British Citizenship

Pakistani citizens can obtain British citizenship and settle permanently in the UK if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Do you want to know how to get British citizenship? Talk to our immigration consultants at Total Law by calling 0333 305 9375 or sending a message online. We can give you advice that suits your circumstances.

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    Check if You Can Become a British Citizen

    When you obtain UK nationality, you can study, work and live in the UK without any restriction. British citizens are also entitled to a UK passport. With the passport, you can enter the UK and its territories overseas without applying for a visa.

    The benefits of acquiring British citizenship include being able to vote and be voted for during elections, accessing public funds and subsidised medical care, and being able to visit over 190 countries without applying for a visa. Before applying for British citizenship, you’ll have to confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria. One of the criteria is the residency requirement. This criterion is essential if you intend to obtain British citizenship by naturalisation.

    Every British citizenship application must be done through a particular route. Pakistani citizens must apply for citizenship through the route they qualify for. Note that every route has its criteria for application. Here is a list of the routes Pakistani citizens may take when applying for citizenship:

    You can apply for British citizenship online or you can use the services of an agent. When you apply, you are required to stay in the UK until the Home Office makes a decision on your application.

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    UK Citizenship by Naturalisation

    To naturalise in the UK, you must have held Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for at least 1 year. You must also be at least 18 before you apply. Pakistani citizens who apply for citizenship through this route must show adequate knowledge of Welsh, English or Scottish Gaelic. You must also pass the Life in the UK test, prove that you are a law-abiding citizen and will keep living in the UK when you become a citizen. There are also residency requirements for this route. Here they are below:

    • You must not have been outside the UK for more than 450 days within the 5 years that qualified you to get ILR.
    • You must be in the UK when your application for British citizenship reaches the Home Office.
    • You must not have been outside the UK for more than 90 days while holding ILR.

    UK Citizenship by Birth

    Pakistani citizens born in the UK do not automatically become British citizens by birth. The citizenship for a child born in the UK is usually the parents’ citizenship. So, if your parents are British citizens, you are also a citizen. However, if your parents are Pakistani citizens, you must meet certain requirements before registering for citizenship.

    Pakistani citizens born after 1 January 1983 can register as citizens if they are still below 18, with at least one parent becoming a permanent resident or citizen after birth. If you were born before 1 January 1983 in the UK, you are automatically a British citizen and do not need to apply for citizenship. If you were born to Pakistani parents in the UK and have lived there for an uninterrupted 10 years, you can register to become a British citizen.

    UK Citizenship by Descent

    Pakistani citizens with British parents can obtain British nationality depending on the circumstances of their parents. If your parents were born to British parents outside of the UK, they automatically become British citizens. However, they cannot pass down citizenship to you. You will have to register for British citizenship.

    To be eligible for citizenship via this route, you must meet the following criteria:

    • You have lived with your parents in the UK.
    • Your parents lived in the UK at some point before you were born.
    • You are less than 18.
    • You have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before applying.
    • You have not spent over 270 days outside the UK in the 3 years under consideration.
    • You have the signed consent of both parents to apply for UK citizenship.

    UK Citizenship by Marriage

    Pakistani citizens married to or in a civil partnership with a UK national can apply for British citizenship. To do this, you’ll need to meet the following requirements.

    You must:

    • Be at least 18.
    • Prove you are in a genuine marriage or relationship with the UK national.
    • Have spent 3 years in the UK.
    • Hold Indefinite Leave to Remain.
    • Prove you were in the UK exactly 3 years before the date the Home Office received your application.
    • Have adequate knowledge of Welsh, English or Scottish Gaelic.
    • Pass the Life in the UK test.
    • Show that you have been law-abiding and have 2 referees to back up your claim.  The referees must be respected members of the society who are at least 25.
    • Not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days within the 3 years in consideration.
    • Not have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days within the last 1 year.
    • Not have committed any criminal offence.
    • Show evidence that you’ll keep living in the UK.

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      UK Citizenship by Investment

      Pakistani citizens cannot apply for UK citizenship by investment because the UK does not offer direct British citizenship by investment. But there are other options you can explore. You can apply for the Start-up or the Innovator Founder visa. If you are on a Start-up visa, you can switch to the Innovator visa after 2 years and apply for ILR after 3 years. After holding ILR for 1 year, you can then apply for citizenship. Pakistani citizens must spend 5 years on the Innovator visa and apply for ILR. After holding ILR for 1 year, they can meet the naturalisation requirements and apply for citizenship.

