British Citizenship

As a specialist immigration law firm, we can assist you with applying for British Citizenship.  We will spend time understanding your personal circumstances and our advice will help you to build a robust, successful application.

What is British nationality?

The legal definition of ‘British nationality’ is provided in the British Nationality Act 1981 (“BNA 1981”). This definition takes into consideration the individual’s date and place of birth and descent.
Different types of British nationals are defined in the BNA 1981:

  • British citizens;
  • British nationals (overseas);
  • British overseas citizens;
  • British overseas territories citizens;                                        
  • British protected persons;
  • British subjects.

Under the Immigration Act 1971, certain British citizens/subjects can live and work in the UK without being subject to immigration control. This occurs when the individual has obtained citizenship by birth, descent, registration, or naturalization.

How do I become a British Citizen through naturalization?

For most migrants, the route to becoming a British Citizen is to first acquire Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or if you are an EU/EEA national, Settled Status.

To qualify for British Citizenship, you will need to:

  • have held ILR or Settled Status for 12 months
  • have passed the Life in the UK test
  • meet the English language requirement
  • plan to live permanently in the UK
  • be of good character

What is the good character requirement?

The government guidance states:

“To be of good character you should have shown respect for the rights and freedoms of the UK, observe its laws, and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident of the UK. Checks will be carried out to ensure that the information you give is correct.”

Criminal record checks will be carried out on your application for British Citizenship.  If you have been sentenced to four or more years in prison, your application is likely to be refused.  A sentence of between 12 months and four years will result in refusal of British Citizenship unless 15 years or more have passed since the end of the sentence.  A prison sentence of up to 12 months will require 10 years to have passed since the offense was spent before an application for citizenship will be granted.

If you have a criminal record, normally three years will have to pass since the offense was spent before you can apply for British Citizenship.

If you are concerned about the good character requirement, please speak to one of our immigration Solicitors.  Our founding partner, Garth Coates, spent many years working in the Home Office as an Immigration Caseworker.  This experience has given him a unique understanding of the motivations behind caseworker’s decisions when considering citizenship applications.  We may be able to explain circumstances that could negatively affect your application in a covering letter, increasing your chances of success.

What can I do if my British Citizenship application is refused?

Applications for British Citizenship are refused for numerous reasons.  Often it is because certain required documents have not been included in the application.  We will take the time to listen to you and examine the circumstances of your refusal so that we can advise and represent you in having the refusal overturned.

Because we specialize in immigration law, you can be confident that we have most probably seen your type of case before and have successfully overturned the Home Office’s decision.

Established in 2008, Garth Coates Solicitors is a leading Immigration Law Firm that can provide professional legal advice to ensure that your Application satisfies the strict requirements of the Immigration Rules

Our team of legal professionals offers comprehensive and considered advice to enable our clients to make informed choices. We strongly believe that our clients deserve the best; we take our responsibilities very seriously to ensure that client satisfaction is achieved by providing a professional yet friendly legal service. We aim to resolve all immigration matters brought to us by working diligently and together with our clients, keeping them informed of the progress of their case at all stages. Our outstanding success rate is maintained thanks to the high standard of our work.

If you would like us to assist you with your Immigration Matter, kindly click here to leave us an Enquiry. Alternatively, we can be reached via telephone at (00 44) (0)20 7799 1600 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (UTC+00.00 London) every Monday to Friday.