    • postings abroad in Crown service under the United Kingdom government or in service designated u/s 2(3) of the British Nationality act 1981
    • accompanying a British citizen spouse or civil partner on an appointment overseas
  • the excess absences were an unavoidable consequence of the nature of the applicant’s career, such as a merchant seaman or employment with a multinational company based in the UK with frequent travels abroad
  • exceptionally compelling reasons for an occupational or compassionate nature to justify naturalisation now, such as a firm job offer where British citizenship is a statutory or mandatory requirement.
Refusal

Indeed, if an applicant’s absences exceed the aforesaid then the Home Office is likely to refuse the British Citizenship application by naturalisation. Perhaps, with an advise to re-apply when the applicant is able to meet the UK naturalisation residency requirements- unless there are specific circumstances that warrant exceptional considerations at a senior level.

Absences in the final year

For naturalisation applications under section 6(1), the Home Office only exercises disretion for excessive absences during the final year if the applicant meets the future intentions requirements. However, in case of an application under section 6(2) or if an applicant has met the future intentions requirements [for applications under section 6(1)], the Home Office may exercise discretion if total absences are:

  1. 100 days or less
  2. between 100 and 180 days; however, the applicant meets the UK naturalisation residency requirements across the qualifying period. Nevertheless, in such instance, the Home Office only exercise discretion if the applicant demonstrates strong ties such as presence of family, employment and home in the UK
  3. between 100 and 180 days; however, the applicant fails to meet overall UK naturalisation residency requirements during the qualifying period. Indeed, in such instances, the Home Office may use discretion only if:
    • the applicant has made the UK his/her home by establishing a home, employment family, property and finances and
    • the absence is justified by Crown service or by compelling occupational or compassionate reasons
  4. more than 180 days; however, the applicant meets the UK naturalisation residency requirements across the qualifying period. Nevertheless, in such instance, the Home Office only exercises discretion if the applicant demonstrates strong ties such as presence of family, employment and home in the UK
  5. more than 180 days; however, the applicant fails to meet overall UK naturalisation residency requirements during the qualifying period. In fact, in such instances, the Home Office only exercises discretion if the applicant has demonstrated that he/she has made the UK his/her home and there are exceptional circumstances

Technical Absences

For UK naturalisation residency requirements, a technical absence is where a person is regarded as absent from the UK even though he/she is physically present in the UK due to:

  • exemption from immigration control u/s 8(3) of the Immigration Act 1971 – diplomats
  • exemption from immigration control u/s 8(4) of the Immigration Act 1971 – members of home, Commonwealth or visiting forces
  • detention in hospital or other places of detention or unlawfully at large in the UK following a conviction for an offence
  • detention, or on temporary admission, or unlawfully at large under the immigration laws

Moreover, please note, for UK naturalisation residency requirements, an applicant is not technically absences if he/she is:

  • a locally engaged non-diplomatic member of a foreign mission
  • an individual exempt from immigration control u/s 8(2) of the Immigration Act 1971 – consular staff and certain employees of international organisations
Discretion

There is discretion under paragraphs 2(b) and 4 of Schedule 1 to the British Nationality Act 1981 to treat:

  • technical absences as a residence for naturalisation purposes
  • an applicant as present here on the date at the start of the qualifying period if it comes within the period of technical absence
u

Checking Automatic Claims for British Citizenship

Indeed, in 2017 nearly 600 naturalisation applications for British Citizenship withdrew/refused as the applicant was already a British Citizen. Perhaps, this is a recurring patron and every year quite a few naturalisation applications are withdrawn or refused for the same reason. Therefore, it is important to check for automatic claims and entitlements under Section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981. And also to know: the available routes to get the British Citizenship automatically.

When a certificate of naturalisation is not necessary?

A certificate of naturalisation is not necessary if a person who is already a British Citizen or has an entitlement to British citizenship under another provision of the British Nationality Act 1981 i.e. if the applicant is:

  1. born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983
  2. a British overseas territories citizen, a British National (Overseas), a British Overseas citizen, a British subject under the act or a British protected person
  3. born before 1983 to a Citizen of the UK and Colonies (CUKC) mother (section 4C)
  4. British overseas territories citizen by connection with Gibraltar (section 5)
  5. a CUKC who renounced that status before 1 January 1983 (section 10)
  6. born stateless before 1 January 1983 (paragraph 5 of schedule 2)
  7. a British citizen who renounced CUKC status (section 13)
  8. born stateless in the UK or a British overseas territory on or after 1 January 1983 (paragraph 3 of schedule 2)
  9. born stateless outside the UK and the British overseas territories on or after 1 January 1983 (paragraph 4 of schedule 2)

If there is nothing in the papers to suggest that the applicant is already a British citizen then the application is not further investigated for automatic claim. However, if it transpires that an applicant has an automatic claim to British citizenship, then the Home Office writes to apprise the applicant that naturalisation is not necessary. Moreover, the Home Office also makes necessary arrangements for the refund of the application fee.