      UK Dual Citizenship

      British dual citizenship occurs when you are a citizen of the UK and another country, in this case, Pakistan. The nationality law of the United Kingdom permits citizens to hold dual or even multiple citizenship. So, if you obtain UK nationality, you are not required to drop your Pakistani nationality. Fortunately, the laws of Pakistan do not also require you to renounce Pakistani citizenship if you pick up UK nationality.

      How to Apply for British Citizenship?

      Overview

      Pakistani citizens who want to apply for citizenship must first choose the application mode. You can apply for British citizenship by post. However, the Home Office discourages this application mode because of the long processing time.

      The preferred mode of application is online, and you can do this by yourself or through a legal representative. Our lawyers at Total Law are experts in UK immigration laws and can help you apply for citizenship. We are an immigration law firm registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, a testament to our legitimacy. We have successfully helped many Pakistani citizens apply for UK citizenship, and we can help you, too. Call us today at 0333 305 9375 or send us a message online.

      Below is a step-by-step guide to applying for British citizenship online:

      Step 1: Prepare Your Documents

      Your documents prove that you are eligible for British citizenship. Before you set out to make an application, ensure you have them all handy. Any document not written in English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh must be translated and legalised.

      Step 2: Complete the Online Form

      Your next step is to complete Form AN, the form for naturalisation online. The Home Office website has a portal where you can make your applications. Ensure the details you input are correct and match the details on your documents. You will be required to add the details of the 2 persons who will act as your referees.

      Step 3: Pay Application Fee

      You have to pay the relevant application fee and get receipts. You must add the receipt of payment to your supporting documents, or else your application will not be processed.

      Step 4: Upload Your Documents

      You can scan all your supporting documents and upload them on the portal. Ensure that each document is appropriately named and saved in a PDF format. Do not forget to attach your receipt of payment. If, for any reason, you cannot scan and upload your documents online, you can take them with you to your appointment. The officers at the application centre will help you upload them.

      Step 5: Schedule an Appointment

      Next is to schedule an appointment with the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVAS) centre close to you.

      Step 6: Go for Your Appointment

      You must go with the confirmation of appointment printout you got after completing the form online. The officials at the UKVAS centre will collect your biometrics.

      Step 7: Get a Decision

      The Home Office will notify you by mail if your application is successful. You’ll be required to cut your British resident permit (BRP) into 4 pieces, put the pieces inside a sealed envelope and mail it back to the address below:

      Naturalisation BRP Returns

      PO Box 195

      Bristol

      BS20 1BT

      If you do not do this within 5 days of receiving your citizenship certificate, you may be fined the sum of £1,000.

      Step 8: Attend the Citizenship Ceremony

      You must schedule and attend a citizenship ceremony if you are at least 18. It is in this ceremony that your citizenship certificate will be issued.

      Step 9: Apply for a British Passport

      Note that you cannot use the citizenship certificate as an identity document. You cannot use it to re-enter the UK if you leave. To access UK borders at will, you’ll need to get a passport at any passport office close to you.

      Requirements for British Citizenship Application

      What documents do I need to apply for British citizenship? Below are the documents you must present to prove you meet the British citizenship requirements:

      • Form AN, Application for Naturalisation as a British citizen. This form must be completed and signed.
      • Biometric residence permit as proof of your legal stay in the UK.
      • Residence card showing that you are a permanent resident.
      • English language proficiency test result, certificate from a UK school or an Ecctis-evaluated diploma certificate.
      • Birth certificate.
      • Passport of both of your parents.
      • Pakistani passport to prove your nationality.
      • Unique reference number showing your Life in the UK test score.
      • Evidence you were in the UK during the qualifying period of residency.
      • Tenancy agreement or property deed showing your address in the UK.
      • Bank account statement.
      • Receipt of application fee payment.
      • Offer letter, work contract or proof you are running a business in the UK.
      • Birth and marriage certificates when applying with family.

      If you hold an ILR, you are not required to submit proof of adequate knowledge of English and the result of your Life in the UK test. The reason is that you have already met those requirements before getting ILR.

