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Check if you can get citizenship if you’re from the EU

This advice applies to England

If you’re from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you might be eligible to apply for British citizenship. The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

You usually need one of the following:

  • ‘settled status’ from the EU Settlement Scheme
  • 'indefinite leave to remain' in the UK
  • a ‘permanent residence’ document - you can only use this to apply for citizenship if you apply before 31 December 2020

Your permanent residence document won’t be valid after 31 December 2020. You should either apply for citizenship or get settled status now to continue living and working in the UK.

To apply you usually need to wait 12 months after getting settled status or indefinite leave to remain. But you might not have to wait if your partner is a British citizen or you have a permanent residence document.

You also have to meet other eligibility requirements - exactly what you need depends on your situation. But if you’re 18 or over, you usually have to:

  • prove you can speak and understand English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • have passed the Life in the UK Test
  • have lived in the UK for the last 5 years (or less if your partner is British)

If your partner is a British citizen

You only have to have lived in the UK for the last 3 years if you’re the husband, wife or civil partner of a British citizen.

But you still need to have one of the following:

  • settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
  • a permanent residence document - if you apply before 31 December 2020
  • indefinite leave to remain

Check how to apply for citizenship as the partner of a British citizen on GOV.UK.

If you have 'settled status' or 'indefinite leave to remain'

Check how to apply for citizenship with settled status or indefinite leave to remain on GOV.UK.

If you have a ‘permanent residence’ document

Your permanent residence document won’t be valid after 31 December 2020. You should either apply for citizenship or get settled status now to continue living and working in the UK.  You can only use a permanent residence document to apply for citizenship if you apply before 31 December 2020.

Check the Home Office letter that came with your permanent residence document. It will tell you the date when you got permanent residence status - you can usually apply for citizenship 12 months after that date.

If that date is more than 12 months ago, you can usually apply immediately.

Check how to apply for citizenship with a permanent residence document on GOV.UK.

If your situation is different

You might be eligible for citizenship another way. Check if you’re eligible on GOV.UK.

Other ways to stay in the UK after Brexit

Check if citizenship is right for you before you apply. It usually costs more than £1,300. You also don’t need it to live and work in the UK if you already have settled status, indefinite leave to remain or Irish citizenship.

Find out if you can apply for settled status instead of citizenship, to keep living and working in the UK after it leaves the EU. It’s free to apply and usually easy to get. You should apply by 31 December 2020 - your rights could change after that date. 

Check if your family can apply for citizenship

Your partner, family and children all have to make separate applications if they want to become British citizens. You can’t add them to your application.

Check eligibility for your non-EU partner or family

If your partner or family members are not from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, they could still be eligible for citizenship.

They might be eligible if they’ve had one of the following for at least 12 months:

  • settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
  • a permanent residence document - if they apply before 31 December 2020
  • indefinite leave to remain

They could also be eligible another way - for example, if they have a British parent or they were born in the UK.

Check citizenship eligibility for your partner or family members on GOV.UK.

Check eligibility for your children

Your child might already be British if they were born in the UK. If not, they might be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Your child might automatically be British if either:

  • one of their parents was British when they were born
  • they were born in the UK, and one parent had indefinite leave to remain, permanent residence or settled status when they were born

Check your child’s specific situation - there are some situations when children will not automatically get citizenship. GOV.UK has information about citizenship if you're born in the UK or have a British parent.

If your child is already British, they don’t need to apply for citizenship - check how to get a British passport for your child on GOV.UK.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you don’t have a permanent residence document and need help proving your permanent residence status for a child’s passport.

Applying if your child was born in the UK

Your child is usually eligible for citizenship if either:

Applying if your child was born outside the UK

Your child might be eligible for citizenship if they’re under 18 and they were born outside the UK - but it depends on your situation.

It also depends on the situation of your child’s other parent - unless you’re a single parent and both:

  • divorced or separated from the child’s other parent
  • your child doesn’t have ongoing contact with their other parent

If you’re applying for citizenship

Your child can apply at the same time as you. If your application is successful, they’ll usually be eligible for citizenship if their other parent either:

  • is already British
  • already has indefinite leave to remain or settled status (or permanent residence if your child applies before 31 December 2020)

If you’re not applying for citizenship

Your child might still be eligible for citizenship. But you and your child’s other parent must in one of these 2 situations:

  • you’re both British already
  • one of you is British, and the other has indefinite leave to remain or settled status (or permanent residence if your child applies before 31 December 2020)

Applying for your child

You can apply online or on a paper form for your child - it costs £1,012. It’s important to read the guide before you apply.

If your child is over 18

Your child will usually need to apply as an adult. Check if they’re eligible for citizenship on GOV.UK.

But they might be able to apply an easier way if they were born in the UK and lived there until they were 10.

If you’re pregnant

Consider applying for settled status now, if you don’t already have it - your baby will automatically become a British citizen if both:

  • your application is successful before you give birth
  • your baby is born in the UK
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