There are two basic routes to naturalisation for adults,
both of which require that the applicant already has
Indefinite Leave to Remain and does not have any unspent convictions.
If married to a UK national - the applicant must have been lawfully resident
in the UK for three years. This could be a combination of any legal stay,
ie fiancé and spouse or any of the tier categories. Time spent in the UK
as a visitor will also count. The applicant must also meet the residence
requirements, and would not normally have spent more than 270 days out of
the UK in the last 3 years and not more than 90 days out of the UK in the
last 12 months. There is a little flexibility on this if absences were for
work reasons or because of compassionate reasons. There is no need to have
had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for a clear 12 months.
If not married to a UK national - The applicant must have
been lawfully resident in the UK for at least 5 years and must have had ILR
for at least 12 months. He must have not spent more than 450 days out of the
UK in the past 5 years and must have not been absent from the UK for more than
90 days in the past 12 months. Again, there is a little flexibility on this.
If an applicant was granted ILR outside of the immigration rules, for
example as part of the 'legacy' scheme, then the Home Office may decide to waive the
requirement to have been lawfully resident. This would usually require submissions on
the compassionate grounds, and the Home Office will take into account the length of stay
in the UK, family ties in the UK and whether or not the applicant has any family in their
home country. Although naturalisation is not guaranteed it may be that an application is
worthwhile. This should be discussed with an advisor.
As of 6th April 2011, an application will not be approved if the applicant has an unspent
criminal record, and the 'Rehabilitation of Offenders Act' should be looked at to see if a conviction
is considered 'spent' or not. Although Fixed Penalty Notices are not considered to be criminal
convictions, having had more than one in the qualification period may be a barrier to approval. If
someone has a conviction for a motoring offence this may not be considered as a criminal record if,
for example it is merely for speeding, however it should be declared on the application. Offences
such as drink-driving and driving without insurance are considered serious and will result in a criminal record.
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