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        British Citizenship Application Cost

        Here are the British citizenship costs:

        • £1,580 for Pakistani citizens 18 and above.
        • £1 214 for Pakistani citizens below 18.
        • £1,431 for Pakistani citizens who turned 18 while the citizenship application was ongoing.
        • £80 for the British citizenship ceremony.

        The Home Office usually refunds some of your money if they refuse your application. However, you will not get any refund if you previously renounced British citizenship.

        How Long Does it Take to Get UK Citizenship?

        The Home Office will inform you of a decision on your application within 6 months of making an application. This processing time may take longer if the Home Office is trying to verify unclear details in your application package.

        Pass the Life in the UK Test

        You must pass the Life in the UK test to obtain British citizenship. The test seeks to assess if you have adequate knowledge of British Life. The test will cost you £50, and you’ll have to book it at least 3 days in advance. If you want to book the Life in the UK test, you’ll have to visit the Home Office website. Choose a location close to you and register online with your email address, debit or credit card and a valid ID. The name on the ID must match the name you input while registering for the test.

        You have 45 minutes to answer 24 questions. Pakistani citizens can get the practice handbook at the Home Office website. To pass, you need to score 75%. You can retake the test multiple times, but you must pay the application fee for every retake. You are exempted from taking the test if you are younger than 18 or 65 and above, hold ILR or have an illness that can prevent you from passing the test. You’ll have to present a doctor’s report to prove the latter.

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          Prove You Understand English

          Pakistani citizens who want to apply for UK nationality must prove they understand English. To demonstrate English language proficiency, you must show that:

          • You passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
          • You are from an English-speaking nation.
          • You got a degree in the UK.
          • You earned a higher degree studying in a nation that mainly speaks English.
          • You possess a degree taught in English in a non-English speaking nation.

          Check You're of Good Character

          You have to prove to the Home Office during your application that you are of good character. You must also show you have not committed any criminal offence or broken any immigration rule. One way to prove that you have good character and are law-abiding is by getting an endorsement from 2 British citizens.

          The British citizens you choose must be high-standing members of the society. They will sign your citizenship application form. The people you’ll choose as referees must:

          • Not be related to you by blood or marriage.
          • Be at least 25.
          • Not have been convicted of any crime in the last 10 years.
          • Not be staff of the Home Office or an agent representing you.
          • Be a member of a professional society, either active or retired.

          British Citizenship Ceremony

          Upon approval of your citizenship application, you must attend a British citizenship ceremony. You’ll be given a time frame to do so, usually within 3 months. You have to liaise with your local authority to plan for the ceremony. It is usually done in a group; however, you can do yours alone. Celebrants are permitted only to invite 2 guests to the ceremony. At the citizenship ceremony, you’ll affirm or take an oath of allegiance to God to abide by the rules of the UK. After the ceremony, your local authority will give you a welcome pack and naturalisation certificate.

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            How Can Total Law Help?

            Pakistani citizens looking to apply for British citizenship can enlist the services of an expert immigration lawyer. Total Law has a formidable team of lawyers well-versed in UK immigration rules. With our help, you can select the best route for your British citizenship application. We can also help you gather the documents you need.

            We can also apply for UK nationality on your behalf. If we handle your application, you stand a high chance of getting approval. This saves you the time, money and effort you’d have otherwise used to reapply should you get a refusal. We have made successful applications for many Pakistani citizens and can handle yours.

            For more information on what we do and how we can assist you with your application, call 0333 305 9375 or message us online.

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                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      You cannot get British citizenship simply because your child is a citizen. You can, however, apply for a parent visa and stay in the UK continuously for 5 years. After that, you can get permanent residency. One year later, you can then apply for British citizenship.

                      You can become a British citizen by naturalisation in 2 ways: marriage to a British citizen or through the Indefinite Leave to Remain route. If you are applying through marriage, you must show you have been in a genuine marriage with a UK national. If applying through the ILR route, you must have spent at least 1 year holding ILR.

                      ILR permits you to stay in the UK without any time restrictions. You can leave and re-enter the UK without applying for a visa. You can also study or work without any limits. With British citizenship, you get these benefits and more. You are entitled to a British passport, have the right to contest elections and pass down British nationality to your children.