I am a non-EU national, married to a non-EU national. I have a Tier 2 visa. Is it necessary for me to have an Indefinite Leave to Remain in order to apply for a British citizenship?
Based on the government's site:
And you must usually have:
- been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national) - this means there’s no specific date that you have to leave
- had indefinite leave to stay in the UK for the last 12 months (or permanent residence if you’re an EEA national)
So, yes, you'll need to have an ILR for at least one year before you can apply for naturalization. As usually you can only get the IRL after 5 years of being in the country on a Tier 2 visa, you'll have to wait 6 years from your time of arrival to get the citizenship.
Note that this also applies to EU citizens, as they need to have Permanent Residence for at least one year, and they get permanent residence (automatically) after being in the country for 5 years, so the earliest they can apply is after 6 years.
The only exception is for this one year extra rule, if your spouse is already a British citizen, in which case you would still need to have ILR or Permanent Residence, but you can apply straight after getting these statuses, and not need to wait extra for one year.