If my spouse is a British citizen, what are the differences in requirements for naturalisation?

28 Dec 2023, 04 mins ago

If you are married to a British citizen and would like to apply for British citizenship by ‘naturalisation’, there are various necessary requirements. The requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen differ slightly if you are applying on the basis of marriage to (or civil partnership with) a British citizen – for example, shorter residency requirements.

You must be aged 18 or over and have resided in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before the date of your application.

To meet these residency requirements, you must not have:

  • spent more than 270 days outside the UK during the 3 years before your application;
  • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months before your application.

There are various exemptions to this requirement, such as if your partner works abroad, either for the UK government or a closely linked organisation.

Other special circumstances may also be considered, for example, if you were unable to live in the UK at the start of the 3-year period due to health reasons or travel restriction. The Home Office will likely consider exemptions and exceptional circumstances on an individual basis.

If you meet the residency requirements, an application can be made as long as you have achieved status as one of the following:

  • Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK
  • ‘Settled Status’ – also known as Indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Indefinite leave to enter the UK – permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad

It is also a requirement to prove:

  • you were in the UK exactly 3 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
  • your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • you’ve passed the Life in the UK test
  • that you are of ‘good character’ (further information on this can be found on the naturalisation guidance document)

The application costs £1,500 (as per the fee increases effective from 4 October 2023).

The Home Office will usually make a decision within 6 months, although some applications can take longer.

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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.

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