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Applying to Naturalise in the UK – One of the processes of obtaining British citizenship is via naturalisation. This is when a non-citizen of the UK has permission to acquire citizenship. The most common ways of naturalisation are under the 3 year rule or the 5 year rule. The 3 year rule is on the basis of being married to a British Citizen and holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) before the July 2012 rule change.

Routes to Naturalising as a British Citizen

3 Year Rule

The applicant must be married to a British citizen, hold ILR and have resided in the UK for a full 3 years.  The three year rule is only applicable for those who came on a settlement visa prior to the rule change in July 2012.

5 Year Rule

Is on the basis of having held Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residency (for EEA Members and their family members) for at least 1 year after previously spending a continuous period of 5 years on a visa that leads to permanent settlement, such as those on work related visas or those who have applied for a probationary settlement visa after the July 2012 rule change.


  • All applications must be made in the UK.

  • You cannot apply through the Public Enquiry Office and use the Premium Service you must apply via the postal route.

Basic Requirements

  • You must have been physically present in the UK at the beginning of the 3 or 5 year period.

  • Unless you are exempt you are required to meet the Knowledge of Life and Language in the UK requirement known as KOLL.

  • 3 year rule:  having spent no more than 270 days in total outside of the UK in the most recent 3 years.

  • 5 year rule: having spent no more than 450 days outside the UK in the last 5 years.

  • You are of good character.

  • You have a referee who is a professional and has known you for more than 3 years.

Key Information

  • Your referee must have known you for at least three years.

  • You may be called for interview.

  • If your application is successful you will be invited to a Citizenship Ceremony.       

Professional  Fee

A Fixed Fee of £300 to represent you payable on submission of the application to the Home Office. The Fee includes checking the application, documentation & informing you of any developments as they arise. There will be no VAT charged, However, you will be responsible for any Home Office application fees & disbursements regarding the application.

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