British Citizenship: Indefinite Leave Route


If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

You can usually apply for ILR after you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years. To apply for citizenship with ILR you must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it.

If you have ‘Settled Status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme

To apply for citizenship with settled status you must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it.

If you have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme

You might still be able to apply for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. You can then use this to apply for citizenship. The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for most people was 30 June 2021. You can still apply if you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not being able to apply by the deadline.


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    Further Information


    You can apply for British citizenship by ‘naturalisation’ if you’re 18 or over, and for the past 12 months you’ve had either:

    • indefinite leave to remain in the UK
    • indefinite leave to enter the UK

    ‘Indefinite leave to enter’ is permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad – for example, on a Returning Resident visa.

    You may have lost your indefinite leave to remain or enter if you’ve been away from the UK for more than 2 years at any time since you got it.

    You must also:

    • prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
    • prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
    • have passed the life in the UK test
    • intend to continue living in the UK
    • be of good character


    Residency requirements

    You should have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the date of your application.

    You cannot include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control (for example, as a diplomat or member of visiting armed forces).

    You should also not have:

    • spent more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
    • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
    • broken any UK immigration laws (for example working illegally in the UK)

    This is one way to apply for British citizenship.

    Apply for your children

    You must apply separately for your children – you cannot include them in your own application.

    You can apply to ‘register’ your child for citizenship if they were born either:

    • outside of the UK
    • inside the UK before you were granted indefinite leave to remain

    When you do not need to apply for your child

    Your child may automatically be a British citizen if they were born both:

    • in the UK
    • after you were granted indefinite leave to remain

    You can apply for a child’s passport if your child is under 16.

    Your child can apply for an adult passport if they’re over 16.

    After you've applied

    You’ll get a letter confirming your application. It can take up to 4 weeks.

    When you'll get a decision

    You’ll usually get a decision within 6 months – some applications can take longer.

    You’ll get a letter if you need to give more information to help with your application.

    Attending a citizenship ceremony

    You’ll need to attend a citizenship ceremony if your application is successful.

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