British Citizenship by Marriage

If your partner is a British citizen and you see your future in the UK, you may be considering gaining British citizenship through marriage. This type of naturalisation application is dependent on satisfying a number of requirements, so it’s smart to seek legal help when you begin your application. Latitude Law has helped a wealth of people successfully gain citizenship through marriage, and will be happy to assist you through the process.

For expert legal advice from our immigration team, call us today on 0044 161 234 6800 (Manchester) or 0044 207 046 7185 (London). Alternatively, fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time specified by you.

Who can apply for citizenship by marriage?

You can apply for citizenship by marriage if you are married or in a civil partnership with someone who is a British citizen. You must also:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have lived in the UK for the past three years, and do not have excessive absences in that period
  • Have been granted indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence here
  • Be of good character, proven by two referees

You must also prove that:

  • You can speak English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to an intermediate level, B1 CEFR
  • You were in the UK exactly three years before the day the Home Office receives your application
  • You have passed the Life in the UK test
  • You have not lived in the UK in breach of immigration laws for a period of up to 10 years preceding the date of your naturalisation application
  • You are of good character, details of which are found in naturalisation guidance

If you’re from the European Economic Area (EEA), you must be able to produce confirmation that you hold permanent residence in the UK in accordance with EEA regulations and have since obtained settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Who can be a British citizenship referee?

You will require two referees to confirm that you are of good character. One must be a British passport holder over the age of 25; the other must be a professional person, not necessarily British.

A referee can not be your British spouse or anyone personally related to you. They also cannot be the lawyer who is handling your citizenship application.

What is the process of getting British citizenship by marriage?

After you have made sure you are eligible, you must make an online application to the Home Office. You must provide supporting documentation and pay the fee of £1,330.

Applications typically take four to six months to be decided; there is unfortunately no priority option available. You are permitted to travel abroad while waiting for a decision on your citizenship application.

If your application is successful, you will be required to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will swear allegiance to His Majesty the King and receive a certificate of British citizenship. Following this, you must send a biometric residence permit (BRP) to the Home Office within five working days. Your solicitor will help you to arrange this. If you fail to send this to the Home Office within this deadline, you may receive a fine of up to £1,000.

How we can help

Our immigration experts will help you understand obtaining citizenship through marriage to your partner – in plain English. They can advise and assist you at every step, ensuring your application isn’t rejected due to an oversight or technicality.

We also know applying to the Home Office can make you feel like just a case number. So we work hard to understand your application on a personal level because we believe your unique circumstances as a couple are key to unlocking your future in the UK.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Applying for citizenship through marriage can sometimes be a stressful and worrying process. So it helps to have reliable legal guidance on board. Latitude Law has a wealth of knowledge in this area of law, allowing us to provide expert support with Home Office policy, case law and the laws that govern citizenship by marriage in the UK. We make sure that we pull out all the stops to ensure your application has the best chance of success.

Contact us

Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation with a specialist immigration solicitor.

Call our Manchester team on 0044 161 234 6800 or our London team on 0044 207 046 7185, or complete our online contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

FAQs about British citizenship by marriage

When can you apply for British citizenship?

If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, you can apply for British citizenship once you have lived in the UK for at least three years, and you have been granted settlement or indefinite leave to remain.

Do I meet the eligibility criteria for British citizenship by marriage?

If you are unsure as to whether you meet the criteria for British citizenship listed earlier on this page, call our team today and we will help you to assess your circumstances.

What are the residency requirements for British citizenship by marriage?

You must have lived in the UK for at least three years when you submit your citizenship application. You are permitted absences of up to 270 days in that three-year period, and 90 days in the last 12 months, although there is discretion to allow longer absences, subject to your circumstances. For example, you may have been stranded outside the UK due to COVID travel restrictions. If your absences are at or above these limits, you should seek expert advice before applying.

What tests do I have to take to achieve British citizenship?

To be eligible for British citizenship, you will need to pass the Life in the UK test, and prove that you are proficient in the English language. Those from majority English-speaking countries don’t have to prove English proficiency, but must still pass the Life in the UK test. You can take these tests at any time before you make a citizenship application. The Life in the UK test can be attempted as many times as you like, but each attempt will require you to pay a fee. British language tests will also require you to pay a fee of around £150, depending on the provider.

You will not need to take either of these tests if you are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65, or if you have medical or other grounds for seeking an exemption.

Can I still get British citizenship by marriage if my spouse has died?

You can not apply for citizenship if your partner dies before you submit your application as your eligibility relies on your partner’s status. If you hold limited permission to stay in the UK based on your marriage, and your partner dies, you may be eligible to apply for settlement as a bereaved spouse.

How much does British citizenship by marriage cost?

The application fee for naturalisation is £1,330.

What documents do I need to provide?

Our lawyers will provide you with a comprehensive list of supporting documents when preparing your citizenship application. The minimum documents required are typically as follows:

  • Proof of your identity, such as your passport
  • Your biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • Evidence of passing the Life in the UK and English Language tests
  • Proof of your spouse’s identity and citizenship
  • Your marriage or civil partnership certificate

How can I apply for my first British passport?

You can apply online or by post once you have received your naturalisation certificate.

What happens if my application is refused?

If British citizenship is refused by the Home Office, you may be able to request reconsideration of your application, for which a fee is payable. This is an internal Home Office review, and can take many months. You may re-apply, which is often more efficient, if your first application contained errors or missing documents.

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What our clients say…

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"Dear Gemma and Victoria, I wanted to thank you for your amazing effort! This is a personal achievement for me as a director of a small SME. It feels great that our firm is now able to sponsor workers and we could only do it with your guidance and professional help"
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April 2023

Assisting partner & step-son of British citizen with securing UK entry clearance to successfully naturalising / registering as British citizens

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Mr & Mrs Williams
April 2023

Successful entrepreneur and partner dependant visas

Deciding to choose Latitude Law firm for my visa application was the best decision my husband made. They first assisted him with his tier-1 Entrepreneur visa which was a success and later my PBS partner-dependent visa.

My first two applications were refused due to lack of relationship evidence as my marriage was fairly new at that time. Similarly we went ahead with the administrative review which again upheld the decision to refuse my application. This painstaking process was two years long which took a toll on my mental health.

By the blessing of God, we came across Mr.Hafejee at Latitude Law. His excellence, determination and guidance helped us at every step of our application. Mr.Hafejee was extremely patient with our countless queries and calmed our anxiety humbly. He is one of the most approachable solicitors we ever came across and is equipped with brilliance in his field of work. He helped me reunite with my husband after 2 years and the credit goes to his hard work behind our application.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 17/09/2021