British Naturalisation And Registration Applications

Naturalization and Registration are the main route to obtain British Citizenship and are set out in the provisions of the British Nationality Act (BNA) 1981.

What is Naturalization and Registration

The most widely available route to citizenship for those over 18 is that of naturalisation. Section 6(1) BNA states that anyone of sound mind can apply to become a British citizen and if certain conditions are met the Secretary of State has a discretion to grant citizenship.

For children born in the UK, there are two commonly used routes.

Firstly, under section 1(3) BNA, children who were born in the UK at a time when their parents were not settled or did not have British citizenship, can apply to be registered as a British citizen once one of their parents obtain settled status or citizenship.

And secondly, under section 1(4) BNA, children who were born in the UK and have lived in the country for the first 10 years of their lives can apply to be citizens.


Naturalisation under section 6 has a number of requirements including (but not limited to):

  • Not being absent from the UK for more than 450 days in the 5 years to the date of the application, and no more than 90 days in the 12 months prior to the submission of the application
  • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • Passing the Life in the UK test; and
  • Holding settled status or indefinite leave to remain for at least one year prior to applying for naturalisation (unless married to a British citizen, in which case the 12 month period is waived).
  • No serious criminal convictions
  • No adverse previous immigration history for example a period of overstay

The requirements under the two registration routes are usually easier to meet.
Under section 1(3) BNA, the requirements include (but are not limited to):

  • The child being born in the UK and not British at the time of their birth because neither parent was British or settled;
  • Evidence that since their birth, one of their parents has become British or settled; and
  • They are under 18 at the date the application was submitted.

These requirements can usually be evidenced by a child’s birth certificate and their parents’ current and previous immigration documents, such as their BRPs or new British passport.

For children applying under section 1(4) BNA, the requirements include (but are not limited to):

  • The child was born in the UK and was not British at the time of their birth because neither parent was British or settled;
  • The child lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life; and
  • The child has not been outside the UK for more than 90 days in each of the first 10 years of their life

There is no requirement for a child applicant to have settled/ILR status first, avoiding the need for an additional application. Children also do not need to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language or pass a life in the UK test.

Nationality and Registration applications can often be complicated and time consuming. If you have questions with regards to a possible application for naturalization or registration then please complete our free online assessment. 

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