British Citizenship Routes for Ghanaians

If you are looking to live, work or study permanently in the UK without immigration restrictions as a British citizen, there are several different routes to citizenship, each with different eligibility criteria.

Total Law are immigration experts who can support you with your application process. Call us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online to receive bespoke advice on your route to British citizenship.

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    Overview of Obtaining British Citizenship as a Ghanaian

    If you are looking to settle in the UK permanently as a British citizen, there are a number of routes that can lead to citizenship, also known as naturalisation.

    People born in the UK to British parents are automatically granted British citizenship; however, if you were born in Ghana, another country outside the UK, you will have to apply to become a British citizen.

    To be eligible to apply for British Citizenship by Naturalisation, you will need to be at least 18 years old and have lived in the UK for a minimum of three years with Indefinite Leave to Remain or EU Settled Status. The EU Settlement Scheme only applies to people from the EU or selected neighbouring countries, and Ghanaian nationals are not eligible for this scheme.

    If you are granted citizenship, you will be allowed to live, work or study in the UK permanently without any immigration restrictions and apply for a British passport.

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    Routes to British Citizenship for Ghanaians

    There are several routes to British citizenship, which depend on your personal circumstances. These include British citizenship:

    Each has slightly different requirements and eligibility criteria, so it is vital that you apply through the route most applicable to your circumstances. If you are unsure which route is most appropriate for you, contact Total Law online or at +44 (0)333 305 9375.

    British Citizenship by Birth

    People do not automatically receive British citizenship if they were born in the UK; this is dependent on when you were born and your parent’s circumstances.

    If you were born in the UK or a British colony before 1983, you may automatically be a British citizen.

    If you were born between 1983 and 2006, you may be a British citizen if at least one of your parents was a British citizen or Irish citizen living in the UK. If your father is a British or Irish citizen, then he must have been married to your mother at your birth.

    If you were born after 2006 to a British or Irish man, it is no longer a requirement that your father was married to your mother.

    It is also possible to receive British citizenship by birth if one of your parents was a citizen of an EU or EEA country when you were born, although eligibility is dependent on the year of your birth and your parent’s visa status in the UK.

    If neither of your parents is British, you will have to apply for a different route to British citizenship, although if you were born in the UK to non-British parents, you will be recognised as dependent, and your parents’ visa restrictions will also apply to you.

    British Citizenship by Descent

    If one of your parents is a British citizen or is legally settled in the UK, you may also automatically be considered a British citizen, even if you were not born in the UK. Citizenship by descent varies depending on your birth date. If you were born outside the UK:

    • Before 1983, you would only automatically be considered a British national if your father was British and, at the time of your birth, he must have been a citizen of the UK or Colonies and be married to your mother
    • Between 1983 and June 2006, you will automatically be considered a British citizen, but, if your father was a British citizen, your parents would have to have been married when you were born. If your mother is British, she does not need to be married to your father
    • After 31st June 2006, you will automatically gain British citizenship

    In all cases, your British parent must be eligible to pass on their citizenship to you.

    If you are automatically considered a British citizen by descent, you do not need to apply for citizenship, and you can apply for a British passport.

    However, if you are not automatically a citizen, you can apply for British citizenship by descent. To be eligible to apply, you must be under 18 years old and have a parent who was a British citizen when you were born, and either:

    • You have lived with your parents for at least three years immediately before applying, and you and your parents have not left the UK for more than 270 days in the previous three years
    • Or, your parents have lived in the UK for at least three years before your birth and have not left the UK for more than 270 days in the previous three years, and your British parent had a parent who was a British citizen

    Our experienced immigration team can help with visas, permits, and more for Ghanaians wanting to move to the UK. Contact Us

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      British Citizenship by Marriage

      If you have a civil partnership or are married to a British citizen, you will be able to apply for British nationality after spending at least three continuous years in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain. You will need to apply for a different immigration route if your partner is settled in the UK but doesn’t hold a UK passport.

      Before you are able to submit an application for British citizenship by marriage, you will need to meet the requirements for naturalisation:

      • You must be over 18 years old
      • Your partner must be a British citizen
      • For at least three years, and at the point of application, you must have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK
      • You must have proof that you have lived in the UK for three years
      • You must provide evidence of your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
      • You must pass the Life in the UK Test
      • You must be of ‘good character’ and not have a criminal record or any breaches on your visa

      If you fulfil these criteria, you do not need to wait to apply for citizenship once you are married.

      British Citizenship Under the Windrush Scheme

      As Ghana is a member of the Commonwealth, you may be eligible for British citizenship if you or at least one of your parents moved to the UK before 1973, you were born in the UK or arrived before you were 18 years old, and you have lived in the UK and not left for more than two years.

      Some Commonwealth citizens have the ‘right of abode’ in the UK if one of your parents was born in the UK and a citizen of the UK and colonies when you were born or adopted and you have been a Commonwealth citizen on and after the 31 December 1982.

