- 23 October 2019
Naturalisation is the process of becoming a British citizen for adults. This process has various requirements which include a minimum period of previous residence, knowledge of life and language in the UK among others.
The application can be a straightforward process if done correctly. However, an important rule is often overlooked by applicants, which can lead to a refusal, and the loss of several thousand pounds in fees.
The rule is that the applicant must be physically present in the UK on the day 5 years (or 3 years if applying as a spouse of a British citizen) before the application is received by the Home Office.
Previously, Home Office caseworkers were able to use their discretion in respect of the date the application is ‘received’. This is because paper forms could take their time in reaching the relevant Home Office caseworker.
However, under the new ‘online application’ plus appointment at UKVCAS, the timetables can be trickier. Instead, there are reports that the Home Office has started to enforce this rule more stringently than ever.
Previously, Home Office caseworkers were able to use their discretion in respect of the date the application is ‘received’.
Applicants should, therefore, be careful in checking that they have been present in the UK 5 or 3 years before their application date.
For example, if your application is received on 22 October 2019 you should have been physically present in the UK on 22 October 2014. If you were outside the UK on the 22 October 2014, even if this was for a short holiday, you should delay your naturalisation application appropriately.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.
About this article
SubjectApplying for naturalisation? Be wary of this important requirement!
Published23 October 2019
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