- You must be aged 18 or over
- You must be of sound mind
- You must intend to continue living in the UK, or to continue in Crown service, the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member, or the service of a company or association established in the UK
- You must be able to communicate in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to an acceptable degree
- You must have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK
- You must be of good character
- You must meet the residential requirements
To demonstrate the residential requirements for naturalization, you must have:
- been resident in the UK for at least five years (this is known as the residential qualifying period); and
- been present in the UK five years before the date of your application and
- not spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the five-year period and
- not spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months of the five-year period and
- not been in breach of the Immigration Rules at any stage during the five-year period
When does the residential qualifying period start?
The residential qualifying period is calculated from the day when we receive your application. Most unsuccessful applications fail because the applicant was not present in the UK at the beginning of the residential qualifying period. You must make sure you meet this requirement before you make your application. For example, if we receive your application on 25 March 2010, you must show that you were in the UK on 26 March 2005.
If you have spent time in the UK while you were exempt from immigration control, you cannot include this time as part of the residential qualifying period. If you were in the UK as a diplomat or as a member of visiting armed forces, or if you were in any place of detention, you are considered to have been exempt from immigration control during that time. This time is treated as absence from the UK when we assess your application.
IMMIGRATION TIME RESTRICTIONS
You must be free from immigration time restrictions when you apply for naturalisation. Unless you are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen, you should have been free from immigration time restrictions during the last 12 months of the residential qualifying period.
If you are free from immigration time restrictions, there will probably be a stamp or sticker in your passport saying that you have indefinite leave to enter or remain or no time limit on your stay. But you may have a letter from the Home Office saying that you are free from immigration conditions. See The documents we require for naturalisation applications for details of how to prove you are free from immigration time restrictions.
We have discretion to allow applications from people who do not meet this requirement. For details of how we apply discretion, you should read the Discretion on immigration time restrictions page.
BREACH OF IMMIGRATION LAWS DURING RESIDENTIAL QUALIFYING PERIOD
You must have been in the UK legally throughout the residential qualifying period. Home office may refuse your naturalisation application if you have breached the immigration laws during that period.
ABSENCES FROM THE UK DURING THE RESIDENTIAL QUALIFYING PERIOD
During the residential qualifying period, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 450 days. You must not have been absent for more than 90 days in the last 12 months.