1. Do I have to take the Life in UK test to apply for Citizenship?
Yes! All applicants have to take this test
2. Do I have to take an English language test?
This depends on your nationality and whether you already have a degree taught in English. See below for further information
3. How much does an application cost?
Click here for the current fees.
4. Do I have to have my biometrics taken?
Yes, all applicants over 6 years of age are required to have both fingerprints and digital photos taken.
5. Can I make a joint application with my family?
This would depend on whether your spouse and children are eligible to apply. You should read the eligibility requirements below. Spouses in the UK can only apply if they have ILR.
6. Is a joint application cheaper?
7. Is my child eligible for Citizenship once I am a British Citizen?
This would depend on where the child was born and if the child’s mother has ILR or not, it also may depend on the age of the child and how long they have been in the UK. You should read the children guidance below.
8. Should I apply through a Nationality Checking Service?
This is a personal choice, often it is not required for an application from a soldier because you do not have to meet the same residency requirements, so applications are more straightforward. Spouses may wish to use the service to check they meet the requirements. The added benefit is that they will take a photocopy of your passport so you don’t have to send it away.
IMPORTANT – from 5th November 2015 you won’t be able to use ESOL qualifications as proof that you meet the KoLL requirement. Only qualifications on the UKVI SELT (Secure English Language Tests) list taken at an approved centre will be accepted, see below.
You can demonstrate your knowledge of language and life in the UK by:
What happens if my qualification has run out?
Some recognised test qualifications only last for 2 years. However you can still use a B1 level qualification that’s run out if you’re applying for citizenship and it was accepted when you applied to settle in the UK. It doesn’t matter if the B1 level test you took isn’t on the list of recognised tests now. You don’t need to take another test. Unfortunately as most soldiers don’t need to apply for ILR, this won’t apply. However it may apply to some spouses who had to have a B1 qualification to aply for ILR.
I already have a certificate in literacy level 1 or 2. Will this cover the new B1 English Language requirement?
The Functional Skills literacy qualification does not meet the requirement because it isn’t a specific ESOL qualification with speaking and listening components. However, AFF is currently looking into this issue.
Can I use Standard Learning Credits (SLC) for the English test?
DEdCap have informed us that SLC cannot be used for exams or a course. The MOD only funds teaching/courses which if of benefit to Service. Citizenship is considered to be a personal choice and is not a requirement of Service. However if the soldier is using SLC for RESETTLEMENT purposes then he would be able to claim it to fund a test as no benefit to the Service is required for resettlement.
Where can I take the B1 English language test in the UK?
You can only take the test at the approved test centres specified on the list.
The first and most important point to note is that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is separate from the British Nationality Act 1981 and therefore even if a criminal offence has been ‘spent’ under the terms of the ROA it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is spent for the purposes of an application for citizenship.
The decision maker will normally refuse an application if, within the 10 years preceding the application, the person has not been compliant with immigration requirements, including but not limited to having:
However, there is discretion within the rules to overlook certain immigration breaches. Get in touch with the F&C team if you are concerned about this.
Soldiers: As from 13th May 2014 there is now discretion within the British Nationality Act 1981 to overlook the requirement to have been in the UK on the first day of the 5 year qualifying period for a 6(1) application, if the applicant is or has been a member of the Armed Forces. The guidance states:
We should normally exercise discretion where:
IMPORTANT: This discretion does not apply to BN(O) passport holders applying on form B(OTA). It also does not apply if you were out of the UK on a non-work related trip.
Spouses – still need to meet this requirement.
However, this does not apply to spouses of Gurkha soldiers. The Home Office have confirmed that they “cannot overlook excess absences from spouses of serving Gurkhas because they cannot overlook absences from the soldiers themselves.”
If you are the spouse of a serving Gurkha, and you have spent more than 450 days out of the UK on overseas assignments, your application is likely to fail. Once your soldier has transferred to the wider Army, you would be able to count your absences as residence in the UK.Back to top
Since 6 April 2015, it has been a requirement for most applicants for citizenship to have a BRP. This requirement also applies to soldiers who apply.
If you already have a BRP, this must be sent in with the application. If you don’t, you will be sent a letter after you have applied for citizenship asking you to go and enrol your biometrics details at a local post office.
