Naturalisation Requirements u/s 6 of British Nationality Act 1981

This relates to Requirements to Naturalise as a British CitizenNaturalisation Requirements u/s 6 British Nationality Act 1981. Apparently, the requirements somewhat vary based on whether an applicant is married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or not.

Naturalisation Requirements u/s 6 British Nationality Act 1981

In case an applicant is married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen then the applicant is required to meet the stipulations of Section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981. If the applicant is not married or in a civil partnership with a British Citizens then he/she is required to meet the stipulations of Section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Naturalisation Requirements: Not Married to a British Citizen

A certificate of naturalisation u/s 6 (1) of the British Nationality Act is likely to be granted to an applicant if, the applicant is able to fulfil the following requirements:

  • is at least eighteen (18) years of age;
  • is of full capacity and good character;
  • either meets the residence requirements or is serving outside the United Kingdom in Crown Service under the government of the UK;
  • has sufficient knowledge of:
    • English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh language, and can provide the required evidence to support this;
    • life in the UK and provides the required evidence to support this;
  • if successful, the applicant intends to have his/her main home in the UK or enter into or continue in any of the following:
    • service under an international organisation of which the UK or the UK government is a member;
    • Crown service under the government of the UK;
    • service in the employment of a company or association established in the UK.

Naturalisation Requirements on basis of the spouse

If an applicant is either married to or civil partner of a British Citizen then he/she is likely to be  granted a certificate of naturalisation u/s 6 (2) of the British Nationality Act if the applicant fulfils the following requirements:

  • is at least eighteen (18) years of age;
  • is of full capacity and good character;
  • is either married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen;
  • meets the residence requirements;
  • has sufficient knowledge of:
    • English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh language and the applicant can provide the required evidence to support this;
    • life in the UK and can provide the required evidence to support this.

Please note: in some cases, HM’s Home Office might deem to exempt an applicant from the language and knowledge of life in the UK requirements.

Children under 18 Cannot Be Naturalised

Children under the age of 18 cannot be naturalised. Where a child is included on an application, it is considered whether the child is already a British citizen or he/she can be registered as a British citizen either because he/she has an entitlement or at the discretion of the Home Secretary.

Where a child included on an application has an automatic claim to British citizenship then the Home Office informs this in writing to the applicant.

For further guidance on how to an application from children is considered please refer to Registration as a British citizen: Children Guidance.

Full Capacity Requirement for British Naturalisation

Full capacity is defined in section 50(11) of the British Nationality Act 1981 as being ‘not of unsound mind’. It is not further defined in the act, but the requirement can be regarded as having been satisfied if the assessment standard set out below is met.

Required Standard for Full Capacity

The Requirement of Full Capacity is not intended to deny British nationality to individuals who have a disability which makes it difficult for them to communicate. The requirement is specifically to ensure that applicants are able to comprehend their actions in applying for citizenship. Therefore, an application for British Citizenship is not likely to be refused on the basis that an applicant is not able to communicate as the result of a disability.

Although an applicant might be able to understand the purpose of his/her citizenship application; however, he/she do not need to have a comprehensive understanding of citizenship or nationality or the procedures involved. An applicant must be of a sufficiently sound mind to know before applying that he/she wants to acquire British citizenship. Before granting an application the assessing office is expected to ensure that there is no reason to doubt that that level of understanding is present or capable of being restored.

Section 44A of the British Nationality Act 1981 allows for the full capacity requirement to be waived where it is in the best interest of the individual.

Assessing the Full Capacity Requirement

The majority of applicants are likely to meet the full capacity requirement. Therefore, an application is normally considered from the position that the full capacity requirement is met unless there is something to indicate otherwise, such as an (examination/medical) report from a doctor or referee. Where there is a reason to question the applicant’s capacity, further enquiries are likely to be made by the assessing office from the applicant and also from his/her referee/doctor, if and where appropriate.

