Eligibility and fees
You can apply for citizenship if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and have had one of the following for 12 months:
- indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- ‘settled status’ (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’)
- indefinite leave to enter the UK (permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad)
You do not need to wait 12 months to apply if you’re married to a British citizen.
You must also:
- be over 18
- prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
- prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
- have passed the life in the UK test
- intend to continue living in the UK
- be of good character - read the naturalisation guidance
If you had ‘permanent residence’ status before getting settled status
Permanent residence status stopped being valid on 1 July 2021.
If you had permanent residence status before getting settled status, you can still count the time that you had permanent residence towards the 12 month qualifying period. This means you might not have to wait 12 months after getting settled status to apply for citizenship.
You came to the UK in 2013 and gained permanent residence status in 2018. In April 2021, you got settled status.
Usually, you would need to wait 12 months after getting settled status to apply for citizenship - but because you had permanent residence status for 3 years already, you can apply straightaway.
You must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application.
You cannot include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control as a:
- member of a diplomat’s staff or household
- member of visiting armed forces
Time you’ve spent outside the UK
You should not have:
- spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years before your application
- spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
- broken any UK immigration laws (for example living illegally in the UK)
You may have lost your indefinite leave to remain or enter if you’ve been away from the UK for:
- more than 2 years at any time since you got it (you’ll need to apply for a Returning Resident visa)
- more than 5 years if you have settled status
- more than 4 years if you are a Swiss citizen, or the family member of a Swiss citizen, and you have settled status
This is one way to apply for British citizenship. Check if you’re eligible another way.
When to apply
You must have been physically present in the UK exactly 5 years before the Home Office receives your application. Your application may be rejected if you cannot prove this.
If the Home Office receives your application on 20 June 2022, but you left the UK on 10 June 2017 and returned to the UK on 25 June 2017, you will not qualify. You’ll need to wait until 24 June 2022 to apply.
The date the Home Office receives your application depends on how you apply. If you apply online, your application will be received on the same day. It will take longer if you apply by post.
How much it costs
It costs £1,330 to apply.
You’ll also need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken - there’s no fee for this. You’ll be told how to do this after you’ve applied.