British Citizenship by Marriage

If you are a Pakistani citizen married to a UK national, you may be eligible to obtain British Citizenship by Marriage. However, you must meet specific requirements for your application to be successful.

For more information on how to obtain British Citizenship through marriage and if you’d like bespoke advice on your immigration situation, speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers. Call us at 0333 305 9375 or fill out the online contact form, and we will reach out to you.

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    British Citizenship by Marriage: An Overview

    British citizenship by marriage is a fundamental pathway for foreign nationals to gain citizenship based on their marriage to a UK citizen.

    If your spouse or partner is British, you can apply for citizenship and settle permanently in the UK without immigration restrictions. You will also enjoy state benefits and contest for public office.

    However, it’s important to note that getting married to or being in a civil partnership with a UK national does not automatically make you a citizen. Citizenship by marriage is attained through the naturalisation process.

    As such, you must meet specific eligibility criteria before you can naturalise as a British citizen. One vital requirement is that you must have lived in the UK on a settled status, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain.

    Before submitting a citizenship application, ensure that you meet all requirements. The application process can be complex, and the qualifying requirements are strict. The Home Office can reject your applications on specific grounds.

    Consider discussing with an immigration lawyer to get tailored legal advice and help with completing your application. Speak to one of our lawyers today at ​​0333 305 9375.

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    When to Apply for British Citizenship by Marriage

    If you’re considering applying for British citizenship by marriage, there are some factors you must consider. First, timing is paramount. You should apply only after you’ve met the stipulated residency period, which is three years.

    You can apply once you’ve been granted settled status or indefinite leave to enter the UK. Unlike most UK residents who must hold settled status for at least 12 months before they can naturalise, your marriage to a British citizen allows you to apply for naturalisation immediately after your settlement.

    Finally, you should only apply once you meet all the eligibility requirements for citizenship.

    Requirements for British Citizenship by Marriage

    To apply for citizenship by naturalisation if you’re married to a British citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Be 18 years old or over
    • Be married to, or in a civil partnership with, someone who is a British citizen.
    • You must have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the date of your application.
    • Show that you have passed the Life in the UK test.
    • Prove that you have a good knowledge of the English language by passing the language test.
    • Prove that you are of good character.
    • Provide details of 2 referees who can prove your identity.

    You can apply as soon as you have any of the following:

    • Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK
    • Indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme
    • Indefinite leave to enter the UK permanently.

    Residency Requirements for British Citizenship by Marriage

    To qualify for British citizenship through marriage, you must have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the day the Home Office receives your application.

    You will not be allowed to count or include any time spent in the UK when you’re exempt from immigration control as a diplomat, a member of a diplomat’s staff or household, or a member of visiting armed forces.

    You must also meet the following residency requirements:

    • You should not have spent more than 270 days outside the UK during the 3 years before your application.
    • You should not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months.
    • You also should not have broken any UK immigration laws. If you have indefinite leave to enter or remain, the Home Office won’t scrutinise your pre-existing immigration compliance.

    You may not need to meet the residency requirements if your spouse or partner works abroad for the UK government or an organisation closely linked to the government.

    The Good Character Requirement for British Citizenship by Marriage

    When you submit your application, the Home Office will assess whether you meet the good character requirement before granting citizenship.

    Being of good character implies that you have respected UK laws and been a good resident since your first entry into the country.

    You will not be considered of good character, and your application may be rejected if:

    • You have received a severe custodial sentence
    • You are a persistent offender.
    • You’ve been involved in international crimes or terrorism.
    • You have received a non-custodial sentence or out-of-court disposal that is recorded on your criminal record, which occurred in the 3 years before the date of application.

    Every applicant over 10 years must satisfy the good character requirement before obtaining British citizenship. The Home Office determines good character requirements on a case-by-case basis. Caseworkers also use other factors to judge good character.

    If you are concerned a previous conviction might affect your application, speak to an immigration lawyer to help you analyse your situation.

    Our expert lawyers can guide you through the process of obtaining a British citizenship by marriage. Contact Us

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      Tests Required for British Citizenship by Marriage

      As part of the requirements for the citizenship by marriage application, you will be required to take the language proficiency and the life in the UK tests.

      English Language Test Requirements

      You must demonstrate your proficiency in the English language if you’re 18 or over. You can do so by passing an English language test at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level or having a degree taught or researched in English.

      If you already took a B1 level when applying for settlement and the Home Office accepted it, you do not need to take another test.

      You won’t have to prove your knowledge of the English language if:

      • You are over 65 years old.
      • A long-term physical or mental condition prevents you from taking the test.

      Life in the UK Test Requirements

      The Life in the UK test is a computer-based exam that includes 24 questions about British traditions and customs and is based on the official Handbook of the Life in the UK.

      The test is required to prove that you have sufficient knowledge of British life. It costs £50, and there are over 30 test centres in the UK  where you can take the test.

      Furthermore, you must score 75% or more to pass the test, and you can retake it as many times as you need, but you’ll have to pay for each retake.

      Requirements for Referees

      You will need to provide details of two referees who can endorse your application.

