British Citizenship

What is British Citizenship?

British citizenship is a type of British nationality under the British Nationality Act 1981. Being a British citizen gives you certain rights such as the ability to work and live in the UK permanently and to vote in UK general elections. 

Types of British Citizenship

There are two core types of British citizenship – those who are “British citizens by descent” and those who are “British citizens otherwise than by descent”.

Determining whether an individual automatically qualifies as a British citizen depends on three key factors:  

  1. Where they were born;
  2. When they were born; and
  3. Their parents’ circumstances.

For those individuals who are not automatically a British citizen, they will need to either be naturalised or registered in order to become a British citizen. 

British Citizenship through Naturalisation or Registration

Naturalisation is the most common way for adults who were not born British to become British citizens. To apply to naturalise as a British citizen, they will have to fulfil the residency requirements, and hold Indefinite Leave to Remain/Permanent Residence. Click here to find out more about becoming a British citizen by naturalisation. 

Registration is the only way that a child under the age of 18 can become a British citizen and is also used for adults in special circumstances. Click here to find out more about becoming a British citizen through registration.

British Citizenship application requirements 

Applying for British citizenship either through naturalisation or registration can be an onerous process and requires a significant amount of evidence to support the application. Our immigration lawyers have experience and understand closely the requirements and what will be accepted by the Home Office.  


Some individuals may be British but do not hold a UK passport. In these cases, an individual may be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode in their foreign passport, which will allow them to live and work in the UK as a British citizen without holding a UK passport.

Finally, there may be situations where you could obtain permission to live and work in the UK long-term if at least one of your grandparents is British. Click here to read more about Ancestry visas.

Contact Us

If you are unsure as to which service might be appropriate for your matter, or have any other queries about our immigration services, we warmly invite you to contact our team of experienced practitioners. You can do this by clicking on the links below or by telephoning or emailing our offices. You can explain to the receptionists that you are seeking to speak with the immigration team.

Telephone our offices:

London: 020 3443 9576

High Wycombe: 01494 451355

Marlow: 01628 958445

Email our immigration practitioners:

Meet our immigration team!