UK passport renewal overseas as a British expat part 2 – Part one is here.
How to get citizenship in the UK?
If you are a citizen of another country and you wish to obtain citizenship in the UK, then the information provided below will come in handy for you.
There are different paths to acquiring citizenship in the UK, and rules can be liberal as well as complex for doing so. You can obtain citizenship in the UK through the following methods.
- Citizenship by birth
- Citizenship by descent in the UK
- Citizenship by naturalization
- Citizenship by marriage
- Citizenship by adoption
- Citizenship as a resident of overseas territory
- Citizenship as a refugee in the UK
- Citizenship as an EU/ETFA citizen
Let us a brief insight into each of these methods individually before we get to know other details related to citizenship in the UK.
- Citizenship by birth
If born in the UK, then you will automatically become a British citizen, and there is nothing much to explain about this.
Before 1983, everyone born in the UK or any of the British colonies was considered a citizen of the UK.
People who are born after 1983 are only able to claim citizenship if they were born in the UK and either one of their parents was a British citizen or EU/ETFA citizen living in the UK, or Non-EU/ETFA citizen who had residency rights in the UK.
So, if you want to qualify for citizenship by birth, then you must have been born in the UK and are aged under 18 years, while one of the parents became a UK citizen or got residency rights/permanent residency in the UK.
Otherwise, you must be born in the UK and should have lived there until the age of 10 years. In this case, there will be additional requirements.
The fee for applying through this method is £1,026 (£1,012 for individuals under 18 years of age) along with an £80 citizenship ceremony fee.
- Citizenship by descent in the UK:
Citizenship can be acquired through this method if you were born outside of the UK and one of your parents happens to be a citizen in the UK whether it is by birth, naturalization, adoption, or registration.
People have to meet certain eligibility criteria for obtaining citizenship through this method, which depends on the birth year.
For people born before 1983, the citizenship of the “UK and Colonies” used to be transferred automatically through the father of the individual when the parents were married.
For people who were born between 1983 and 30 June 2006, the citizenship was passed on from either of the parents, and the marriage rule was still in effect if transferred through the father.
From 1st July 2006, citizenship can be acquired through any of the parents if they are British citizens.
Individuals are also allowed to apply through this method if they were born to at least one British citizen before 1st July 2006, even when the parents are not married, or, if they were born after 1st July 2006 and lived with their parents when at least one of parents is a British citizen by descent.
The fee for applying through this method is £1,012 (for those born after 1st July 2006) along with an £80 citizenship ceremony fee.
- Citizenship by Naturalization/Residence:
Individuals can also apply for UK citizenship through the process of naturalization after residing for five years in the UK.
This five-year period should include 12 months of indefinite leave or EU-settled status. This process can be expedited if the individual is married to a British citizen.
Individuals would also have to meet the following requirements in order to obtain citizenship through this method.
- Proof stating that the individual is proficient in English, Welsh, Scottish, or Gaelic.
- Individuals should pass a test known as the Life in the UK test.
- Individuals should be completely free from any sort of criminal record.
- Individuals should not spend more than 450 days outside the UK in the past five years while spending no more than 90 days in the past 12 months.
People who want to apply for citizenship through this method can do it in two ways, where the first way is via submitting an application form online or by post, and the second way is by acquiring services from a registered agent or representative.
While opting for this method, applicants should attend an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Services (UKVCAS) and submit their biometric data along with scanned copies of necessary documents.
The application fee is £1,330 (£1,012 for children aged under 18 years) along with an £80 citizenship ceremony fee (only applicable for adults) and biometric costs up to £20.
- Citizenship by Marriage:
Like any other country, the UK offers citizenship to the people who marry the existing citizens. However, the individuals who want to obtain citizenship through this method must have been living in the UK for at least three years.
There is no necessity for fulfilling the 12-month indefinite leave or the EU settlement status.
Apart from that, all the additional requirements are the same as the requirements for citizenship by naturalization process such as passing the Life in the UK test.
If you wish to apply for a divorce in the UK, the rules depend on your residency status and the rules might also vary for the people when they file for divorce abroad.
The process, fee structure, and timeframe for citizenship through marriage are the same as those of citizenship through naturalization.
- Citizenship by adoption:
Any child will obtain UK citizenship automatically if they are legally adopted, where at least of the adoptive parents is a UK citizen as well as habitual resident in the UK.
The process of adoption needs to be done through a UK court, and because citizenship is automatic, there is no need to apply specifically for obtaining citizenship.
- Citizenship as a resident of overseas territory:
This is for an individual who is a citizen of a British Overseas territory or a citizen of a Commonwealth country and is born before 1st January 1983 having at least one parent born in the UK.
Such an individual would be considered as a British national and will become qualified for Right of Abode (ROA). People who become eligible for ROA can register as UK citizens and they don’t need to go through the process of naturalization.
British nationals who qualify for ROA and registration for UK citizenship are as follows:
- British Overseas Territories Citizen
- British Overseas Citizen
- British Subject
- British National living abroad
- A British protected person
This process is free and will not be considered full citizenship in the UK.
Additionally, there is a Windrush scheme allowing Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK before 1973 and their children, along with people from any country who arrived before 1989 and are residing in the UK to apply for settlement rights.
People who are eligible for the Windrush scheme can apply for free British citizenship.
The costs involved with this process are around £372 and can be around £388 if the individual is applying from outside of the UK. The certificate needs to be renewed after the expiry of the passport.
For full citizenship, British overseas national needs to pay £1,206 (£1,012 for children under the age of 18 years) along with an £80 citizenship ceremony fee.
- Citizenship as a refugee in the UK:
The process of citizenship for refugees is the naturalization process, where the refugees are able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK for a period of five years after obtaining the refugee status.
They can apply for citizenship after one year following the date they obtain their refugee status.
Alternatively, individuals are also able to register as UK citizens when they are legally considered stateless (conditions applicable for people born after 1st January 1983).
The fee is £1,206 (£1,012 for children under the age of 18 years) along with £80 for citizenship ceremony fees (applicable to adults aged 18 and above).
- Citizenship as an EU/ETFA national:
As per the EU Settlement Scheme, EU/ETFA citizens are allowed to continue living in the UK as long as they or their family member has been living in the UK before 31st December 2020.
The last deadline for applying for this scheme was on 30 June 2021, yet you can apply for this under certain circumstances (e.g., medical reasons).
Settled status can be obtained after living in the UK for five years, and within the five years, a pre-settled status can be obtained which turns into settled status after the completion of five years.
After having the settled status for twelve consecutive months, individuals are allowed to apply for the process of UK citizenship through naturalization.
Irish citizens as well as EU/ETFA citizens who already have an ILR will not be required to apply for settlement status and can obtain British citizenship via the normal naturalization process.
- The Life in the UK test costs around £50, which can also be booked online. While applying for this test, you have to submit Identity Proof, Address Proof, and an Email Address.
- Individuals need to score at least 75% on this test or else they have to take the test again after seven days while having to pay another £50.
- Just like the passport renewal, the cost of the standard passport fee is £75.50.
- The time was taken of obtaining a British passport usually takes around four to eight weeks, and people can opt for fast-track services if they need their passport urgently.
- All the methods of obtaining citizenship in the UK usually take around six months, unless suggested otherwise.
These details will be helpful for you whether you are applying for UK citizenship for the first time or if you are trying to renew your existing passport while living abroad.
We hope this was informative. You must remember that the costs and the rules were accurate by the time we are offering this article, yet there may be some changes when you read this.
Therefore, we highly suggest you know more details regarding the citizenship process and/or the passport renewal process.
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