British Citizenship by Registration

If you have British nationality, you can register to become a citizen. 

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British nationals can reside outside of the UK and still be considered a British national. If you are a British national, you can register for citizenship. However, you cannot be a national or a citizen of another country to gain British citizenship through this route. 

There are different ways to apply dependent on how you acquired your British nationality:

  • If you have lived in the UK for 5 or more years
  • If you have worked as a Crown servant (diplomatic service, overseas civil service, armed services)
  • You have a connection with Gibraltar
  • Or you have lived in Hong Kong

More information can be found under the FAQs below. 

How we can help 

Although citizenship applications can be complex, our experienced immigration specialists understand the processes, the legal requirements and the issues. Herrington Carmichael will support you every step of the way.

British Citizenship by Registration FAQs

What are the requirements for citizenship through registration?

If you have lived in the UK or worked as a crown servant: 

  • You need to have lived in the UK for at least 5 years, spent no more than 450 days abroad during this time, and no more than 90 days in the last year. 
  • You must have worked as a Crown servant at any time.

You will need to provide supporting evidence as stipulated during your application. 

You have a connection with Gibraltar: 

If you were registered as a British overseas territories citizen in Gibraltar before 21 May 2002, you would have automatically become a British citizen. 

If you have a connection in Gibraltar, such as a grandparent or your parents were born/naturalised there, you can apply to register as a British citizen if either of these apply:

  • You were naturalised in Gibraltar after 21 May 2002 as a British overseas territories citizen
  • You were registered as a minor after 21 May 2002

You will need to get an application form from the Civil Status and Registration Office. 

You lived in Hong Kong:

You can register if you are a resident in Hong Kong at the date of application and:

  • you were ordinarily resident there on 3 February 1997
  • if you were born after 3 February 1997 and your parents were ordinarily residents in Hong Kong

Ordinarily resident means: you live in Hong Kong full-time, you are not breaking immigration laws, and you moved to Hong Kong voluntarily with the aim of settling there. 

You must be of good character to go this route. 

What classifies a British Nationality?

Click on the below links to find out what each means:

How much will it cost?

The fees charged by Home Office can be found on their official website here

How long does it take to get a decision? 

You should get a decision on your status within 6 months of submitting the application. Please note, these timeframes are a guideline, and some applications do take longer to receive a decision.

Can my family/dependants apply?

Your spouse, partner and other dependants will need their own application if they meet the requirements. 

Do I need to redo my biometric information?

Yes. You will need to make an appointment to give your fingerprints and have a new photograph taken. This will be stipulated during your application process. There is no fee for this. 

Your appointment will be made at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point. 

Will I need to pay the IHS surcharge?

No. You will no longer need to pay the healthcare surcharge.

Will I need to attend a citizenship ceremony?

Yes. If your application is successful, you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony. You will receive information about where and when upon success. 

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