      One of your referees must be a professional person, such as a civil servant, minister of religion, or a member of a professional body. Your other referee must be a British citizen with a passport and either a professional or over 25.

      Both referees must have known you for at least 3 years, not be related to you or each other, not be your solicitor or agent, not be a Home Office employee, and not be convicted of a crime in the last 10 years.

      Supporting Documents for British Citizenship by Marriage Application

      When applying for British citizenship by marriage, you’ll be asked to provide certain documents with your online application form. These documents include:

      • Evidence of identity with a passport or a national identity card.
      • Biometric resident permit card.
      • Evidence of settlement in the UK with a passport or a Home Office letter showing you have permission to remain permanently in the UK.
      • Proof of address in the UK.
      • A certificate showing you meet the English language requirement.
      • Evidence that you passed the Life in the UK test.
      • Evidence of your spouse or partner’s British citizenship.
      • A marriage or civil partnership certificate.

      Make the application process easier with the help of our immigration team. Contact Us

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        Application Process for British Citizenship by Marriage

        You can apply for citizenship by marriage by yourself or through an agent or representative.

        First, visit the UK government website and complete the online application form. You’ll have an option to upload your documents to the online service and will need to pay the application fee.

        Afterwards, you’ll be asked to book a meeting with UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) to provide your biometric information. Your fingerprints and photo will be collected during your appointment, and you may be asked questions regarding your application.

        You can also have your documents scanned at the UKVCAS appointment if you don’t want to upload them online.

        If you choose to use an agent or a representative, pick one registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). You can also use a lawyer registered with government-approved bodies for handling citizenship applications.

        Our immigration lawyers at Total Law are OISC-accredited and well-equipped to help you with your citizenship application. We can prepare and submit your application to the Home Office on your behalf.

        We will also prepare a letter of representation highlighting why you should be accepted for citizenship. Call us at 0333 305 9375 to speak to a lawyer.

        Fees for British Citizenship by Marriage

        The citizenship application cost £1,580. You will not be required to pay any fee for your biometrics enrollment.

        Processing Time for British Citizenship by Marriage

        The Home Office aims to complete processing within 6 months of receiving an application. However, your application may take longer to process if you do not submit the complete documents or if there are errors in your application form.

        Children Under 18 and British Citizenship by Marriage

        Children under 18 who were born in the UK to at least one British parent are automatically British citizens. Children not meeting these requirements may be entitled to register for citizenship under certain conditions.

        For instance, children not born in the UK and without British parents may be able to register for citizenship if they lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their lives and the Secretary of State is satisfied that they are of good character.

        You should seek legal advice to determine if your child is already a citizen or entitled to register as a citizen.

        Contact us today to start your journey toward British citizenship by marriage. Contact Us

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          Next Steps After British Citizenship by Marriage Application

          If your application is successful, you will receive an invitation to attend a citizenship ceremony. If you do not attend the ceremony within 90 days without good reason, your application for citizenship will be refused, and you will need to re-apply.

          During the ceremony, you will swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Monarch and pledge your loyalty to the UK.

          Also, you will receive a British citizenship certificate. You must return your biometric residence permit (BRP) via mail to the Home Office within 5 working days of receiving your certificate.

          Ensure to include a note stating that you’re returning it because you’ve become a citizen. If you fail to return your BRP within the stipulated timeframe, you will be fined up to ​​£1,000.

          Applying for Your first British Passport

          After receiving your naturalisation certificate, you can apply for your first British Passport. A British passport is usually valid for 10 years, and you can use it to travel in and out of the UK.

          You can apply for a passport online or via post. When applying online, you must upload a digital photo, submit a signed confirmation from someone who can identify you, and pay the application fee of £82.50.

          To apply via post, you must get an application form from a post office or the Passport Adviceline. You will need two passport-size photographs and other supporting documents. You must also pay a £93 application fee.

          You may be asked to attend an interview, and you will receive your British passport within 3 weeks of submitting your application.

          Refusal of British Citizenship by Marriage Application

          If your British citizenship application is refused, you will be informed by the Home Office. The decision letter will also state the reasons for refusal.

          In line with UK immigration laws, you cannot appeal a refusal decision for British citizenship. However, you can ask the Home Office to review its decision, especially if you feel the refusal was a mistake or not supported by laws and policies.

          If your citizenship refusal was a result of an administrative error, the Home Office will reopen your case.

          If you have any questions about British citizenship by marriage, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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            How Can Total Law Help?

            At Total Law, we have professional immigration lawyers who are experts in UK immigration laws and experienced in citizenship applications.

            Our lawyers can help you determine if you meet the requirements for British citizenship by marriage, help you gather your supporting documents, prepare a letter or representation, and submit your application for you.

            We can help you avoid the common errors that lead to citizenship refusals and ensure your application is successful. Call us today at 0333 305 9375 to speak with one of our legal advisors.

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                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      You won’t be able to get British citizenship by marriage if your spouse is deceased. However, you can naturalise through other routes if you meet the requirements.

                      You can only apply for UK citizenship if you live outside the UK and your spouse works abroad for the UK government or a government-linked organisation.

                      Pakistan allows dual citizenship, and you do not need to give up your current citizenship when you become a British citizen.