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Become a British citizen

  1. Check if you can apply

  2. If your spouse is a British citizen

  3. How to apply

  4. Where to send your application

  1. After you’ve applied

  1. Citizenship ceremonies

  1. After your citizenship ceremony

1. Check if you can apply

There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’.

You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:

And you must usually have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application

  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years

  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

  • had settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) in the UK for the last 12 months if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

  • had permanent residence status for the last 12 months if you’re a citizen of an EEA country – you need to provide a permanent residence document

  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen.

You can’t include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control (for example, as a diplomat or member of visiting armed forces) as part of the 5 years.

Read the full guidance notes and the requirements booklet before applying.

You may be able to apply to become a British citizen by ‘registration’ in certain circumstances.

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

Children under 18

You can apply on behalf of a child under 18 if they meet the eligibility criteria. They don’t have to pass the Life in the UK Test.

Read more about citizenship for children under 18 in Guide MN1.


Read about the different fees for citizenship applications.

2. If your spouse is a British citizen

If you’re married to, or the civil partner of, a British citizen, you can apply for citizenship if:

Unless your spouse or civil partner works abroad either for the UK government or for an organisation closely linked to government, you must usually also have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 3 years before your application is received

  • spent no more than 270 days outside the UK in those 3 years

  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

Read the guidance notes and the requirements booklet before applying.

3. How to apply

There are 3 ways to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation:

  • make an individual application

  • use the Nationality Checking Service (NCS)

  • use an agent or representative

Make an individual application

You must fill in Form AN – application for naturalisation as a British citizen

Read the guidance notes and the requirements booklet, which tell you how to fill in the form and what other documents you need to provide.

Apply using the NCS

The NCS is run by local councils and they can help you make your application. Check if your local council has an NCS.

Apply through an agent or representative

An agent or representative is a private company or individual that can help you with your application and give you advice.

Check if an agent or representative is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

You can also use some solicitors or barristers that aren’t registered with the OISC. These include:

  • General Council of the Bar

  • Law Society of England and Wales

  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

  • Faculty of Advocates

  • Law Society of Scotland

  • General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland

  • Law Society of Northern Ireland


Read about the fees for citizenship applications.

Biometric information

You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This costs £19.20.

The Home Office will tell you when you need to provide your biometric information. Your biometric information is only held until you’ve attended a citizenship ceremony.

4. Where to send your application

Send your application form, fee and any supporting documents to:

Department 1
The Capital
New Hall Place
L3 9PP 

Channel Islands or the Isle of Man

Send your application to the Lieutenant Governor.

British overseas territories

Send your application to the Governor of the territory.

All other countries

Send your application to UK Visas and Immigration:

Department 1
UK Visas and Immigration
PO BOX 306
L2 0QN 


Read about the different fees for citizenship applications.

5. After you’ve applied

You’ll get a letter confirming your application. It can take up to 4 weeks for you to get the confirmation.

A decision about your application will usually be made within 6 months – some applications can take longer.

You’ll be told if you need to give more information to help with your application. You should also contact UK Visas and Immigration if your situation changes (eg, you move house, get married or are arrested) during your application.

Nationality contact centre

You might be asked to attend an interview where you’ll need to speak without an interpreter.

6. Citizenship ceremonies

You’ll be invited to book a place at a citizenship ceremony if your application is successful and you’re over 18.

You’re usually allowed to take 2 guests. You must take your invitation when you go to your ceremony.

There’s a ceremony fee of £80.

Ceremonies in the UK

Your ceremony will usually take place close to where you live.

Citizenship ceremonies are organised by your local council and are usually done in groups. Book your citizenship ceremony with your council. You can ask for a private ceremony.

Request a ceremony outside the UK

If you’re not living in the UK, you can ask to have your ceremony at the embassy or consulate in the country you’re living in.

If you’re only abroad for a few months, you might be asked to postpone the ceremony until you return to the UK.

If you’re planning to be away for longer, you might have to prove you’re planning to live in the UK permanently.

During the ceremony

You’ll have to make an oath of allegiance (or you can make an affirmation if you prefer not to swear by God) and a pledge. This means you’ll promise to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK.

At the end of the ceremony you’ll be presented with your certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack.

Some local councils sell photographs or videos of the event.

When you don’t need to attend a ceremony

You’ll need to make an oath or affirmation of allegiance but you won’t need to attend a citizenship ceremony if you’re registering to become a:

7. After your citizenship ceremony

Once you’ve got your certificate of British citizenship, send your biometric residence permit back to the Home Office.

You must send your permit back within 5 working days of either:

  • going to your citizenship ceremony

  • getting your certificate of British citizenship

Cut your biometric residence permit (BRP) into 4 pieces and put it in a windowless envelope. Include a note saying you’re returning your permit because you’ve become a citizen. The note needs to include your name, date of birth and the document number (located on the front of the card).

Naturalisation BRP Returns
PO Box 195
BS20 1BT 

You’ll be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t return your permit within 5 working days.

Travelling to and from the UK

You must have either a British passport or a right of abode certificate to enter the UK.

You can’t enter the UK using your BRP or certificate of British citizenship.

For more information please see the link of the Home office UK government web page below:


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