British Citizenship

I should check my draft posts more often…apparently I still had one last student guest blog from this spring.  This one covers British citizenship policy (to match the other posts on Turkey, Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, and Germany).

Find this image (and a practice UK Citizenship test) at

Many people ask the question ‘What does it mean to be British?’ Citizenship in the United Kingdom is more than blood –individuals must hold specific attributes including civic and cultural beliefs.

Under the British Nationality Act of 1981, if a child is born in the United Kingdom they have an entitlement to register as a British citizen but are not naturally born a British citizen, as many people would think. To become a British Citizen, there are various requirements that must be followed to show the devoted relationship people have with the country.

Depending on current citizenship or nationality, individuals can apply for British citizenship in a number of ways. The general rule is that a foreign national who has lived in the United Kingdom for five years or more can apply for naturalization. United Kingdom Citizenship through naturalization can be reached if all four terms are met. First, the applicant must be good of character. This good of character requirement entails that the individual respects the rights and freedoms of the United Kingdom and must possess one of the following: less than ten years old when making the application, stateless, or other type of British national. Secondly, the applicant must have sufficient knowledge of English. This requirement is crucial because it is the way that British citizens communicate with one another and provide culture to the United Kingdom. Thirdly, the applicant must intend to make the United Kingdom their principal home. Finally, the applicant must meet the residence requirements. These requirements include having lived in the United Kingdom for five or more years, spent no more than 450 days outside of the United Kingdom in the five year period and no more than 90 days outside the United Kingdom in the final 12 months before the naturalization application, and not have breached any immigration laws within the United Kingdom in the past five years. These are the four requirements that applicants must hold before becoming a British Citizen. However, if the applicant is married to a British citizen then there are amended requirements that provide a faster process to becoming a citizen of the United Kingdom. With this amended process, the applicant is only limited to a three year residence in the United Kingdom before being able to apply for citizenship. During that three year period, the applicant must not be outside the United Kingdom for more than 270 days or for 90 days within the last twelve months. In addition to these requirements, the applicant must not be in breach of British immigration laws for the three year period prior to applying for citizenship.

British culture is a large part of acquiring citizenship in the United Kingdom. The officials need to make sure that each citizen is able to live in the country while abiding by certain legal and cultural standards. Each applicant is required to pass the Life in the UK Test. This test asks applicants a few basic questions about the United Kingdom through English, civics, and the lifestyle. To pass this test and become a British citizen, applicants must answer eighteen out of the twenty-four questions correctly. This test has a very high passing rate. For example, in 2009, 70.9% of the people passed the Life in the UK test. This test is necessary to give individuals insight of how culture and lifestyle in the British system works. As long as applicants follow these requirements, they will have no problem becoming a British citizen and living the traditional and culture rich lifestyle the United Kingdom has to offer.

Reference List

DJ Webb & Co. – Immigration Solicitors. (n.d.). DJ Webb & Co. – Immigration Solicitors.  Retrieved April 8, 2012, from (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2012, from

Life in the UK Test, British Citizenship Test, Life in UK Citizenship Test, British Citizenship Free Sample Practice Test.. (n.d.). Life in the UK Test, British Citizenship Test, Life in UK Citizenship Test, British Citizenship Free Sample Practice Test.. Retrieved April 8, 2012, from

UK Border Agency | Home Page . (n.d.). British Citizenship. Retrieved April 8, 2012, from



  1. That’s a great site for ESOL individuals…thanks for sharing it!

    This post was for a blog assignment about citizenship policy in their chosen country. Finding all the info required is actually quite challenging – few countries post their naturalization requirements on a quick, user-friendly webpage, and I think this student did a great job summarizing the important info she pulled from several sources. Hopefully, this helps a few people figure out the basics!

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