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Getting British citizenship through marriage

If you’re married to a British citizen, you may be wondering whether you could become a British citizen yourself. In theory, the answer is yes. But you will have to fulfil the necessary requirements, submit documentation, and pass the British citizenship test, “Life in the UK.” Don’t worry. it sounds more complicated than it really is. You just need to read this article carefully and follow the instructions.

How to get British citizenship through marriage

Who can apply?

To apply you must be over 18 and be either married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen. You must also have lived in the Uk legally for at least three years before the date of your application.

Requirements and Documentation needed

Apart from the basic requirements mentioned above, you will also need to:

  • Provide evidence of your identity with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or your passport. You can also use your driving licence or a bank statement, for example.
  • A valid permit that allows you to live indefinitely in the UK, such as the indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or the ‘settled status’ (under the EU Settlement Scheme).
  • Prove your level of English if you’re not from an English-speaking country. You can do this by means of a degree taught-researched in English or a valid qualification in English (at least B1 CEFR or higher). If you don’t hold any of these, you can book an approved language test.
  • Pass the “Life in the Uk” test, which consists of 24 questions about British traditions and customs based on the handbook “Life in the UK: A Journey to Citizenship”.
  • Be of good character by observing British laws and respecting the rights and freedoms of the UK.
  • Prove you were physically present in the UK on the same date of your application three years before. You may have to provide payslips, household bills, etc.
  • Prove you have not been away from the Uk for more than allowed. The 270 days in the 3-year period or 90 days outside in the 12-month period before making the application.
  • Provide the contact details of two referees who can help prove your identity. One of them must be a UK national and neither of them can be your relative. You can check the guidelines for referees here in the section “commonly used terms.”

How to apply

If you fulfil the requirements, you can apply for the UK citizenship in two ways:

  • Online: by completing the application form online. If you choose to apply this way, the application will be received on the same day and you´ll get a response faster.
  • By Post: by downloading and completing the naturalisation form and sending it together with your documentation to:
  • Department 1
  • UK Visas and Immigration
  • The Capital Building
  • New Hall Place
  • Liverpool
  • L3 9PP

As part of the application process, you will also have to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your fingerprints and let them take a passport photo of you. When you make the appointment you will be given the choice of uploading the evidence yourself from home, or paying a fee to have them scan the documents for your.

What happens after you apply?

Once you apply, you must await the Home Office reply. If your application is successful, you’ll need to attend a citizenship ceremony within 3 months of getting a response. At the ceremony, you’ll make an oath of allegiance and a pledge and receive your certificate of British citizenship.

You’ll be asked to cut your biometric residence permit (BRP) into 4 pieces and send it back to the Home Office in a windowless envelope to this address:

  • Naturalisation BRP Returns
  • PO Box 195
  • Bristol
  • BS20 1BT

You should include a note stating your name, date of birth, your document number (found on the front of the card), and the reason why you’re returning your permit (because you’ve become a citizen). You must do this within 5 working days of getting your certificate of British citizenship. You can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not return your permit within the time limit.

Cost and processing time

To get citizenship by marriage you must pay a £1,330 fee. You will also need to factor in £19.20 for the appointment at UKVAS, and £50 for the “Life in the Uk” test. If you need to prove your Level of English, you will have to pay around £150 for a test. You can expect to get a decision on your application within 6 months of submission.

    You can also read:

- Becoming a British Citizen by Naturalisation

- What Documents Can Be Used as Proof of Identity in the UK?

- How to Obtain a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) in the UK