I want to move to United Kingdom and I already know that I want to get a citizenship.

What can I prepare in advance so I can spread the cost over before applying. Are there any tests to get a citizenship. Do I need to earn a certain salary to qualify? Does my nationality or ethnic origin affect the processes?

Assuming that all my Visas are current and I am allowed to work in UK.

  • 3
    This question is really too broad. Your personal situation says a lot. If you are married to a Brit the answer will be different if you have no emotional relationship with the UK
    – Andra
    Mar 13, 2014 at 10:18

3 Answers 3


The guidelines of becoming a British Citizen are pretty straight forward and available online:

There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’.

You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’re of sound mind
  • you’re of good character
  • you’ll continue to live in the UK
  • you have met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements

You must usually also have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application
  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK, ie there’s no specific date that you have to leave
  • had indefinite leave to stay in the UK for the last 12 months
    • not broken any immigration laws while in the UK

The website goes on to explain that "There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen." Those requirements can be found at https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/if-your-spouse-is-a-british-citizen.

So to answer your specific questions:

What can I prepare in advance so I can spread the cost over before applying.

There are 3 aspects of getting citizenship that cost money. The first is applying for citizenship (currently £874). The second is taking the Life in the UK test (currently £50). This can be taken as part of the settlement process. The third is settlement. There are a number of different routes for settlement each with their own costs. Details are at https://contact-ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/settlement/applicationtypes/. One route is through SET(O) (currently £1839). Settlement does not expire so you can space out the settlement and citizenship fees.

Are there any tests to get a citizenship.

Yes, the Life in the UK test mentioned above

Do I need to earn over a certain amount yearly to qualify

Not for citizenship per se, but there is often an income requirement to get indefinite leave to remain/settlement

Does my nationality or ethnic origin involve different processes

Again, in general not for citizenship, but can for settlement.

  • 4
    It is implied here but just to add clarification - settlement is a separate process which must be done before citizenship.
    – Rachel
    Mar 19, 2014 at 11:06

Roughly speaking, you can get Citizenship a year after you receive ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain). Usually you can receive ILR after working for 5 years in the UK, so after 6 years you can become eligible for Citizenship. ILR and Citizenship have different criteria, so you need to check both ILR's and Citizenship's requirements.

Some of these requirements may look conflicting:

  • For ILR, it's OK to be out of UK for a maximum of 6 months per year (under certain circumstances)
  • For Citizenship, it's OK to be to be out of UK for a maximum of 450 days in the last 5 years (on average 3 months per year).

So you can be eligible for ILR after living for 5 years, but not for Citizenship on the 6th year. The opposite is also true.

Finally your eligibility for Citizenship depends on the type of your work permit as well, some types of work permits are not counted (ie. Post-study permit).


Considering you don't have any ties with Britain at the moment (like a British husband or wife), you are aged over 18, and you are not eligible for Registration, the following are the ususal things you need to do. This is called Naturalization.

  • You need to live in the UK for five years to be eligible to apply, and you also need one year being in Permanent Resident on Indefinite Leave to Remain status. (this is reduced to three years if your spouse is already a British citizen).
  • You need to prove that you can speak English.
  • You also need to take the Life in the UK test.
  • You need to pay the fees for Naturalization. You can read about all the fees in this document. As of 6 April 2013 the cost of a Naturalization £874 (£1550 for a joint application). If you are eligible for Registration it only cost £753

You also need to be in Good Character, so if you get convicted for any reason, you need to be in the country for a longer time to be eligible for citizenship, or be refused forever (if your conviction is for more than 4 years).

You can read more about getting a British Citizenship on the government's site.

  • This leaves out that generally you need to have had ILR for at least 12 months.
    – StrongBad
    Mar 13, 2014 at 11:26

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