USA and the UK
- What is UK Citizenship by Marriage?
- What are the requirements for UK Citizenship by marriage?
- What is the application process for British Citizenship?
- What kind of Settled Status do I need to become a British citizen through marriage?
- What are some other requirements to consider?
- Life in the UK Test
- What is the cost to apply for British citizenship as a spouse?
- What is the processing time for British citizenship by marriage?
- How IAS can help with your application?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is UK Citizenship by Marriage?
Spouses or civil partners of British citizens who would like to settle in the UK have the opportunity to apply for UK naturalization after living in the United Kingdom for three years. As opposed to other routes to UK citizenship which require at least 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, eligible spouses and civil partners of UK nationals who hold a UK Spouse Visa can apply for citizenship after 3 years if they have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain or another type of Settle Status.
Once the spouse or civil partner has been granted British citizenship, he or she will be granted the right to live and work in the UK without immigration restrictions.
What are the requirements for UK Citizenship by marriage?
According to UK immigration law, those who are married to or in a civil partnership with a UK national do not automatically acquire British citizenship. Therefore, those who wish to remain in the UK permanently with their British spouses or partners may consider applying for British naturalization.
To be eligible for UK naturalization, all applicants must be able to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old at the time of application
- Have lived in the UK for at least 3 years
- Have proof that you are ‘of good character’
- Have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- Have passed an accredited English language exam to determine that you have adequate English language skills (if you are from a non-English speaking country)
- Have passed the Life in the UK Test
What is the application process for British Citizenship?
The British Citizenship application process first begins with the applicant completing Form AN and submitting it to the Home Office along with the necessary supporting documents. This form can be completed online or completed on paper and then sent away to the designated immigration office by post.
Form AN is an extensive form about 30 pages long in which you will be asked to provide personal details, biographical data, and employment information. Furthermore, you will also need to prove that you have spent the necessary amount of time in the UK for naturalization in addition to providing proof of your settled status.
As part of your UK naturalization application, you will need to have passed the Life in the UK test in addition to passing the English language test if you are from a country that is not English-speaking. For most Americans, this requirement is waived.
After this form is completed, you will then need to pay the naturalization application fee and book an appointment for biometric data collection (fingerprints and photograph) at your nearest UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center.
If your British naturalization application is approved, you will be invited to attend a British citizenship ceremony where you will pledge an oath of allegiance to the United Kingdom and then be presented with a Certificate of Naturalization. Once you have received your certificate, you will have officially become a UK citizen and can therefore apply for a British passport in the future.
If would like assistance with filling out Form AN or are simply in need of more guidance regarding your UK naturalization application, contact our qualified immigration experts today. We can help complete and submit your UK naturalization application on your behalf and even provide you with an accompanying Letter of Representation to help highlight the strengths of your immigration case.
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What kind of Settled Status do I need to become a British citizen through marriage?
To become a British citizen through marriage, you will first need to have lived in the UK for at least 3 years when you begin your naturalization application. Furthermore, you can not begin your British naturalization application unless you have some form of settled status which may include one of the following:
- Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)
- EU Settled Status
- Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK (that is the permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad)
What are some other requirements to consider?
In addition to residency requirements and having settled status, all applicants for UK naturalization must also be of sound mind and meet the ‘good character’ requirement.
In regards to a sound mind, all applicants must be fully capable of understanding of making their own decisions. It should be noted that those with a mental illness or handicap that may affect their ability to communicate will not be prevented from applying for British citizenship.
Individuals who are completing a naturalization application on behalf of someone who is not of sound mind will need to include a letter stating their position as a legal representative along with any relevant documentation that explains the applicant’s mental condition such as a letter from the applicant’s doctor detailing the condition.
In regards to the good character requirement, applicants must show that they have been in compliance with UK law while living in the country. This includes not being found guilty of any immigration-related offense within the past 10 years including not entering the UK illegally.
The Home Office will also take into account other actions of good character such as financial soundness, charitable acts, service in the armed forces, or any other positive contribution to the applicant’s community.
Life in the UK Test
One of the most important requirements for obtaining British citizenship of any kind is passing the Life in the UK Test. All individuals seeking to settle in the United Kingdom must pass this important test.
