How Many Years Do You Have to Live In the UK to be a Citizen?

Getting indefinite leave to remain through living and working in the UK is the first step towards getting a British citizenship. Once you gain ILR or a settled status in the UK, you can then apply for British citizenship. British citizenship through the process of naturalization gives you the right to live as any other British citizen with a British passport.

Following are the requirements to apply for British citizenship:

You must possess ILR or long residency UK for at least 12 months.

After gaining ILR status for at least one year, you can make an application for citizenship. Meanwhile, if you get married to a British citizen, you won’t need to wait for 1 year to apply.

  • Ensuring the residency requirements
    • The applicant must not have lived oUK for more than 90 days in last 12 months
    • The applicant must not have stayed for more than 450 days outside the UK in the last five years of UK residency
  • Bear good character
  • No criminal convictions

Additionally, You must have followed the laws and respected its rights and freedoms in the UK without any violations. For example, paying your income tax and National Insurance contributions, etc.

The applicant must ensure they have always been on the right side of the law and been completely honest in your application and presenting documents.

Time taken to process the application

It generally takes up to 6 months to process your citizenship application.

Once approved you are required to attend your citizenship ceremony within 3 months of your application approval date. A standard British passport usually takes about 6 weeks to get issued.

Passing the Life in the UK test

Another mandatory requirement to have your ILR granted and opening the way to British citizenship is passing the Life in the UK test.

The application process demands that you demonstrate your understanding of the British customs and embra the history of the nation. In that regard, passing the life in the UK test plays an important role in the application process.

It is a computer based multiple choice question test that consists of 24 questions.

To pass the test one must get 75% of the 24 questions. The cost of the test is £50 and it can be given multiple times. If the test has already been done during your ULR application then you won’t need to repeat. The course consists of British history, traditions, values and everyday life.

You are exempted from the test if you are under 18 years of age or over 65 years of age.

English language proficiency requirement

To apply for a UK citizenship, you must evidence your  English language proficiency at B1 level in a listening and speaking test.

Only UKVI approved test centers can hold the English language proficiency tests. One must only use English for Speakers of Other languages Qualification or the exam held by Trinity college of London

You can also evidence your English language proficiency by furnishing a degree taught or researched in English.


Whatever your circumstances are to live in the UK to be a citizen, an effective application needs hand-holding. We recommend you to take expert advice in immigration matters. A Y & J Solicitors have over 10 years of experience with more than 4000 successful results. They have some of the best immigration lawyers, who guide you with all the UK immigration news and updates to represent your case hassle-free.

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