      Right of abode means you can live and work in the UK without immigration restrictions and you can apply for a British passport.

      Five-Year Route

      You can apply for British citizenship after living in the UK for five years and have had Indefinite Leave to Remain for one year. The apply through this route, you must:

      • Be over 18 years old
      • Have evidence that you have been in the UK for five years before the time of your application
      • Provide evidence of your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
      • Pass the Life in the UK Test
      • Intend to continue living in the UK
      • Be of ‘good character’ and have a clean criminal record, including no breaches to immigration laws

      There are also restrictions to how much time you have spent outside the UK during these five years. You must not have spent more than:

      • 90 days outside the UK in the last year
      • 450 days outside the UK in the last five years

      Life in the UK Test

      The Life in the UK test, or the British Citizenship test, is an exam about English culture and custom that you must take if you wish to apply for naturalisation. It is mostly mandatory, but in some cases, for example, if you have a pass certificate as part of your Indefinite Leave to Remain, you may be exempt from taking the test again.

      You can book your test through the UK government website and must be taken face-to-face at one of the test centres. To pass, you must achieve at least 75% on the test, but you are allowed to take the test as many times as you like if you do not pass.

      Knowledge of English

      For some routes to British citizenship, as a Ghanaian, you will have to prove your knowledge of the English language by having either an English qualification at B1, B2, C1, or C2 level, or have a degree taught or researched in English.

      However, if you are over 65 years old or are not able to prove your English because of a long-term physical or mental condition. In the case of the medical condition, you will need to submit an exemption form from a doctor to confirm your condition.

      The Application Process

      To apply for British citizenship, you can apply through the UK government website or apply by post. Once you submit your application form and provide all the required supporting documents, you will need to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services centre to provide your fingerprints and a photo.

      For tailored assistance with applying for British citizenship, speak with our immigration lawyers today. Contact Us

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        Documents Required

        When applying for British citizenship, you will need to provide to the Home Office:

        • Evidence of your identity and permanent residence, such as your Ghanaian passport or birth certificate
        • Evidence of indefinite leave to remain, such as your biometric residence permit or residence case, including evidence of any previous visas before you settled in the UK
        • Evidence of lawful residence in the UK
        • Details of any periods of absence from the UK
        • A life in the UK test certificate
        • The contact details of two referees
        • Proof of your knowledge of the English language
        • Evidence you have been in the UK for three or five years, depending on your route to naturalisation. This could include bank statements, letters confirming employment or periods of study from an educational institution
        • Certificate of entitlement to the right to abode

        Citizenship Application Fees

        When applying for British citizenship, you will have to pay a fee when submitting your application form. Forms submitted online will require a credit or debit card payment. Paper applications submitted by post will need a payment slip; do not send cash or other forms of payment.

        The fee for naturalisation is £1,580. This amount is non-refundable if your application is not successful.

        This fee includes the cost of your Citizenship ceremony, although you may need to pay more if you wish for a private ceremony.

        Citizenship Ceremony

        Adults who have successfully applied for British citizenship will have to attend a citizenship ceremony within three months of receiving your invitation from the Home Office. This ceremony is optional only for people who become a British citizen under the Windrush scheme.

        During the ceremony, you will either make an oath of allegiance or an affirmation, depending on if you prefer not to swear by God, and make a pledge to respect UK rights, freedoms and laws. Following the ceremony, you will receive your British citizenship.

        Processing Time

        After you’ve applied for your British citizenship, you can expect to receive a decision within six months, although some applications take longer.

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        How to Get a British Passport

        After becoming a British citizen, you can apply for a British passport, which will allow you increased freedom in the UK and grant you visa-free access to many countries worldwide.

        Holding a British passport will grant you the same privileges as a British person, allowing you to live, study, claim public funds, access education, and prove your residency with on official document.

        To apply, you must submit:

        • Two passport photos
        • Your certificate of naturalisation or registration
        • Your original travel documents or Ghanaian passport
        • Details of someone who can confirm your identity
        • Evidence of a parent’s citizenship if you were born after January 1983

        Our specialist lawyers have the expertise to align your visa application with the best possible chance of success. Contact Us

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          If you are currently seeking a route to British citizenship, it may not be clear what is the best route for your circumstances. Many people want to maximise their chances of a successful application or want to ensure they are doing the correct things in order to apply for British citizenship in the future.

          Instructing a lawyer who specialises in immigration can significantly boost your chances of becoming a British citizen. Total Law is a full-service immigration legal firm with a long history of successfully supporting people with their immigration queries and applications. Whether you are looking for someone to answer your immigration queries, to ensure you have completed your application correctly, or to complete your application on your behalf, Total Law can help.

          Contact us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375, or submit a form through our website online, to hear how we help you with your application to become a British citizen.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    You can also include family members and children under 18 years old as part of your application. Each person will also be assessed against their own requirements.