Person Born before Jan 1, 1983

If a person is born before 1 January 1983, in qualifying British overseas territories, except the sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri (in Cyprus) then in most of the cases the person is a British citizen. However, there are a couple of limitations that person may not be British citizen if his/her father was:

  • a diplomat working for a non-UK country
  • ‘an enemy alien in occupation’ – this only applies to people born in the Channel Islands during World War II
Right of Abode before 31 December 1982 in a British Colony

A person may have been a UK and Colonies citizen if he/she:

  • was born before 1983 in a country that was a UK colony at the time or
  • had a connection with a colony through his/her father; however, the person lost that status if the country later became independent

Please note, the Right of Abode gives a person a right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions. If this information is shown in the passport then in most cases the person is a British citizen. Perhaps, the only exception is if the person’s mother didn’t become a British citizen on 1 January 1983 and the person had the right of abode because he/she was registered under the British Nationality (No 2) Act 1964. If the information is not shown in the passport then the person is not a British Citizen and might be able to become a British citizen through naturalisation.

Person Born on or after Jan 1, 1983

If a person is born on or after 1 January 1983, in qualifying British overseas territories, except the sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri (in Cyprus) and when the person was born, one of his/her parents a British citizen or legally settled in the UK than in most of the cases, the person might be a British citizen and there is no need to register or naturalise, and the person can live in the UK and get a British passport.  ‘Legally settled’ means the parents had the right to live permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’).
However, such a person won’t be a British citizen through his/her father if all the following apply:

  1. the person was born before 1 July 2006
  2. the person’s parents weren’t married when he/she was born and haven’t married since
  3. country of person’s father considered his permanent home when the person was born distinguished between children of married and unmarried parents – if the person is not sure then is required to check with the country in which he/she was born

British Citizenship by Descent

If a person is not born in qualifying British overseas territories on or after 1 January 1983,  and when the person was born, either one or both parents a British citizen ‘not by descent‘ then in most cases the person is a British citizen ‘by descent’.  The person does not need to register or naturalise and can live in the UK and get a British passport. Please note, ‘Not by descent’ means that the parents:

  • gained British citizenship in their own right (and not through their parents or grandparents)
  • were able to pass their British citizenship on to their children

A person is a citizen ‘by descent’ if all the following apply:

  1. the person was born outside of the UK
  2. one or both of the parents were British citizens at the time of the birth

However, the person’s children will not automatically become British citizens.

When a Person Will Not be a British Citizen by descent?

A person won’t be a British citizen by descent through his/her father if all the following apply:

  1. the person was born before 1 July 2006 and
  2. the parents weren’t married when the person was born and haven’t married since and
  3. country of the person’s father considered his permanent home when the person was born distinguished between children of married and unmarried parents

British Citizenship Refusal Reasons

Indeed, main refusal reason for British Citizenship is “not of good character” which nearly affects 40-42% of the totals refusals. Therefore, it is very important to have a good character for getting British Citizenship! Nevertheless, the British Citizenship application refusal reasons mainly relates to:

  1. Incomplete applications
  2. Parent not a British citizen
  3. Not of good character
  4. Delay in replying to enquiries from UKVI
  5. Inability to meet the Residence Requirements
  6. Oath not taken in time
  7. Insufficient Knowledge of English and KOL

British Citizenship by Naturalisation Refusal Rate

During 2008-2017, the Home Office made a 1.71 m decisions relating to British Citizenship. Accordingly, granted British Citizenship to 1.62 m applicants and refused 87,339 applications refused. Accordingly, the average British Citizenship refusal rate is approximately 5.10%.

Grants

During 2008-17, a total 1,625,058 grants for British Citizenship made in the following four categories:

  1. Naturalisation based on residence – 843,579
  2. Naturalisation based on marriage – 345,724
  3. Registration of minor children – 383,704
  4. Registration on other grounds – 52,051
Minors

During 2008-17, a total of 383,704 Registration of Minor Children were made in the following two categories:

  1. Entitlement to registration as a child – 188,053
  2. Discretionary registration as a child – 195,651
Registrations

During 2008-17, the Home Office made 52,051 Registrations on other Grounds in the following categories:

  1. Entitlement to Register on Other Grounds – 45,893
  2. Discretionary Registration on Other Grounds – 3,265
  3. Entitlement to Reg under section 5 – 1,955
  4. Entitlement to Register as an Adult – 901
  5. Discretionary Registration as an Adult – 37

Enquiry Form

For Case Discussion and Representation

    MY ENQUIRY RELATES TO (required)

    I HAVE COME TO KNOW ABOUT UK VISA BLOG THROUGH (required)
    Social MediaNewspaperFriend or ColleagueInternet SearchGoogleAny Other

    DOCUMENT # 1 Optional (Max Size 2MB)

    DOCUMENT # 2 Optional (Max Size 2MB)

    *What happens next?

    Multilingual qualified London based immigration specialists will get back to you. Perhaps, usually within 2-3 working days. If you have not attached any documents, then the UK based Law firm may ask for the relevant Case-Specific Document(s) such as Refusal Letters, Deportation Orders, Application Forms etc. Moreover, after reviewing the papers and information, the legal advisor may advise a course of action and also quote the fees for processing the application.

    Have a great day!