British Citizenship by Marriage

You can obtain British citizenship by marriage if you’re married to or in a civil partnership with a UK citizen. Before applying for citizenship, it is vital to understand the requirements and all processes involved.

For more information on how to acquire British citizenship through marriage and get bespoke advice on and immediate legal help with your immigration situation, contact a Total Law immigration lawyer. Call us at 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.

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    When to Apply for British Citizenship by Marriage

    If you’re a Turkish national married to a British citizen, you can apply for citizenship by marriage as soon as you are granted UK settlement or indefinite leave to remain. Unlike other citizenship routes, your marriage to a UK national exempts you from waiting an additional year after attaining settlement to apply for citizenship.

    You should also meet all the eligibility requirements before submitting your application. One vital requirement is that you must have lived in the UK with your partner for at least 3 years.

    In other words, once you meet the 3-year residency requirement and other criteria, you can apply for British citizenship by marriage.

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    Eligibility Criteria for British Citizenship by Marriage

    British citizenship by marriage is obtained through the naturalisation process. As such, you cannot automatically become a citizen by being married to a UK national.

    To be eligible for citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Be 18 years old or older.
    • Be married to, or in a civil partnership with, someone who is a British citizen.
    • Have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the date of your application.
    • Hold indefinite leave to remain (ILR), EU-settled status, or indefinite leave to enter the UK.
    • Have a good knowledge of the English language.
    • Pass the Life in the UK test.
    • Be of good character.
    • Not have broken any UK immigration law. If you have indefinite leave to remain, your the Home Office will not review your pre-existing immigration compliance.
    • Have 2 referees who can verify your identity.

    What are the Residency Requirements for British Citizenship?

    As part of the requirements for British citizenship, you must have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before the date on your application. You must ensure that you meet this requirement; otherwise, the Home Office will deny your application.

    To determine your residency requirement, calculate the time spent outside the UK. You should not have spent more than:

    • 270 days outside the UK during the 3 years before your application, and
    • 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

    Note that you will not be allowed to count any time spent in the UK as a diplomat, a member of a diplomat’s staff or household, or a member of a visiting armed forces towards your residency period.

    Furthermore, you will be exempt from the residency requirement if your UK spouse works and lives outside the UK on behalf of the UK government.

    Tests Required for British Citizenship by Marriage


    You must meet the knowledge of language and life (KOLL) requirement before you can apply for British citizenship. This requirement involves passing the English language and Life in the UK tests.

    You’ll be exempt from these tests if you’re older than 65 or have a medical condition that prevents you from taking the test.

    Meeting the English Language Requirement

    You can meet the English language requirement if you:

    • Have an academic degree taught or researched in the English language or
    • Pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

    If your academic degree is not from a UK university, you must provide an authorised confirmation that it is equivalent to a UK qualification.

    Meeting the Life in the UK Test 

    The Life in the UK test includes questions about British customs and traditions and is required to prove that you have sufficient knowledge of British life.

    The test is computer-based, and you’ll have 45 minutes to answer 24 questions. These questions are based on the ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents’ handbook.

    It costs £50 to take the test, and you must score at least 75% to pass. Otherwise, you will need to retake it.

    For assistance applying for a British citizenship by marriage, speak with our specialists today. Contact Us

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      The Good Character Requirement

      To become a British citizen, you must prove that you are of good character. This means you must have observed or shown respect for the UK laws and fulfilled your obligations as a resident.

      Every British citizenship applicant who is 10 years and above must satisfy this requirement.

      The Home office will not consider you of good character if:

      • You have a severe custodial sentence
      • You’ve been involved in international crimes or acts of terrorism.
      • You are a persistent offender.

      There are several other factors the Home Office will use to judge if you’ve been of good character, and these are usually considered on a case-by-case basis.

      Requirement for Referees

      Another key requirement to become a British citizen is to provide details of two referees who know you and can endorse your application.

      There are rules on who can be a referee.

      One referee must be a professional individual. They could be a minister of religion, civil servants, or a member of a professional body. Your second referee must be a British citizen, and they must prove their citizenship with a British passport. This referee must either be a professional or be over 25.

      Your referees must have known for a minimum of 3 years. They must not be:

      • Related to each other or you
      • Your lawyer or agent
      • A Home Office employee
      • Convicted of a crime in the last ten years

      Your referees must provide certain details about themselves to the Home Office and sign a declaration.

