Naturalisation is not an entitlement and a decision can only be made to grant citizenship if you can demonstrate that you satisfy the legal requirements and the Home Secretary thinks fit.
The legal requirements you should meet before you are apply are that you:
1. Are aged 18 or over when you apply
2. Are of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking
3. Intend to continue to live in the UK, or to enter or continue in Crown Service, the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member or the service of a company or association established in the UK
4. Can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable degree
5. Have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK (this requirement will apply to all applications received by the Home Office on or after 1 November 2005
6. Are of good character
7. Have lived legally in the UK for a minimum of five years, before you apply (three years if you are applying on the basis of marriage to a British citizen) and are free from immigration time restrictions.
The wife or husband of a British citizen may apply for naturalisation after living in the United Kingdom legally for three years. The applicant's stay must not be subject to any time limit on the date of application; the applicant must be 18 or over and not of unsound mind, and must have sufficient knowledge of the language but does not need to intend to live in the United Kingdom once naturalised. He or she must be of good character, however.
To meet these residence requirements, you must not be absent from the United Kingdom for more than 450 days over the 5-year period, or for more than 270 days over the 3-year period. In each case, you must not be absent for more than 90 days in the last year of the period.
N.B. You can include your children in your application.
What should I consider first before making the application?
If you make an application without first obtaining permission from the South African Home Affairs, then you could lose your South African Citizenship. You must therefore decide whether you wish to retain your South African Citizenship, or whether you wish to renounce it.
A South African Citizen by birth or decent in respect of whom a declaration of renunciation is registered shall cease to be a South African citizen but will retain his or her right of permanent residence.
REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICATION FOR RENUNCIATION
Â• Application forms BI-246 x 2 must be completed. For legal reasons, this form cannot be downloaded. Send an A4 stamped self address envelope to: The Consul, South African High Commission, Home Affairs Consular Section, 15 Whitehall, SW1A 2DD to obtain the form or alliteratively, forms can be collected during our opening hours.
Â• Application forms BI-529 must be fully completed
Â• Certified copies of passport.
Â• Letter of motivation confirming reasons for renunciation
RETENTION OF SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENSHIP (SECTION 6(2) OF SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENSHIP ACT, 1995
WHAT IS RETENTION OF SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENSHIP AND UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS MAY AN CLIENT APPLY
Â• Clients 18 years and older who intend applying for foreign citizenship, but who do not want to lose their South African Citizenship must first apply for retention of South African Citizenship. Failure to do this will result in the client losing his South African citizenship when he/she acquires foreign citizenship.
Â• Persons under the age of 18 years do not need to apply for retention of their South African Citizenship, as they will not loose their citizenship whilst still minors.
REQUIREMENT FOR AN APPLICATION FOR RETENTION OF SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENSHIP (SECTION 6(2): SOUTH AFRICAN AS ACT, 1995)
Â• All application forms to be completed in black ink
Â• Form BI-1664 to be fully completed
Â• Form BI-529 must be fully completed.
Â• Certified copies of your current passport (only bio-data page and UK residence visa page need to be certified).
Â• A recently dated letter (under 3 months old) from the British Nationality Division confirming that you have not yet acquired British Citizenship.
Â• The address of the British Nationality Division is; 3 Floor, India Building, Water Street, Liverpool, L2 OQN. If you write off to them, requesting the above mentioned letter, then they will forward it to you.
Once you have successfully applied for retention of your South African Citizenship and received the confirmation letter, then you will need to make an application to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/ind/en/home/0.html?
of the Home Office for your British Citizenship. The fees are as follows:
Naturalisation Â£268 (includes ceremony fee)
Naturalisation Joint 6(1) -Â£336 (includes two separate ceremony fees)
Minor Registration(s) - Â£200 (Single/Multiple Applications)
If you are applying for naturalisation on or after 1 November 2005 you will need to prove knowledge of life in the UK as well as your English language ability
. There will be two ways in which you can do this.
If you are already at or above ESOL (English for Speakers of other languages) Entry 3 standard of English you will be able to undertake a specially developed short test called "Life in the UK Test".
Exemption from meeting the language and knowledge of life in the UK requirements - age and infirmity.
It is possible to waive the language and knowledge of life in the UK requirement where it would be unreasonable to expect the applicant to fulfil it because of age or physical or mental condition. This would normally be done in cases where the applicant is aged 65 or over.
The grounds for exemption of younger people need to be compelling, such as where the applicant:
i. is suffering from a long term illness or disability which severely restricts mobility and ability to attend language classes; or
ii. has a mental impairment which means that they are unable to learn another language.
Life in the UK Test
You may take this test if your language ability is the equivalent of ESOL Entry 3 or above. You will need to take the test on a computer at one of the Life in the UK Test centres in the UK. The test will consist of 24 questions based on the information contained in the handbook "Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship. The handbook is available from The Stationery Office and is priced at Â£9.99. The book can be ordered online from: http://www.tso.co.uk/bookshop
. The test itself will cost you Â£34 and you will be told the result on the day.
Further details can be found in the Question and Answers below and on www.lifeintheuktest.gov.uk
. This website also contains a full list of centres where you can take the test. Or you can call the Life in the UK Test helpline on 0800 015 4245.
You will get a letter which proves you have been successful. It is called your pass notification letter. It needs to be kept safe and to be attached to the completed citizenship application form when you send it to the Home Office. As confirmation, the test centre will also notify the Home Office of all results electronically.
For further info please see http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/ind...h_effect.html?
Once you have done this, you will need to fill in the application form
, this and the guidance notes can be downloaded here http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/ind...20AN%20New.pdf
Or you can call the Application Forms Unit 0870 241 0645 to have them posted to you.
Then next, you have to go to a Citizenship ceremony
more info is available here http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/bri..._ceremony.html
And lastly, after your ceremony
, the local authority will inform the Home Office of your attendance. You are then eligible to apply for a British passport which can be done here. http://www.ukps.gov.uk/
Naturally, I have made this specific to South African citizens living in the U.K. I may also not have covered every angle. If you have any further questions, then please ask.