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United Kingdom (UK) - Citizenship

Expats are allowed to apply for citizenship in the United Kingdom. Any person 18 years or older who has lived in the United Kingdom for five years can apply. An exception is for married or civil partners, in which one person of the couple is a British Citizen, who can apply after three years. There are advantages for gaining citizenship in the United Kingdom such increased benefits. The right to vote, health services, tax benefits, and employment opportunities are opened up for those with UK citizenship. It also ends the need to apply for work permits and visas to remain in the country. Someone who entered with one place of employment is also able to switch companies more easily once citizenship has been granted. The AN form is required to apply for naturalisation.

The first step to the application process is to register as a British Citizen by completing the forms. The AN will need to be filled out and approved, along with specific sections that apply to an expat’s particular circumstances, such as the BOS or UKM sections. For those with family under 18 years of age, a parent must first attain citizenship before their children are granted nationality; however, there is an application for children to be filled out and sent in at the same time. An application requires proof that a person is of good character and sound mind.

Applying for Citizenship

Application forms for citizenship can be found online at the UK Border Agency. There are also other ways to apply. Visiting the National Checking Service is one option. The UK Border Agency has a list posted online of locations where the NCS can be found. Individual applications are online at:


To apply through a representative or agent, an expat needs to visit the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner online at:


Evidence is required for the application process. The person applying must show five years of information regarding address, time in the country, and salary. They must also present copies of identification to prove who they are. All information needs to be submitted at the same time as the application for the process to be completed.

Dual Citizenship Options

Each country has its own rules for citizenship. The United Kingdom does not withhold residency if an expat is unwilling to give up their homeland. However, there are many countries that will not allow a person to hold dual citizenship. An expat from one of these countries will have to give up or renounce their existing citizenship to gain UK naturalisation. If the home country allows for dual citizenships, then it is not a problem to keep both.

There are advantages to gaining a British citizenship such as protection abroad when travelling. The UK embassy would be able to help; however, they are unable to help if an expat is in their national country.

Other Considerations for Citizenship

Applying for citizenship as an expat takes great consideration given the issues that can arise should the application be denied. If the reason is not enough time in the United Kingdom before a person applied or if evidence of work, salary, and home life are missing, a new application can be sent within the next year. If an application is denied, there is typically a waiting time before a person can try again.

There are situations where a denial will lead to deportation. One reason for this is a fake marriage. If supporting evidence of a marriage is not detailed enough, or the inspector feels the marriage is for convenience and citizenship, a person can be denied naturalisation and be forced to leave the country.

Other instances of deportation may occur if there is improper information on the application. It is best to double check the application to make sure there is no missing or incorrect information. Additionally, should a person gain citizenship and subsequently commit a crime they can be deported back to their home country even if they renounced their citizenship to gain UK naturalisation.

UK Border Agency

Information for citizenship and the application process is found at the UK Border Agency Website.


Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner

Online website and citizenship office for agent-represented expats

+44(0) 207 211 1500

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.