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 good character, e.g you don’t have a serious or recent criminal record, and you haven’t tried to deceive the Home Office or been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years;
you’ll continue to live in the UK;
you’ve met the knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements;
you meet the residency requirement.
You may automatically qualify as a British citizen, depending on where and when you were born, and your parents’ circumstances.
Some people can ‘register’ as a British citizen.
Registering as a British citizen is usually simpler than becoming naturalised, but you must be eligible. You may be eligible if:
you have another form of British nationality;
you were born before 1 January 1983 to a British mother;
you were born to a British father, even if he was not married to your mother;
you were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983;
you’re under 18 and don’t fit into the other categories;
you have a connection with Gibraltar or Hong Kong;
You may be able to apply for your child (under 18 years of age) to be registered as a British citizen, for example if you’re a British citizen but your child was born or adopted outside the UK.
We also offer advice on British citizenship applications for EEA and Swiss citizens. An EEA or Swiss citizen may apply for naturalisation if he or she can prove that they have a right of permanent residence in the UK and satisfies additional rules.