      How to Apply for British Citizenship by Marriage


      You can make an application in two ways:

      • By yourself or
      • Through an agent, a lawyer, or a representative.

      Note that if you’re applying through a lawyer or representative, they must be registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or an approved body for handling citizenship applications.

      If you have met all the requirements and criteria for British citizenship, here are key steps to apply:

      Gather Your Documents

      You will be required to provide certain documents to support your application. Some of the required documents include:

      • A copy of your passport or a national identity card.
      • A copy of your biometric resident permit card.
      • Evidence of your spouse or partner’s British citizenship.
      • A marriage or civil partnership certificate.
      • 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.

      It’s important that you gather these documents well ahead of making your application. If they are not in English, you’ll be required to translate them using a translator authorised by the Home Office.

      Make an Application for Citizenship

      Visit the UK government website to submit an online application. You’ll need to create an account, fill out the online application form (Form AN), and upload your documents to the online service.

      You can also choose to apply by post. To do so, download Form AN, fill it out, and mail it to the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS).

      Attend a UKVCAS Appointment

      You must make an appointment at a UKVCAS service point to provide your biometric information. If you do not upload your documents during your online application or you applied via post, you can submit your documents at the UKVCAS appointment.

      We can help with the application process of obtaining a British citizenship by marriage. Contact Us

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        Fee for British Citizenship by Marriage

        The application fee for British citizenship by marriage is £1,580.

        Processing Time

        The processing time for British citizenship by marriage applications is typically six months. However, it may take longer if you do not provide the complete documents to support your case.

        Note that the Home Office will contact you if you need to provide more information to support your case.

        What Happens After You Apply for British Citizenship

        If your British citizenship by marriage application is successful, you will receive a notification and instructions to book a citizenship ceremony. The British citizenship ceremony is usually organised at the local council level, and after booking, you will receive an official invitation.

        You must attend the ceremony within three months of receiving the invitation. Otherwise, your citizenship application will be rejected.

        At the ceremony, you will make an oath of allegiance or an affirmation and a pledge promising to respect the rights, freedoms and laws of the UK. Then, you will receive your British citizenship certificate.

        Within five working days of receiving the citizenship certificate, you must return your biometric residence permit (BRP) via mail to the Home Office. You should include a written note stating that you’re returning it because you’ve become a citizen. Failure to return your BRP within the stipulated timeframe can attract a fine of up to ​​£1,000.

        Citizenship and Passport

        Your citizenship certificate will not grant you entry into the UK when travelling. You must obtain a British passport for that purpose, as it serves as proof of your nationality.

        There are two ways you can apply for a British passport: online or via post. You’ll need the following to apply:

        • The application form
        • A digital photo (if applying online)
        • Two identical printed passport photos (if applying via post)
        • A signed confirmation from someone who can identify you
        • Proof of payment of the application fee

        If you choose to apply via post, you must get the application form from a post office or the Passport Adviceline. You will be required to pay an application fee of £93. If you apply online, you will pay an application fee of £82.50.

        After you apply, you may be required to attend an interview to confirm your identity.

        A British passport is usually valid for ten years, and it allows you to travel visa-free to over 190 countries.

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

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          Obtaining British citizenship by marriage is usually through the naturalisation process. You must have spent some time living in the UK on a visa and received settled status before being eligible.

          This process is typically lengthy and involves multiple immigration procedures. As such, many applicants find it challenging to navigate.

          However, Total Law can help. We are expert UK immigration lawyers who have assisted several individuals to naturalise as British citizens through marriage to a UK national.

          If you’re a Turkish citizen married to a British national, we can help you at any stage of your immigration journey. Whether you require assistance getting a Spouse Visa, applying for settled status, or naturalising as a British citizen, we will guide you through the process.

          If you have questions regarding your immigration situation or want help with your application, speak to our lawyers. Call us at 0333 305 9375 or contact us online today.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    If you are married to a UK citizen, you may be eligible to apply for the Spouse Visa. After living in the UK continuously for five years, you can apply for indefinite leave remain (ILR). With ILR, you can apply for citizenship.

                    If you’re a Turkish citizen married to a British national, you can naturalise as a British citizen when you qualify and get dual citizenship.

                    If your citizenship application is denied, you can request an administrative review. The Home Office will review your request, and if it resulted from an administrative error, your application will be reconsidered.