Further details about this can be found on page 13 of the guide AN (Application for naturalisation). There will be a small cost for this service. Children under 18 applying for registration as a British citizen much also enrol their biometric information. Children under the age of six do not need to provide fingerprints, but must have a digital photo taken of their face.Back to top
Click here for the forms and guide to applying. Commonwealth soldiers:
NOTE – from 1 December 2013 it no longer matters if the soldier becomes a British citizen prior to the spouse applying for ILR. The soldier’s nationality will no longer affect a spouse visa application.Back to top
Gurkhas are not included in the above policy as they remain Nepalese citizens whilst serving with the Brigade.
Gurkhas seeking British citizenship may do so either by transferring to the wider Army after five years’ service, or after discharge by initially applying for settlement and then naturalisation.
Once they have ILR, they can apply for Citizenship immediately if they meet the other main requirements. There is no requirement to wait for 12 months prior to applying. This information is clearly written in the UKVI guidance on p38 at this link. This applies to all F&C and Gurkha soldiers.Back to top
Click here for the form and guidance.
There are two ways to become a British citizen if you are married to a soldier. In both cases, you need to have ILR first.
Unfortunately as part of the new pricing structure introduced on 6th April 2014, the Home Office has removed the price reduction which was previously given for joint adult applications. It is now necessary to pay the full cost for each adult and child application even if applying at the same time.Back to top
2 options (for all information, click here.)
Click here for all information.Back to top
All applications for children need to be made using form MN1, click here for the form and guide. Children are not naturalised, they are registered as British Citizens but process is essentially the same.
a. Citizenship for children born in the UK
b. Citizenship for children born in the UK to a non-British parent who, after their birth, becomes a serving HM Forces member
Children born after 13 Jan 2010: Children in these circumstances are eligible to be registered as a British Citizen under section 1(3A) of the British Nationality Act. They are not eligible for a British Passport until they have been registered.
Children born before 13 Jan 2010: Eligible to be registered under section 1(3). Contact the F&C team if you will be making an application within this section.
c. Citizenship for children born overseas (but not on an overseas assignment) to a British parent
If a child is born in the home country of the parents and one of the parents is a British Citizen at the time of the birth, the child will be born British.
Information about this can be found on page 6 of the guide MN1. However the child will not have full Citizenship, he/she will be a British Citizen by descent only. Children born to parents who are British by descent have no automatic claim to British citizenship.
d. Citizenship for children born outside the UK whilst the soldier was/is on an overseas assignment
All children of F&C personnel born outside the UK while their parent was/is on assignment are eligible to apply to be registered as British Citizens.
Please note: the child’s mother does not have to have been accompanying the soldier on the overseas assignment in order to be eligible to register. If the child was born in Ghana for example whilst the soldier was in Germany, he/she would also be eligible to register. However if the child was born in Ghana whilst the soldier was serving in the UK, then it would not be eligible to register!
As of 1 April 2015 children born to non-British parents serving on an overseas assignment can be registered as British at public expense. For further information refer to 20150408 DIN ‘Family Migration Rules for UK Armed Forces family members who are Non-British’.
e. Citizenship for children born outside the UK, but not during an overseas assignment:
For a list of criteria that are used to assess such applications, read page 16 of the Guide MN1Back to top
KEY POINT: Make sure you are not due posting within the next six months. UKVI will not usually return your documents until a decision has been made on your application. Applications take on average between four to six months to process. If you are due a posting and have not had your passport returned to you, you must inform your unit who should raise the issue to HQ BFG.
Click here for the form and guides to applying.
Adult applications Q&A
Soldier applications overseas:
Spouse applications under Crown Service rules:
*Spouses of ex-Gurkhas – Only spouses of soldiers who were enlisted in the UK are eligible to apply using the Crown Service rules. This means that spouses of Gurkhas who have transferred to the wider Army are not able to apply. AFF has raised this issue and it has been discussed at top-level MOD/UKBA meetings. Unfortunately we have been informed that although UKBA agree this is an unfair rule, to change this will mean a change in primary legislation which realistically is not going to happen when this affects a relatively small number of people. You may be able to make a standard application instead, see below.
Spouse ‘standard’ applications:
Can we make a joint application?
