I am an EU national holding a (indefinite leave to remain - permanent resident status)= PR since October 2016. I would like to apply for UK citizenship. In the AN citizenship form it asks for job/employer. My two questions are the following:

  1. Can a PhD student in the UK apply (hence the person is not working)?
  2. Can a person who is unemployed (and not studying) at the moment of application apply?
  • October 2016?? And you already want citizenship? Wut? To answer your questions, obviously citizenship has nothing to do with employment whatsoever. What mad world would that be, how would you grant citizenship to children, the elderly, those with such disabilities that make work impossible and so forth.
    – chx
    Aug 17, 2017 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


According to the UK nationality guidance on naturalision, you would meet the basic eligibility through residency at 5 years. At that point, employment is not a factor when you qualify, financial soundness is, per the good character requirement.

Residence requirements
This section tells you how to consider if an applicant meets the residence requirement for naturalisation.

In order to qualify for naturalisation as a British citizen, an individual is required to demonstrate close links with, and a commitment to the UK. As part of this the expectation is that applicants should meet the residence requirements.

Whilst there is some discretion to waive some of these requirements, this cannot be done to the extent that the requirements are ignored.

Residence requirements: section 6(1)
The residence requirements which someone applying under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 are that the applicant was:

  • in the UK at the beginning of the period of 5 years ending with the date of the application
  • not absent from the UK for more than either: o 450 days in that 5 year period o 90 days in the period of 12 months ending with the date of application
  • not, on the date of application, subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on the period of stay in the UK
  • not, at any other time in the 12 month period ending with date of application, subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on the period of stay in the UK
  • not at any time in the period of 5 years ending with the date of application, in the UK in breach of the immigration laws
  • Thank you for your answer! I have been in the UK working since January 2011 and as of June 21 when I applied for permanent residency and got it on 21 of October. So, I am waiting till October 21 2017 in order to apply for UK citizenship. I fulfil all the requirements listed on the HO site (listed by you). My only problem is that for the last 10 months I have been made redundant and I am looking for work just now. My sister also got her residency the same time but she has been studying all these years and is now in her final year of PhD studies.That's why I am asking about employment situation.
    – Euclid
    Aug 18, 2017 at 21:10
  • Dorothy: You misunderstood what he said. He is not a resident since 2016. He has permanent residence to 2016, and you get that for example if you have been in the UK as an EU citizen and employed for five years. So he will be free to apply in October 2017.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 20, 2017 at 22:50
  • @gnasher729 yes; it was hard to tell as it was originally posed ILR & PR and 2016... and OP added that in the comment; I'll edit out the first bit; TY.
    – Giorgio
    Aug 20, 2017 at 22:59
  • Make sure you are in UK 5 years before the date of 'naturalisation application'. Even if you are on holiday outside UK, home office says you aren't met '5 years' residence requirement.
    – tsenapathy
    May 8, 2018 at 10:28

Once you have indefinite leave to remain, you have this status until you either commit some serious crime, or leave the UK for two years. No requirement to be employed etc. I haven't seen any requirement to be employed to gain citizenship either.

Make sure what the status of your original citizenship will be. For example, Dutch nationals will lose their Dutch nationality. German embassy says "we don't know; we'll tell you when we know".

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