Applying for British Citizenship? Hang on for a few minutes.
Trying something without having a clear idea of the same is like jumping into the sea without a knowledge of swimming and expecting to reach the shore. You end up nowhere and worse, your life is at risk.
Your dream of becoming a UK Citizen is no exception. While here your life is not at risk, your goal surely is. Allow us to lend a helping hand and highlight five things that you need to know before you apply for UK Citizenship.
#1. Eligibility Criteria for British Citizenship
There are five key requirements to apply for UK citizenship through naturalisation that you must satisfy:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be of “good character”. That is, must not be convicted of a felony
- Be currently living in the UK
- Meet English requirements
- Pass “Life in the UK” test
Besides, these general requirements, applicants also need to have:
- Lived in the UK for at least 5 years, without absence longer than 450 days
- Travelled outside of the UK for no more than 90 days in the last year
- UK permanent residence (for EEA nationals) or been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK
#2. What are the Benefits of British Citizenship?
There is a wide range of benefits for becoming British citizenship. Here we have highlighted some of them for you:
- The right to live permanently in the UK
You can freely move to the UK and enjoy the benefits of settlement, including the ability to purchase property, work, open a bank account, marry in the U.K. and more.
- Free medical care
The UK National Health Service began in 1948 and is one of the largest organisations in Europe. It provides all UK residents with free healthcare and treatment.
- No work restrictions
UK citizens do not need to apply for any work permits. They have access to all the government job search services and unemployment allowances.
- Stable society and economy
The Pound is a fairly strong and reliable currency. The UK economy is quite resilient even in a period of world financial crisis. The UK has a stable government and a moderate population, where discrimination and sexual harassment, for example, are illegal.
- Receiving a British passport and unrestricted entry to the UK
Once you get British citizenship, you can apply for a UK passport. That means you will no longer be subject to immigration controls. Don’t get lured by certain agencies or websites who pretend that they can get you a British passport. In fact, they absolutely cannot speed up the process for you. You should just apply directly to the UK government’s Identity and Passport Service (IPS), as the process is not complicated. All citizens (aged 16 and over) applying for a passport for the first time must attend an interview with IPS in person to confirm their identity.
- The right to vote
All UK-born and naturalised citizens have full civic rights, including the right to vote in a parliamentary, local or European election. This gives you a voice in the governing of the country. To vote, you must have your name on the register of electors, known as the electoral register.
- Standing for office
Most citizens of the United Kingdom aged 18 or over can stand for public office. There are some exceptions, and these include members of the armed forces, civil servants and people found guilty of certain criminal offences.
#3. What is the Process to Apply for UK Citizenship?
Once you have gone through the eligibility requirements, you need to follow the following process:
- Prepare your application for British Citizenship
You can prepare your application for naturalization:
- Submit an individual application
- Apply through a National Checking Service (NCS)
- Apply through an agent or representative
- Complete biometrics
- Pay the fee to submit your application
- Attend a citizenship ceremony and officially become a British citizen
#4. Where can I apply for UK Citizenship?
You can apply for a UK Citizenship at your local UK consulate, or alternatively, you can send the application form, fee and necessary supporting documents to the following address:
- Department 1
- The Capital
- New Hall Place
- L3 9PP
In case you are overseas, you should send your application to UK visas and immigration:
- Department 1
- UK Visas and Immigration
- PO BOX 306
- L2 0QN
#5. Citizenship Test- “Life in the UK”
Application for UK citizenship requires you to take a citizenship test and pass it. You need to book the test online with a fee of £50 and must book it at least three days in advance of the date you wish to take the test.
The exam assesses you on your knowledge about the UK’s geography, history, civics, etc.
You don’t need to take this test if:
- You are below 18 years or above 65 years of age,
- You have passed the test before while completing your settlement application,
- Suffer from a long-term physical or mental condition. However, you must present a form or letter from the doctor confirming the same.
#6. You Need to Prove Your English Competence
Before applying for the UK Citizenship test, you need to prove your knowledge of English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic. This would require you to take a speaking and listening test. The best part is you can do this up to 2 years before you apply.
#7. How Can You Prepare for “Life in the UK Test?”
First thing you need to do is grab your copy of Life in the UK handbook. The questions are based on this handbook only. Start chapter-wise preparation and support it with chapter tests. Once you are done, make sure to take ample simulation tests.
Now that you have the preliminary information about the British citizenship application, it’s the right time to set your best foot forward and get started. Prepare well and All the best for your UK Citizenship!
For this, you can hop to any of the online resources and begin. Some of the websites like UKCitizenshipSupport.com offers free tests.
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