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May 8, 2020

UK Naturalisation: Detailed Guidelines and Requirements (5 Years Residence)

Our clients are asking us how to apply for UK Naturalisation as a British citizen, first of all applicant  will need to meet certain statutory criteria with regard to their immigration status, length of residence in the UK, future intentions, knowledge of the English language, life in the UK, and good character.

Moreover, the requirements for vary slightly depending on whether applicant is married to a British citizen or not.

 Requirements for Naturalisation as a British Citizen

 Applicant can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

And Applicant must usually have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of their 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 applicant from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • had permanent residence status for the last 12 months if applicant is a citizen of an EEA country – applicant need to provide a permanent residence document
  • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

 Residence Requirement for Naturalisation as A British Citizen

  • in the UK at the beginning of the period of 5 years ending with the date of the application
  • not absent from the UK for more than either:
    • 450 days in that 5-year period
    • 90 days in the period of 12 months ending with the date of application
  • not, on the date of application, subject under the immigration Rules to any restriction on the period of stay in the UK
  • not, at any other time in the 12-month period ending with date of application, subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on their period of stay in the UK
  • not at any time in the period of 5 years ending with the date of application, in the UK in breach of the immigration laws

There is discretion to waive the Residence Requirements except that the applicant must:

  • have been in the UK at the beginning of the 5-year period, unless their absence was due to serving in HM forces
  • be free from time restrictions under immigration law at the time of their application

The following can be used as evidence of residence in the UK:

  • passports or travel documents which have been stamped to show arrival in the UK and entry and departure from other countries.
  • if the applicant does not have passports to cover the qualifying period, other evidence such as employers’ letters or tax and National Insurance letters
  • If there are gaps in a person’s evidence of residence and it is clear from the information available that they could not have travelled, the Home Office caseworker must accept this. Examples of this might include a refugee who has no means of travel or where immigration records confirm continuous residence.

Absences and Discretion for Excessive Absences – section 6(1) applications

Where an applicant has spent more than 450 days for outside of the UK during the qualifying period, the Home Office will consider exercising discretion if they meet the other requirements.

Where the applicant exceeds the permitted absence by 30 days or less the Home Office would normally exercise discretion unless there are other grounds on which the application falls to be refused.

Good Character Requirements 

An applicant for naturalisation as a British Citizen must satisfy the good character requirement to succeed in his application.

All aspects of an applicant’s character, such as:

  • negative factors, for example criminality, immigration law breaches and deception, and
  • positive factors, for example contributions a person has made to society.

UK Referees for Naturalisation As A British Citizen

An applicant must be supported by two referees. One referee must be a person of professional standing and the other must be the holder of a British citizen passport and either a professional person or over the age of 25.


You can request consultation from our immigration lawyers.

Mann’s Solutions is international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Moscow and has expertise in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration lawyers regulated by OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner).

For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation with our immigration lawyers in London Office, please contact us at or call +44 207 993 63 46.