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How Do You Become British?

If you or your children are not automatically British through birth or other entitlement, there are two ways through which you can obtain British citizenship. These are through naturalisation or registration.

Registration: Applications for registration can be dependent on the UK Border Agency’s discretion therefore it is very important that you fully understand the requirements and evidence that you need for the application. The decision to register someone as a citizen will be based on the particular facts of your case.

Naturalisation: The legal requirements for naturalisation are specific and include the requirement to pass the Knowledge of Life in the UK test and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of English Language to a required level. People are also required to demonstrate their good character, which means that people who have convictions, reprimands or even very minor penalties for offences, may be unable to naturalise or may need legal advice before they make an application. As the Home Office fee for these applications is substantial, we can help guide you through this process, giving you advice about when and how to make an application, to give your application the best chances of success.

If you do not meet all the requirements of the British Nationality Act 1981, the UK Border Agency may, in certain circumstances, exercise its discretion and grant your naturalisation application anyway, we can assist you with making a case to the Home Office to exercise its discretion in your favour.

It is therefore helpful to get legal advice prior to making your application for citizenship through registration or naturalisation as you will not have the right to appeal any refusal to grant you citizenship, and refusal also means that the Home Office retains the majority of your application fee.

How We Can Help

Depending on the nature of your case, we can advise you on whether you or your child is automatically British or entitled to register as British. We can advise you on whether you or your child can naturalise or register as British citizens. For those who hope to assert a claim to nationality through ancestry or previous Citizenship of the UK and Colonies or another type of British nationality, such as British National Overseas status, we can also advise you how to obtain British Citizenship or how to prove you are already British.

If your personal circumstances do not meet the specific requirements of the British Nationality Act 1981, we can advise you on the circumstances in which the UK Border Agency could exercise its discretion to grant you citizenship. We are happy to represent you throughout the application process.

If you have a criminal conviction or are unable to complete the Knowledge of Life in the UK test or the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course in English and citizenship, we will advise you and may be able to assist you in your application.

If you have already applied for citizenship but have received a refusal from the UK Border Agency, we will advise you on whether you can challenge the refusal through judicial review and represent you throughout the judicial review process.

For further information and advice please contact our Immigration team on call 01206 835270 or email [email protected] / [email protected].

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