British Citizenship by Marriage for Canadians

Canadian nationals whose spouse or civil partner is a British national may be eligible for British citizenship by marriage. Applicants will need to meet residential requirements and prove their ability to integrate with British society.

If you or a loved one are hoping to apply for UK naturalization on the grounds of marriage, you can call Total Law at +1 844 290 6312 to receive support today. Our team of expert immigration lawyers will be happy to help you with any part of the process.

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    Who Can Apply for British Citizenship by Marriage?

    The marriage-based pathway is primarily dependent on your relationship with a UK national. This may be a marriage or a civil partnership but must be officially recognized.

    Beyond that, eligible candidates will need to be over 18 years old and must have been resident in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before applying. Applications before this threshold is met will not be considered.

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    When applying for UK citizenship by marriage you will need to show that you can meet the application requirements. At a glance, these include:

    • Adequate residential permission such as Indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR), or Indefinite leave to enter the UK, which allows you to remain in the UK permanently
    • Adequate knowledge of English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic (you should note that Canadian nationals are exempt from needing to provide evidence of this)
    • Successful completion of the official ‘Life in the UK’ test
    • Evidence of good character

    Residential Requirements


    You may only apply for British nationalization by marriage once you have been legally resident in the UK for three years.

    This means that you must have been physically present and includes areas such as England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, as well as the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or British overseas territory.

    You should note that time spent exempt from immigration control as a diplomat or an associate of someone with diplomatic status cannot be counted.

    Once you are eligible, you need to be granted permanent residence such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Indefinite Leave to Enter.

    Time Spent Outside the UK

    Usually, you will be expected to not have spent more than 270 days outside of the UK in the last 3 years before your application. Additionally, you should have spent no more than 90 days outside of the UK in the last 12 months.

    In some cases, residential requirements might not apply if the British spouse works abroad for the UK government or a closely associated organization.

    Additionally, some exceptions may be made if absences are due to circumstances that were out of your control:

    • You couldn’t live in the UK at the beginning of the 3 years due to health reasons.
    • You were affected by travel restrictions.
    • You were ordered to leave the UK but the decision was later overturned.

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      Life in the UK Test

      When applying to become a UK citizen you will need to show that you can understand and integrate into British customs and culture.

      To do so you will need to book the Life in the UK test online and take it at one of the official test centers, which will cost £50. You must book this test 3 days before you take it and should make sure that you are adequately prepared to answer questions about life in the UK.

      The test will require you to answer 25 questions in 45 minutes.

      Evidence of Good Character

      An evaluation of good character will consider varying aspects of you as an applicant that may influence your willingness and ability to adhere to UK law and participate positively in society.

      While the exact criteria may vary depending on your circumstances, you will need to provide details of any criminal involvement you have had, including any convictions, orders, fines or penalties. This includes international crime and links to terrorism, but also speeding tickets and similar fines.

      Additional factors include financial stability, notoriety, dishonesty or deception, as well as any immigration-related matters such as previous citizenship deprivation.

      You should note that the specific factors that may be considered will depend on your circumstances. Attempting to conceal any relevant information will jeopardize your application and may stop you from reapplying in the future.


      You will need the endorsement from 2 referees who must have known you for at least three years. It is important to note that at least one of your referees must hold British nationality and be a professional person or over the age of 25.

      Your second referee may be of any nationality but must be a professional person. A professional person may be a minister of religion, a civil servant, or a member of a professional body (except the Home Office) who is not otherwise associated with your application.

      Referees must not be related to you, your other referee, or your representative (if applicable). You should make sure that you select referees who have not been convicted of any criminal offences in the last 10 years.


      Before starting your application you should make sure that you are ready to provide all required documents to prove your identity, marriage, and eligibility. At a glance, these include:

      • Valid form of identification (passport, birth certificate, or other identification document)
      • Evidence of marriage or civil partnership (such as a marriage certificate)
      • Evidence of Residential permission (ILR or applicable alternative)
      • Evidence of 3 years of residence, including documentation of any absences
      • Life in the UK test certificate
      • Contact details of 2 referees
      • English Language qualification (Canadian nationals are exempt)

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        While the exact costs of the UK naturalization process may vary based on your circumstances, you should expect to pay the following fees:

        • £50 to book your Life in the UK test
        • £19,20 to register your biometric details
        • £1,580 application fee

        While the cost for your citizenship ceremony is included in your application, you should expect to pay more if you want to book a private event.

        Application Timeline

        While exact times may vary, the UK Home Office aims to process UK naturalization applications within 6 months.

        Once you have submitted your application you have 45 days to register your biometric details with UKVCAS.

        Successful applicants are expected to attend a citizenship ceremony within 90 days. After this, you have 5 days to return your previous Biometric Residence Permit.

        Application Process


        Once you are ready, you will need to fill in the application form (Form AN, application for naturalization as a British citizen). You can find this on the Home Office website by selecting ‘Citizenship and living in the UK’, ‘British citizenship’, ‘citizenship application forms’, and ‘Become a British citizen by naturalization (form AN)’. You will usually be expected to access the online application portal, but there is an option to print the form and submit your British citizenship application by post.

        Applying Online

        After registering, you will be guided through the application steps. You will be asked to provide personal details and relevant information that shows how you meet the eligibility criteria.

        This includes your residential history and absences, employment details and information about your relationship with your British citizen spouse, as well as evidence of good character and any criminal involvement. You will also need to provide the details of your referees and, if applicable, of your representative.

        Once you have filled out the form you will be asked to attach your supporting documents and sign a declaration.

        After you have submitted everything, you will need to pay your application fee of £1,580 and submit your application. You will be given guidance on the next steps.

        While it can be a detailed process, you must provide accurate information and evidence as your application may otherwise be rejected. If you are unsure or would like the help of a representative, you can call Total Law today at +1 844 290 6312. We are experienced in navigating UK immigration laws and will be happy to help you.

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          Biometric Enrolment

          Once you have submitted your application you will be asked to submit your biometric details at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point, where your fingerprints will be scanned and a picture of your face will be taken.

          It is important that you do this within 45 days of submitting your application.

          Citizenship Ceremony

          Should your application be accepted, the Home Office will send you an invitation to attend a citizenship ceremony.

          If you have applied online this will usually be sent via email. You must make sure to check the local authority specified in this invitation and contact them as soon as possible, as your application will expire should you not attend a ceremony within 90 days.

          During the ceremony, you will be asked to confirm your allegiance to the monarch and pledge your loyalty to the UK. You will be presented with your British citizenship certificate afterwards.

          Once you have been granted British citizenship you will need to return your previous Biometric Residence Permit (BIP) to the Home Office. To do so, cut it into 4 pieces and send it to the following address in a windowless envelope:

          Naturalization BRP Returns PO Box 195


          BS20 1BT

          It is important to note that you must do this within 5 days of receiving your certificate. Failure to do so may lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

          How Total Law Can Help

          The application process to acquire British citizenship by marriage can be intimidating as it requires extensive preparation and documentation. It is essential that you understand your circumstances and provide the correct information when prompted, as this will determine the success of your application.

          Applicants are permitted to seek support and representation from immigration specialists, which can make the process a lot less stressful. If you would like advice or support on your journey towards gaining British citizenship status, you can call us at +1 844 290 6312 to receive immediate help from one of our experts.

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                    Related pages for your continued reading.


                    Unless you have already applied and been granted naturalization you unfortunately won’t be eligible for this pathway if your British partner has passed away.

                    Children who were born in the UK and have at least one British parent will automatically be classed as British citizens. If your child is under 18 but was not born in the UK there may be other ways they can obtain British citizenship.