What Are the Different Ways of Obtaining British Citizenship?

British citizenship is one of the most popular in the world!

For example, in the year ending in June 2019, 153,462 people applied for and were granted British citizenship.

As Britain emerges from Brexit and looks to establish itself as a more independent trading nation, it will continue to offer great opportunities to investors and key talent. 

If you are interested in living and working in Britain, getting British citizenship is the best way to ensure your long-term stay. 

How can you learn how to apply for British citizenship? What documents will you need? Why not read on to find out the answers to these and more. 



If you are living in the UK already, you probably know all about the pros and cons of citizenship vs residency. While both have their advantages, citizenship will give you the permanency you need to set down roots and start building a long-term life. 

Before you can apply to be a British citizen through naturalization, you must have been living in the UK for 5 years. You should have achieved indefinite leave to remain or permanent residency status for 12 months before you can apply. 

In addition to this, you should have successfully passed the British citizenship test, otherwise known as the “Life in the UK test”. This is mandatory and even celebrities have to take the test. 

To be able to naturalize as a British citizen you should also meet the following requirements:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • Have a record of possessing good character
  • Speak English to the required degree
  • Have the intention to continue to live in the UK
  • Have spent more than the minimum time necessary in the UK over those five years
  • Meet the requirements for supporting yourself financially 

If you meet these requirements you will be able to apply to naturalize and receive a British passport. 

One of the main aspects of your application that will be scrutinized is your financial records. Why not read more here about how you can prove your ability to support yourself financially. 

Crown Service

If your parent or grandparent was working under the Crown Service at the time of your birth, this could give you the right to receive citizenship. 

What is the crown service? This means that your father or grandfather was working for the British military, the Overseas Civil Service, the Colonial Service, or the Diplomatic Corps either in Britain or abroad.

You could apply for citizenship on the basis of this service and your birth during the time of this service. 

Of course, there are some other factors involved. However, if you feel that you may have the right to apply for citizenship on this basis, you should apply for a British nationality assessment.


Marriage is a good basis for applying for British citizenship. However, this route for your citizenship through marriage application will depend on a number of factors. 

If you married a British citizen before 1 January 1983, you can apply for the “right to abode”. This is essentially similar to the indefinite right to remain in Britain. This process is easier if the woman is from a country known as a commonwealth member

If you did not marry before 1983 and would like to marry a British citizen and apply for citizenship the process is a little more complex. 

In order to be able to apply for a spouse or partner visa, you should meet the following requirements: 

  • Have met your partner in person
  • Be legally married to one another
  • Have the intention to live together permanently
  • Meet the financial requirement

When you receive a spouse or partner visa you can stay in the country for 2.5 years. At the end of this period, you can stay for another 2.5 years. Following this, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain and follow the path to naturalization.


In rare cases, it is possible that a child is born without a specific nationality. If one of the parents was British at the time of their birth, they may be able to claim citizenship on this basis.

There are a number of factors that limit the opportunity to benefit from this arrangement. These include a rule that requires the child to apply for citizenship before they become 18 years of age. At this point, they lose the right to British citizenship on this basis forever.

This is one of the most complex routes to citizenship and it is almost always better to consult professional agents.

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If you adopted a child or were adopted in the UK after January 01, 1983, by a British citizen, you may have a strong case to apply for British citizenship. 

It may even be possible for a person who was adopted outside of the UK, to receive citizenship. This will be dependent on the nationality of your birth parents. 

To find out the possibility of claiming British citizenship in this way it would be good for you to do an extensive investigation into your family heritage. Research and if possible certify the nationality of your close family members. 

Depending on the information you find you may be able to use it as a basis for your application.  

Unmarried Father

The UK government passed a law in 2006 that allows the children of British parents the right to British citizenship regardless of their parent’s marital situation. 

In the past, they would only be able to apply if the parents were legally married. However, this is no longer the case. An additional law was passed in 2014 to make this legislation retroactive. 

If you are the child of a British citizen abroad why not consult with an attorney to see if you can apply for British citizenship.

All You Need to Know about British Citizenship and More

If you are looking to move and make a fresh start then Britain has much to offer. Getting British citizenship is the best way to ensure that you can stay, work and enjoy all the amenities of the country. 

By applying the suggestions that we have discussed, you can simplify the process and concentrate on your new life in blighty!

If you want to learn more about this and other subjects, simply head over to our blog page for more of the same.