Naturalization is the process of applying for British citizenship, having first obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Settled-Status through an immigration route.
If you are married to a British national, then you can apply for naturalization as soon as you have ILR or Settled-Status.
If you are not married to a British national, then you must wait 12-months from the date you obtain ILR or Settled-Status, before you can apply for naturalization.
Whether or not you apply for naturalization will be a personal decision for you. By this point you will have reached the end of your UK visa journey, and you can live your life in the UK with ILR or Settled-Status, without ever obtaining British citizenship, if you wish.
1. Your ILR will expire if you spend longer than 2-years outside the UK. You should maintain it by returning to the UK at least once every 2 years. This will re-start the 2-year period. Or, if you have Settled-Status, this will expire if you spend longer than 5 years outside the UK on a single trip. Similarly, you would maintain this by returning to the UK at least once every 5-years.
2. Conversely, if you have British nationality, you can spend as long as you want outside the UK, and return whenever you want;
3. Some countries do not permit dual nationality. Taking British nationality may mean you have to surrender your other nationality. Some countries (South Africa, for example) will permit dual nationality, but you must seek permission from them prior to acquiring a new citizenship, or you may lose your original citizenship. In all cases, you should check this with the appropriate authorities in your country of nationality;
4. Some passports are stronger than others. Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa for the places you wish to travel to. However, a British passport does not require a visa for most countries, including EU countries. So, last-minute, visa-free holidays to Europe are possible on a British passport, but may not be on other passports.
5. But if you already have a strong passport (i.e. USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, etc.) you may find no greater practical advantage in holding dual British nationality. This is because, since the UK left the EU, a British passport is no better than other strong passports (i.e. USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, etc.) when travelling to Europe;
6. You should be aware of any dual-taxation arrangements that your country of nationality may have. Some nationalities are still obligated to pay tax in their country of nationality, in certain circumstances, even if they live in the UK.
In the next section, we look at the actual British citizenship requirements..
All applicants applying for British citizenship via naturalization must meet the following requirements:
British citizenship requirements via naturalization are then differentiated between those who are married to a British citizen, and those who are not married to a British citizen.
Those who are married to a British citizen must meet the following additional requirements:
Those who are not married to a British citizen must meet the following additional requirements:
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