The Life in the UK test is comprised of 24 questions regarding British traditions and customs. The test taker will have 45 minutes to answer these questions that were selected randomly. Test takers can review the questions ahead of time by examining the official handbook for the Life in the UK test.
By passing this test, the foreign national is able to demonstrate to the UK Home Office that they are suited for permanent residence in the UK and that they have a firm grasp and appreciation for the customs, traditions, values, and history of the United Kingdom.
Individuals who have already taken and passed the Life in the UK for their settled status application will not need to retake the exam for their British citizenship application.
The Life in the UK costs £50 to take. Test takers may book an appointment for the exam online through the UK Gov website where they will be able to choose the nearest test center where they the exam will take place.
Individuals who do not pass the Life in the UK test the first time are welcome to retake the test as many times as it takes to successfully pass. However, the test takers will have to pay the £50 fee each time they take the exam.
What is the cost to apply for British citizenship as a spouse?
Overall, the general cost to apply for British citizenship by marriage will include the following costs:
- Citizenship application: £1,330
- Biometric surcharge: £19.20
- Citizenship ceremony: £80
- Life in the UK Test: £50
- Certified translation (if applicable): costs will vary
- English language test (if applicable): costs will vary
What is the processing time for British citizenship by marriage?
Generally, UK naturalization applications take about 6 months to process. Some applications can take longer to process if they are missing documents or if more information is required. Once the Home Office receives your application, you will receive confirmation of receipt within 4 weeks. Depending on your personal circumstances and immigration case, you may be called in to attend an interview.
If during the processing of your naturalization, your situation changes such as divorce or death of a partner, you will need to notify UKVI as soon as possible.
How IAS can help with your application?
Here at IAS, we are dedicated to helping spouses and civil partners settle with their loved one in the UK. Whether you need help applying for a UK Spouse Visa, guidance with your Spouse Visa Extension application, questions about Indefinite Leave to Remain, or British Citizenship through marriage, we are here to help you every step of the way. We strive to make the process as stress-free as possible while offering comprehensive advice.
Hiring one of our expert immigration lawyers will help ensure that your UK Citizenship application is completed to the highest standard. To further help, we will also provide you with a Letter of Representation to submit along with your portfolio of evidence. Contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 or leave us a message in the chat to find out more about the services we can provide you with.
In order to apply for British citizenship by marriage, you will need to have spent at least three years in the UK before you start your application. In addition, during these three years, you will also need to meet the residency conditions which include:
- Not have spent more than 270 outside of the UK during the three-year qualifying period
- Not spent more than 90 days abroad in the last 12 months prior to your application
- Not have broken any UK immigration laws during your UK residency
If your application for UK citizenship is approved, you are required to attend a citizenship ceremony if you are 18 years or older. This ceremony must be booked within 3 months of receiving an invitation to attend from the Home Office.
Normally, this event will be organized by your local council where you will be allowed to bring 2 guests to attend. Group citizenship ceremonies cost £80 to attend. If you would like a private event, you will be expected to pay more depending on your local council.
Individuals who are outside the UK for their citizenship ceremony may request their nearest UK Embassy or Consulate to hold a citizenship ceremony.
After receiving your British citizenship certificate at the ceremony, you will then need to submit your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) along with a note explaining the reason for the return to the Home Office within 5 business days. If the BRP is not returned in time, you may face a fine of up to £1,000.
You may apply for a British passport after you have been granted your British nationality at the citizenship ceremony. Adult UK passports are valid for 10 years and cost £75.50 for an adult standard passport.
If you have children who are born in the UK to at least one British parent, then those children will automatically obtain British citizenship.
For all other inquiries regarding British citizenship status for children under the age of 18, it is best to consult with an experienced UK immigration attorney who can best assess the child’s eligibility for UK citizenship based on their personal circumstances.
If your partner has died before you have submitted your UK naturalization application, you will not be eligible to apply for British Citizenship by marriage. However, if you have some form of settled status, you may still be eligible to apply for British citizenship through other immigration routes.
For more information on what immigration pathways are available to you, contact an experienced UK immigration attorney today. Our immigration experts at IAS are happy to discuss with you all the available immigration routes available based on your background and history in the UK. Call us today at +1 844 290 6312 or leave us a message in the chat and we will get back to you.