For most people the ultimate end to their immigration journey is obtaining a British passport.  If you are a child under 18 and qualify, you will get British nationality by registration

Most adults get British nationality through the naturalisation process.  Naturalisation is a defined legal process where the eligibility criteria is found in statute.  Section 6(1) and Section 6(2) of the British Nationality Action 1981.

Section 6

Section 6(1) is for those who already hold their right to permanent residence in the UK for a minimum period of twelve months prior to application and can show full non-disqualifying residence in the UK for at least five years before applying for nationality.  It is essential for anyone applying under Section 6(1) or Section 6(2) not to have any criminal convictions.  The process is therefore only available to those of good character.

Section 6(2) is for those who are applying because they are married to or in a civil partnership with a British partner and can show full non-disqualifying residence in the UK for at least three years before applying for nationality.  In both categories you must show you intend to live permanently in the UK and that you are of sound mind.  Thus, anyone with mental health problems or is unable to handle their affairs in the legal sense may not successfully apply for nationality.

Applying for naturalisation

To apply for naturalisation you must complete a prescribed application form.  Presently the application form is Form AN.  The most important feature of the form is that you need the support of two referees.  One who must be British and over 25 years.  The other can be of any nationality and a professional.

Both must be persons of good character and not related to you.  They must have known you for two years or more.

Naturalisation costs

To support your application you need to pay a significant fee to the Home Office Nationality Section. The fee constantly changes and so before applying it is advisable to check out the page, fees for citizenship applications.


As part of the Government’s commitment to ensure that those who wish to settle in the UK really understand life here and have a stake in the community, all applicants must possess knowledge of sufficient English assessed through a set criteria and must have knowledge of life in the UK assessed by passing a designated test.

Those under 18 and over 65 need not take a test but everyone else unless, there are statutorily defined exceptional circumstances must produce proof of eligibility in English and life in the UK.

Criminal convictions

As good character is now firmly an eligibility criteria, some changes have been made to how the issue of people’s criminal convictions are assessed in nationality applications.  In a lot of ways, the effect of criminal convictions on nationality applications have been tightened.  Now, any criminal sentence involving prison of four years or more can never fall outside a sentencing threshold so such applications for citizenship will be likely refused.

Police cautions will now be considered when assessing good character.

However, for those applying from HM Forces, some disciplinary military offences may now be ignored.

Take advice about naturalisation

If you have the need to apply for naturalisation, it is worth getting a specialist practitioner to hold your hand and assess your eligibility.


Call WETALK LAW on 0203 002 4898 or visit the Contact us page for more information.



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