In order to apply for British citizenship, you must first obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) in the UK. How quickly you obtain ILR will depend on the type of visa that you have.
For most visa categories, including Skilled Worker and Spouse routes, you must complete a continuous period of five years’ residence in the UK under that category before being eligible to apply for ILR.
There are certain visa categories, however, under which you might qualify for ILR in less than five years. For example, certain Global Talent and Innovator Founder visa holders may be able to apply for ILR after three years of continuous residence in the UK. Similarly, for those on Tier 1 (Investor) visas, it may be possible to qualify for ILR after two continuous years via investment of £10 million, or after three continuous years via investment of £5 million.
If you have qualified for ILR based on a 5-year route and you are not married to an existing British citizen, you will need to wait a further 12 months before being eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
If you have qualified for ILR based on a 2- or 3-year route, you will need to wait until you have been resident in the UK for at least five years before being eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
Although having ILR enables you to live and work in the UK without restrictions, ILR can be lost if you cease to be ordinarily resident in the UK. Obtaining British citizenship can, therefore, provide greater certainty, and this is a key factor for many individuals considering naturalisation.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa and nationality matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.