AFF has recently assisted with a successful joint application, so it seems that this is a possible route if all main requirements are met. Both the spouse and soldier would need to meet the main requirements, see above. You would need to complete two application forms. It is also advised that you contact the F&C team for a supporting letter to send off with the applications. However it is no longer cheaper to make a joint application so it may be less risky to wait until the soldier becomes a British Citizen and then apply under the Crown Service rules if you are still overseas.
Can I still apply for Crown Service even if I have a valid visa?
Do I have to go to a nationality checking service in the UK to apply?
No, in fact this is not advised as your application may not be considered under the crown service rules and could be refused.
Can I send in certified copies of my passport?
Soldiers can do this through their unit. UKBA have informed us that spouses can use certified copies but every page of the passport will need to be certified. This will need to be done by an authorised legal professional.
What address should I put on the form?
You should put your home address not your BFPO address on the form. However, if possible, you should send your application special delivery with a self-addressed envelope pre-paid for special delivery back to your BFPO address. Unfortunately in Germany it appears that some documents are currently being sent to the British Embassy in Berlin instead of to individual addresses. This can delay the process by week.
What will happen next?
If the naturalisation application is successful, you will receive two letters; one from the Home Office confirming the application success which should come in the pre-paid envelope with all of your documents and one from your nearest consulate or High Commission which should come to your home address. You will need to contact the consulate to arrange a time to attend the citizenship ceremony; this must be done within 90 days of receiving the letter. The citizenship certificate is issued at the ceremony.
What do I do if I am refused Citizenship
You should contact the AFF F&C team, click here. We may be able to assist if your application has been wrongly refused.
English Language and Life in the UK test centres overseas
Where can I take the English language test on an overseas assignment?
You need to use your nearest IELTS examination centre. These are usually offered in major cities worldwide on a regular basis and can be booked online. The exam has 9 levels but you only need to pass at level 4 to meet the B1 requirement. You should check that the course and test centre are listed on the SELT list.
The British Council in Dusseldorf is the only accepted place to take the IELTS exam in Germany. They offer the IELTS exam in Dusseldorf 2-3 times a month. This costs 220 Euros.
The British Council in Cyprus offers the IELTS exam once or twice a month. The test costs 204 Euros.
Where can I book and take the Life in the UK test?
Registrations for the Life in the UK Test are booked online and it still costs £50.00. Details must be correct and match EXACTLY to the personal details on the candidates’ passport. All rules and regulations can be found on the link above. The ID used to book the test (preferably something with a photograph) should be brought to the place of the test to confirm identity and to confirm personal details. Candidates are asked to arrive early to the test centre to confirm attendance and fill out any other registration paperwork. Failure to attend without good reason or due notification means that the fee paid is lost. Every test thereafter will cost £50.00.
You are advised to write on the application form (part 6) which country you wish to take your biometrics in. You should be sent a letter with the nearest locations. If you receive a letter asking your to have your biometrics taken in a different country then you should email email@example.com stating your name, date of birth and reference number, country and city of application.
UPDATE – As of 1 April 2015 children born to non-British parents serving on an overseas assignment can be registered as British at public expense. For further information refer to 20150408 DIN ‘Family Migration Rules for UK Armed Forces family members who are Non-British’.
All children of F&C personnel born outside the UK while their parent is on assignment are required to apply for a passport for them as soon as possible after the birth. If however one parent is British then the child will be born British and will have full British Citizenship.
IMPORTANT – Your child will not be eligible for a British Passport until they have been registered as a British Citizen
Citizenship for children born outside the UK whilst the soldier is on an overseas assignment:
All Service personnel and members of the civilian component and their dependants, regardless of their nationality, who are required to travel on official duty to, or are assigned to, a country that requires a valid passport, are to be provided with one at public expense. Click here for the DIN.
One-year passport for soldiers update (2017DIN01-073):
On 26 February 2017, Her Majesty’s Passport Office waived the routine requirement for Service personnel in the UK and overseas applying for their first adult British passport to attend an identity interview. Only where there are concerns about identity will an interview still be required.
Service personnel who have already been issued a restricted validity passport will have a full passport issued at the point of renewal.
Please note: The process for dependants is being reviewed and an update will be provided as soon as possible.
One-year passport for spouses
Refer to the guidance on our Brexit page.Back to top
“Your tireless campaigning on a myriad of topics has made a world of difference!”
“What an awesome organisation”
“Thank you so much Army Families Federation!”Find out more