Who can be a referee for your British citizenship application?

30 Jan 2024, 04 mins ago

One of the most important requirements when applying for British citizenship is selecting referees. The Home Office have stated that applying for citizenship is a privilege rather than an entitlement, and thus having referees to establish your identity is considered to be of the upmost importance.

You will need to nominate two referees to sign brief declarations as part of the application. This blog investigates the requirements that your nominated referees must meet.

You must nominate two referees. The first referee must be a professional person of any nationality who has known you personally for at least 3 years. The term ‘professional person’ has been defined by the Home Office and can be found via this link.

The second referee must hold a valid British passport, have known you personally for at least 3 years and be either a professional person, or over the age of 25.

Each referee must not be:

  • related to you;
  • live at the same address as you;
  • related to the other referee or living at the same address as them;
  • the solicitor representing you with respect to your application; or
  • employed by the Home Office.

The referees must not have been convicted of an imprisonable offence in the last ten years. A referee convicted of an imprisonable offence is not acceptable even if they did not serve time in prison for that offence. Conviction alone will result in disqualifying them from acting as a referee.

When endorsing your application, the referees will be confirming:

  • That they are qualified to act as a referee;
  • That the photograph provided with the application is a true likeness of yourself;
  • That they understand each of the points in the “Requirements of a referee” section in their declarations;
  • That, to the best of their knowledge, the details given in the application about you are correct;
  • That the referee’s details given in the application are correct; and
  • That they have known you for at least 3 years.

The Home Office may carry out checks to ensure that the referees do not have any convictions, are qualified for this role, and that their signatures are genuine.

Given that applying for British citizenship is such a significant milestone, it is important to carefully select your referees to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible. Failing to get this right can lead to your application being put on hold, causing stress that can otherwise be avoided.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa 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 X, FacebookInstagram, 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.

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