Waiving the Full Capacity Requirement

If it appears that the applicant may either have a mental health condition or disability or is receiving treatment in any establishment for people with mental health conditions or learning disabilities an application for British Citizenship under Section 6 cannot be refused, solely on this basis. Where there is information which could cast doubt on whether the requirement has been met, either the applicant or his/her appropriate representative can be asked by assessing officer to submit a report from his/her doctor or from a person professionally responsible for the applicant’s care or welfare. The applicant is required to bear the cost of such a report. The assessing officer is required to explain both the full capacity requirement and the Home Office interpretation of it for soliciting as much information as possible from the applicant/representative to help reach an appropriate decision on the naturalization application submitted under Section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981.

In cases where the applicant cannot be considered of full capacity, then it is considered whether it would be in the best interests to waive the requirement by taking the following factors into account:

  • views of the applicant, to the extent that he/she is able to express them;
  • views of any other person, professional or otherwise, who has assumed responsibility for the applicant’s welfare;
  • citizenship status of other family members, especially those with whom the applicant resides or is in regular contact.

The decision whether or not to waive the full capacity requirement is taken by a Senior Caseworker.

Waiving the Oath and Pledge

Where the requirement to be ‘of full capacity’ has already been waived, it is quite usual that the requirements to make the oath and pledge and to do so at a citizenship ceremony are also waived. However, the views of any professionals or family responsible for the individual’s care are invited. Where there is a desire for the applicant to attend a citizenship ceremony, such as where the applicant is a part of a family group of applicants, it should be possible to accommodate this. Such requests will, in most instances, are dealt with by the Citizenship Ceremonies Support team following discussion with the relevant local authority.

Not of Good Character Refusal and Naturalisation Requirements

A person may likely to be not of good character if there is information to suggest:

  1. applicant has not respected and/or is not prepared to abide by the law. For example, the applicant has been convicted of a crime or there are reasonable grounds to suspect (i.e. it is more likely than not) involvement in crime
  2. any involvement or association with war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, terrorism or other actions that are considered not to be conducive to the public good
  3. financial affairs are not in an appropriate order. For example, failed to pay taxes for which the applicant was liable
  4. involved in notorious activities, which cast serious doubts on standing in the local community
  5. deliberate dishonest or deceptive in dealings with the UK Government.
  6. any assistance in the evasion of immigration control
  7. previous deprivation of British of citizenship

Perhaps, this is a non-exhaustive list. If the person does not clearly fall into one of the categories outlined above but there are doubts about an applicant’s character, the decision maker may still refuse the application. Moreover, an applicant may also request an interview in order to make an overall assessment.

Naturalisation Residency Requirments

To satisfy the residence requirement you must not have been absent for more than 90 days in the last 12 months. And the total number of day’s absence for the whole 5-year period should not exceed 450. If you are married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, the total number of day’s absence for the whole 3-year period should not exceed 270.

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK

Perhaps, applying to become a citizen of the UK is an important decision and commitment. Apparently, it is quite important that an applicant seeking British Citizenship through naturalisation is able to communicate with the wider community. And also equipped to play a part in community life. Therefore, that ability to speak English is a very important part of life in the UK. Moreover, learning about Life in the UK also will help an applicant to understand: what it means to be a British citizen.

Accordingly, an applicant needs to satisfy the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement by passing the Life in the UK test and to

  • have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent level qualification; OR
  • have obtained an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK and (i) UK NARIC has confirmed that the qualification was taught or researched in English or (ii) the qualification was taught or researched in the UK or a majority English speaking country other than Canada; OR c. are a national of a majority English speaking country.

Life in the UK Test – A Journey to Citizenship

The test is taken on a computer. Moreover, an applicant is given an opportunity to practice using the equipment and have an option to complete a short trial test before beginning the Life in the UK test. The test usually lasts for up to 45 minutes and comprises of 24 questions based on the handbook Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship.

Life in the UK – A Journey to Citizenship Ensure you are fully prepared for your Life in the UK test with the only official handbook on which the Life in the UK test is based. This essential handbook contains all the official learning material for the test and is written in clear, simple language – making it easy to understand.


If an applicant is aged 65 or over or has a long-term physical or mental condition that prevents from meeting the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement for naturalisation may be exempt.

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Posts on Naturalisation and British Citizenship:

  1. Naturalisation Residency Requirements- British Citizenship u/s 6
  2. British Citizenship Application under Section 6 of 1981 Act
  3. British Citizenship Grants by Previous Country of Nationality