Eligibility and fees
You can apply for British citizenship by ‘naturalisation’ if you:
- are 18 or over
- are married to, or in a civil partnership with, someone who is a British citizen
- have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the date of your application
You can apply as soon as you have one of the following:
- indefinite leave to remain (ILR) 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 must also:
- prove you were in the UK exactly 3 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
- prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
- show you’ve passed the life in the UK test
- be of good character - read the naturalisation guidance
This is one way to apply for British citizenship. Check if you’re eligible another way - including through the Windrush scheme.
You must have lived in the UK for at least 3 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
You also should not have broken any UK immigration laws.
If you have indefinite leave to enter or remain, the Home Office will not usually check if you broke any immigration laws before then.
Time you’ve spent outside the UK
To be eligible, you should not have:
- spent more than 270 days outside the UK during the 3 years before your application
- spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
You may be exempt from the residency requirements if your partner works abroad either for the UK government or an organisation closely linked to government.
When to apply
You must have been physically present in the UK exactly 3 years before the Home Office receives your application.
Your application may be rejected if you were not in the UK exactly 3 years before the Home Office received it. This depends on the reason why you were not in the UK.
The Home Office will consider if there are special circumstances, for example:
you were not able to live in the UK at the start of the 3 year period because of health reasons or travel restrictions
you were told to leave the UK during the 3 years but this decision was later overturned
If the Home Office receives your application on 20 June 2022, but you left the UK on 10 June 2019 and returned to the UK on 25 June 2019, 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 £1,580 to apply.
How long it takes
You’ll usually get a decision within 6 months - some applications can take longer.
Children under 18
Your child is usually automatically a British citizen if they were born in the UK and their other parent was a British citizen.
If your partner has died
You cannot apply for citizenship as the partner of a British citizen if your partner has died. Check if you’re eligible another way - for example if you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.