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British Citizenship By Marriage

British Citizenship By Marriage allows British citizen to gain British citizenship. Contact our immigration lawyers at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 or fill out our form for a free consultation on your application.

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November 10, 2023

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Is it possible to obtain British citizenship through marriage?

Acquiring British citizenship by marriage or civil partnership is feasible for foreign nationals. This process, known as naturalisation, enables individuals to reside in the UK. It’s crucial to note that marrying a British citizen doesn’t automatically grant citizenship; however, eligibility for application arises under specific conditions. According to Home Office regulations, individuals aged 18 or above, married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, and residing in the UK for a minimum of 3 years can apply for naturalisation under these circumstances:

Additional eligibility criteria must be met to secure British citizenship via marriage or civil partnership.

An advantage of pursuing UK citizenship through marriage or civil partnership lies in the opportunity to apply immediately after attaining permanent settlement, provided evidence of residing in the UK for precisely 3 years is presented. Ordinarily, individuals must wait 12 months post-settlement to initiate a British citizenship application.

Remember, this pathway doesn’t guarantee immediate citizenship but opens a route to application eligibility based on specific requirements.

Criteria for British citizenship through marriage or civil partnership

As per the current Home Office guidelines, the prerequisites for applying for British citizenship through marriage encompass:

  • Being 18 years or older
  • Being married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen at the time of application
  • Holding settled status, indicating indefinite leave to remain (ILR), indefinite leave to enter (ILE), or settled status via the EU Settlement Scheme in the UK
  • Residing in the UK continuously for a minimum of three years before the application date, excluding time spent in diplomatic roles or as a member of visiting armed forces. During this period, you must not have spent more than 270 days outside the UK in the preceding three years or more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months.

Additionally, to qualify for naturalisation as a British citizen, you must:

  • Demonstrate sound mental capacity to comprehend the process
  • Exhibit proficiency in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) at an acceptable level
  • Possess adequate knowledge of Life in the UK
  • Uphold good character

For detailed information on these general requirements, refer to our British Citizenship requirements page.

Is it possible to naturalise as a British citizen if my partner has passed away?

Unfortunately, as per Home Office regulations, you cannot apply for naturalisation as a British citizen if your British partner has deceased. However, alternative routes to citizenship may exist. For instance, you can initiate the process by applying for ILR following the death of your British spouse or partner. After holding ILR for 12 months, you can then apply for British citizenship.

Where should I have resided in the UK?

Throughout the three years preceding your application, your physical presence must have been in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands.

To ascertain your eligibility for British citizenship through marriage or civil partnership, consult one of our immigration solicitors. Contact us today for a telephone consultation at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 or via email at

Obtaining British Citizenship Through Marriage

Obtaining British citizenship through marriage involves several steps:

  1. Complete the necessary online application for citizenship by naturalisation.
  2. Schedule an appointment at a UKVCAS service point to have your photo taken and fingerprints scanned.
  3. Upload requested documents to support your application or bring them to your UKVCAS appointment.
  4. Submit the online application fee of £1,330.
  5. Pay the £19.20 biometric fee for your biometric data collection.
  6. Attend your biometric appointment as scheduled.
  7. Await a decision on your application.

Upon approval, you’ll receive a British Citizenship certificate. It’s essential to return your biometric residence permit (BRP) to the Home Office within 5 working days of receiving your certificate, as failing to do so could result in a £1,000 fine.

Subsequently, you can apply for a British passport. The processing time for citizenship through marriage typically takes around six months. However, if your case is intricate or lacks adequate information, it might extend beyond this period.

Necessary Documentation and Proof

When applying for British citizenship, you’ll need to produce various supporting documents and evidence, including:

  • Proof of Identity:
    • Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card
    • Passport or national identity card
  • Language Proficiency Evidence:
    • An approved Home Office English qualification at B1 CEFR level
    • UK degree certificate
    • Exemption proof (e.g., a medical certificate explaining your exemption)
  • Life in the UK Evidence:
    • Confirmation of passing the Life in the UK Test
  • Settlement Proof in the UK:
    • Passport displaying permission for permanent residence in the UK
    • Home Office correspondence verifying permanent UK residence
  • Evidence of Your Spouse/Partner’s British Citizenship:
    • Your spouse’s/civil partner’s current passport or their citizenship certificate
    • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Proof of Residency in the UK for Over 3 Years:
    • Documentation such as your passport

Any documents not in English will require professional translation.

Timing Your British Citizenship Application via Marriage

The eligibility to apply for British Citizenship through marriage or civil partnership arises once you obtain indefinite leave to remain (ILR), indefinite leave to enter (ILE) for the UK, or settled status via the EU Settlement Scheme. Additionally, you must have resided in the UK—comprising England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands—for a minimum of 3 years.

Fees for British Citizenship via Marriage

The application fee for British citizenship through marriage is £1,330. Additionally, you’ll be required to cover the biometric residence fee of £19.20 and any expenses related to translation services, English language examinations, and the Life in the UK test.

How long to get British citizenship via marriage?

The current processing period for marriage-based citizenship is approximately six months. However, should your case be intricate or lack sufficient details, this timeframe may extend.

Is renouncing my current citizenship necessary?

In the UK, dual nationality is permitted, absolving you of any obligation under UK law to relinquish citizenship from another country. However, it’s essential to verify if the laws of your other citizenships demand renunciation before pursuing British citizenship.

Refusal of British Citizenship by Marriage Application

Typically, there’s no standard appeal process for a rejected British citizenship by marriage application. However, a potential recourse includes requesting an administrative review if you suspect a Home Office error in the decision-making. Alternatively, you might opt for a judicial review challenging the legal grounds for the decision.

Instances leading to the refusal of applications for British citizenship through marriage or civil partnership encompass various reasons:

  • Insufficient Residency:
    • Not meeting the mandatory 3-year UK residency or continuous residence criteria
  • Marriage/Civil Partnership Validity Concerns:
    • Doubts regarding the legitimacy of the marriage or civil partnership
  • Lack of Evidence:
    • Inadequate submission of supporting documents
  • Language and Life in the UK Test:
    • Failure to pass the Life in the UK test or meet language proficiency standards
  • Character Concerns:
    • Issues regarding the applicant’s character

Upon refusal, seeking guidance from an immigration solicitor is advisable. They can evaluate your case, comprehend the grounds for refusal, and chart the best course of action. Depending on the situation, they might suggest reapplying or exploring alternative routes to achieve your objective.

For personalised advice, contact us for a complimentary telephone consultation at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 or via email at

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