There are two paths towards naturalisation for adults, both of which require that you already have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain and that you do not have any unspent convictions (including any previous immigration ‘offences’ such as periods of overstay.
You must have been lawfully resident in the UK for at least three years. This could be a combination of any legal stay, ie fiancé(e) and spouse or any other categories. Time spent in the UK as a visitor will also count. You must also meet the residency requirements and will not normally have spent more than 270 days out of the UK within the last 3 years and no more than 90 days out of the UK in the last 12 months. There is a little flexibility on this even if your absences were due to work, or compassionate reasons.
There is no need to have had Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for a clear 12 months, provided you meet the 3 year requirement.
If you are not married to a UK national
You must have been lawfully resident in the UK for at least 5 years and must have had ILR for at least 12 months. You must not have 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 you were granted ILR ‘outside the immigration rules’, the Home Office may decide to waive the requirement to have been lawfully resident. This would usually require submissions on compassionate grounds, and the Home Office will consider your length of stay in the UK, family ties to the UK and whether or not you have any family in your home country. Although naturalisation is not guaranteed it may be that an application is worthwhile. Feel free to send us an enquiry.
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 more than one during the qualification period may be a hindrance to approval. If you have a conviction for a motoring offence this may not be considered as a criminal record, depending upon the severity of the offence. In all cases however, you must declare this on your application. Offences such as drink-driving and driving without insurance are considered serious offences, and will normally result in a criminal record and, as such, would usually end up in a notice of refusal.
I cannot recommend MediVisas enough
“I cannot recommend MediVisas highly enough – Chris helped process my citizenship and they were very thorough in their initial consultation to find out all the details of my immigration history, which had been handled by another firm. Their personal attention to my case, answering all my (many!) questions knowledgeably and with lots of patience, ensured I felt informed every step of the way which made the process really painless. Helping me to get everything filed correctly, quickly and with ease, they made the process stress-free at every turn – and with their help and expedited filing I had an answer way before I thought I would and I am happy to say I am now a dual citizen thanks to them!”