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Immigration and naturalisation

Anyone who is not a British national can use the immigration and naturalisation service to obtain British Citizenship.

However, there are certain rules that you must fulfil in order to obtain naturalisation, including being a full-time resident in the UK and obtaining full UK citizenship.

The immigration and naturalisation service

The immigration and naturalisation services from the UK Border Agency are detailed and will give you all the information you need to begin the naturalisation process. If you are in any doubt about your current status, or your ability to become a UK citizen, you should always take qualified legal advice.

When approaching a solicitor to provide an immigration and naturalisation service, ensure they are registered by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

Hand-in-hand with the UK Border Agency is the Identity and Passport Service. Immigration and naturalisation services include obtaining a full UK passport or a naturalisation certificate. These documents provide general support to your claim for naturalisation in the UK. Generally, you:

  • Must be over 18 years old
  • Have been living in the UK for the last five years - or three years if you are married to a British citizen

Becoming naturalised will also depend on:

  • Good character
  • An ability to speak English (or another UK dialect such as Welsh); those fluent enough in English will also have to take a test called ‘Life in the UK’ as part of their citizenship requirements
  • A clean criminal record
  • Employment
  • Remaining in the UK for a certain time period prior to obtaining citizenship

Making applications to immigration and naturalisation services can be daunting and often requires a lot of paperwork and time. If English is not your first language, translating these documents can also cause unnecessary delays and confusion.

Talking to a specialist immigration and naturalisation advisor who can assist you on all your queries about living and staying in the UK will alleviate the pressures of the immigration process. There are many local immigration and naturalisation services and legal advisors across the UK who are ready to help.

Refused applications

The services you use will process your application. If your application is refused, the immigration and naturalisation service will write to you stating why your application was turned down. In these circumstances you have the right to appeal the decision.

As you will need to show that the decision that was made was not in accordance with current UK immigration policy, or nationality law, the services of a qualified solicitor is essential.

You should give your solicitor all the information you can about why you think you can appeal the decision about your immigration and naturalisation. It is vital that you are honest and give your solicitor as much help as you can.

They will draft a letter to the UK Border Agency outlining your appeal. Remember, any solicitor you do use must be registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

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Important information

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