APPLY FOR NATURALISATION & BRITISH CITIZENSHIP
Naturalisation and British Citizenship
Gaining or claiming British nationality can be a complicated and highly challenging area of law for both legal bodies and individuals alike. This is due in part to the rich and complex history that the United Kingdom has with other countries. Do you believe that you may have the right to British citizenship or at least the right to apply? What type of British nationality is relevant to you and how can you go about securing your citizenship?
Types of Nationality
There are six categories of British nationality. You may fall under any one of these, and you may need to trace your family tree back through multiple generations to see if you are already a British citizen, or if you have the right to apply. Ensuring that you know which type of British nationality you are likely to hold can help with your application.
You may hold British citizenship or be a British subject, British overseas citizen, British overseas national, British Overseas Territories citizen, or a British protected person.
Types of Citizenship
There are also two different types of British citizenship, and it is vital to understand which you fall under. You may be a British citizen “otherwise than by descent” or a British citizen “by descent”.
The category you fall under depends on where you were born, when you were born, and the circumstances of your parents. By looking at these, you should be able to determine whether you are automatically a British citizen.
The British Empire
The legacy left by the British Empire has cast a long shadow over the other five categories of British nationality. They are usually associated with people whose families lived within the British Empire, and when applying under these five types, you are unlikely to be granted the right to live in the UK or work here unless you also have the relevant immigration status that allows this.
If you are considered British under these types, you will also be unlikely to hold a British passport. In this case, you may usually apply for the Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode with your existing, foreign passport. This means you will be able to live and work in the United Kingdom without having a UK passport.
If you are not automatically a British citizen, you will need to be either naturalised or registered. The exception to this may be if you have a British grandparent, in which case you may be able to live and work in the UK.
Naturalisation vs Registration
Known as the most common manner for adults to gain British citizenship, naturalisation involves holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residence before applying. You will also be required to fulfil certain requirements regarding your residency and demonstrate that you have a good knowledge of English and life in the UK. You will also need to show that you have good character and that you plan to remain in the UK.
Registration is generally used for children under eighteen or adults in certain special circumstances. While you would still need to display good character (a criminal record check and check of your immigration history, if the applicant is over ten years old), it is not necessary to display English language proficiency or knowledge of life in the UK.