British citizenship is a legal status defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and a “British citizen” is a person on whom that status has been conferred, either automatically by law or by administrative action as exercised under the Act.
There are various benefits of becoming a British citizen, firstly you gain the right to live in the UK indefinitely where your status will be permanently settled. Secondly you will get a British passport and gain full rights to vote in elections and the right to stand for public office. In addition to the above as a British citizen you will have access to free NHS medical care and no restrictions attached to your right to work.
Eligibility requirements for British Citizenship
There are different ways to apply for British citizenship (or ‘naturalisation’) based on your individual circumstances.
• If you were born in the UK
o Unfortunately, being born in the UK does not automatically give you the right to get British citizenship. It depends on when you were born and your parents’ circumstances. However, if you were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983 and born when one parent was a British citizen or settled in the UK, then you can apply for a UK passport or instead request a letter confirming your citizenship.
• If you’re married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
o If you are married to a British citizen, then you are eligible to apply for British citizenship if you fulfil certain requirements. Firstly, you must have lived in the UK for at least 3 years and have either indefinite leave to remain or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
• If you have indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
o You can usually apply for indefinite leave to remain if you have lived in the UK for 5 years. Once you gain indefinite leave to remain status and have fulfilled the 12-month period then you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
• If you have ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme
o In order to apply for citizenship with settled status you must have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it. However, if you have not applied under the EU Settlement Scheme (deadline was 30 June 2021), you may still be eligible to apply if you have reasonable grounds for not being able to apply by the deadline.
• Other ways
a. You have a British parent
b. You have another type of British nationality
c. You have a parent with British Overseas Territories citizenship
d. You are stateless
e. You previously gave up your citizenship
f. Other special circumstance