British Citizenship

Becoming a British citizen could have significant implications for you and your family. If you think you are eligible to naturalise or register as a British citizen and want some advice, contact one of our dedicated immigration lawyers.


You can apply to naturalise as a British citizen if you are at least 18 years old, you are settled in the UK (there are no time limits on your stay), you intend to have your main home in the UK and you meet the good character, residency and knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements.

The residency requirements differ depending on whether or not you have a spouse or civil partner who is a British citizen. If you do not have a spouse or civil partner who is a British citizen, you must usually have lived in the UK for at least 5 years, have indefinite leave to remain/permanent residence and not spent more than 450 days outside the UK.

If your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen, you must usually have lived in the UK for at least 3 years, have indefinite leave to remain/permanent residence and not spent more than 270 days outside the UK.

You will also need not to have breached any immigration conditions in the last 10 years.


Unless one of your parents was British or settled in the UK when you were born, just being born in the UK does not mean that you are automatically a British citizen. However, you could be eligible to register as a British citizen.

You could apply to register as a British citizen if you were born in the UK, are under 18 years old and either:

  • One of your parents becomes a British citizen or settled in the UK (obtains indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence), or
  • You are at least 10 years old and you have not spent more than 90 days outside the UK during the first 10 years of your life

If you are making an application once you are over the age of 10 years old you will have to meet the good character requirement as outlined above.

You may also be able to register as a British citizen if you have another form of British nationality, you were born to British parents outside the UK, you have a connection with Gibraltar or Hong Kong or you are stateless. The registration process and requirements are different for each category so it is important to obtain legal advice before submitting an application.


There is no right of appeal against a decision to refuse an application for British citizenship. You can though apply for the application to be reconsidered if you believe the decision was not soundly based on law, policy or procedure.

If the decision is maintained, and you believe that the decision is unlawful, unreasonable or there have been procedural errors, you may be able to apply for judicial review. However, this can be a time-consuming, complex and costly process. You should immediately seek specialist immigration advice if you are considering making an application for judicial review.


If you are successful in your application to become a British citizen, then you can live and work in the UK free of any immigration controls. Unlike indefinite leave to remain, citizenship cannot be lost due to absences from the UK. You will be able to apply for a British passport and travel freely within the EU. Your children could be eligible to apply to register as British citizens or may automatically be British citizens.

Why use Bishop & Sewell?

Our immigration lawyers have the expertise and experience to guide you through this difficult and sensitive area of law. Our team has assisted numerous individuals throughout the UK and worldwide, no matter how complicated their case, to obtain a positive result. We have been ranked in both Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500 as experts in immigration law.

We are able to assist you with:

  • Making an application to register as a British citizen
  • Making an application to naturalise as a British citizen
  • Preparing an application for reconsideration of a refused application for citizenship
  • Challenging a refusal by issuing an application for judicial review

What should I do now?

If you are thinking about making an application to register or naturalise as a British citizen, our immigration lawyers can provide you with quality legal advice to achieve the best possible outcome. Our immigration team can answer your questions about the legal process, your rights and what the best option is for you.

For initial advice or to arrange a meeting with one of our immigration solicitors please contact us on 020 7631 4141.

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Who to contact

For more information the following lawyers will be able to help with British Citizenship.

Mariam Khaliq
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Karma Hickman
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