UK Certificate of Naturalization: Applying for British Citizenship

Created: Oct 16, 2019 | Updated: Sep 22, 2020

If you’re reading this then it’s likely that you’re already in the process of applying for British Citizenship, or will be applying for your Citizenship very soon. Your UK naturalisation application can be a complex and confusing process, with many different application options depending on your circumstances. One part which shouldn’t be a headache is knowing which documents you’ll need to provide as part of your application, and whether or not they need to be translated.

In this article we’re going to look at the following:

  • General information about UK naturalisation applications;
  • The UK naturalisation applications that may require translations;
  • Naturalisation documents you may need and their translation requirements;
  • How to translate your document for a UK naturalisation application.

By the end of this article you’ll know which of your documents will need translated and how to have them professionally translated.

General Information

UK Naturalisation is the legal process of becoming a British citizen when you’re already a registered citizen of another country. Many people who aren’t British citizens will become a British citizen by naturalisation after settling in the UK. As is the case with many government applications, there are several different ways to become a British citizen through naturalisation.

Surprisingly, being born in the UK does not automatically grant you British citizenship. There are a number of factors that determine your potential citizenship, such as your country of birth, year of birth and parents’ citizenship status. If you don’t already know, you can find out whether or not you are a British citizen here

The criteria in the naturalisation process has changed and developed over time. That being said, the result of naturalisation remains the same: after a successful application, the applicant is granted the same legal rights and status as natural-born British citizens.


UK Naturalisation Overview

There are many different ways that you can apply for British citizenship through naturalisation. These different types of application all depend on your personal circumstances. The three most common types of application (below) all focus on people that have moved to the UK, such as:

  • Your partner (through marriage or civil partnership) is a British citizen;
  • You already have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or ‘Settled Status’;
  • You have permanent residence.

There are other ways to apply for British citizenship, but these aren’t typically UK citizenship applications through naturalisation. Some of these applications could include having a British parent, having another form of British nationality, having previously renounced your British citizenship, being a Commonwealth citizen and more. 

As part of each application you’ll need to submit different documents to show evidence of your nationality, English proficiency and travel history, to name a few. We aren’t going to discuss the exact requirements of every single naturalisation application. Instead, we’ll detail the criteria for a few UK naturalisation applications and discuss the common documents you can expect to require translation.


Your Partner is a British Citizen

One of the most common ways to apply for UK citizenship by naturalisation is to do so with your partner. Your partner, either through marriage or civil partnership, must be a British citizen. You can read about all of the specific application requirements on the UK Government website. One of the most important requirements of this application is that you have lived in the UK for at least 3 years and have a permanent residence or settled status.

Among other information you will need as part of your application, perhaps the most obvious document you must provide is your marriage or civil partnership certificate. If you married abroad, or if the marriage certificate is written in a foreign language, you will need to have it translated.

You will also need to prove your knowledge of the “English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic” languages. If you have an accepted certificate of your English-speaking ability but it is presented in a foreign language, again you will need to have it translated. We’ll discuss the evidence of your English-language abilities in more detail later.


You Have ILR or Settled Status

You could also be applying for UK citizenship by naturalisation if you have already had the following for 12 months:

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK;
  • ‘settled status’ (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’);
  • indefinite leave to enter the UK (permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad).

You must also show evidence that you have lived in the UK for 5 years before you begin your application. Again, you will need to show evidence of your proficiency with the English language.


You Have Permanent Residence

Another popular way to apply for UK citizenship by naturalisation is with a permanent residence. If you or any of your family members are from a country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you will automatically get permanent residence after living in the United Kingdom for 5 years. 

Once you have your permanent residence document, you will be able to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation. To receive your full permanent residence, you will need to submit your birth certificate. If your birth certificate isn’t presented in English, then it will need to be officially translated in to English.

There are many different types of applications for British citizenship by naturalisation and they can quickly become very complicated. We have listed the most popular and straightforward applications.


Certificate of Naturalization (UK) Requirements


Common document requirements

Again, we’re going to focus on the most common documents you can expect to submit as part of your UK citizenship by getting a certificate of naturalization.

Your marriage or civil partnership certificate is essential if you are applying when your partner is a British citizen. This needs to be presented in English. If you married abroad, then it’s very likely that your marriage certificate is scribed in a foreign language.

In some cases, you will also need to submit your birth certificate. This only tends to be necessary when your application is more complex. For instance, if you’re applying for your permanent residence document and were born in an EEA country, you will need to submit your birth certificate and perhaps even the birth certificates of family members. If family members are British citizens through a connection with overseas territories present or past (for example, Hong Kong or Gibraltar), then you may need to submit your birth certificate and the birth certificates of family members too. Like marriage and civil partnership certificates, these must be presented in English.

With almost every type of UK citizenship application, you will be required to prove your command of the English language. There are a few ways to do this.

The most obvious way to prove your English-speaking ability is to obtain a suitable qualification within the United Kingdom. However, that isn’t always possible. You may have studied the English language when you lived in a foreign country. That qualification is likely to be in a foreign language, and will need to be translated in to English in order for you to use it.

You may have also studied a degree in the English language, and this complicates your application even further. If you studied in English but your university is not in the UK, then you will need:

  • a copy of your degree certificate;
  • an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from UK NARIC confirming the degree is equivalent to a UK qualification.

If your degree certificate is not in English, then you’ll need to have this officially translated. And, if your university is in a non-majority English-speaking country, you’ll need an English Language Proficiency Statement (ELPS) from UK NARIC confirming that your degree was taught in English. We told you it can get complicated!

To summarise, here are the most common documents that you may need to translate:

  • marriage certificate;
  • civil partnership certificate;
  • birth certificate;
  • degree certificate;
  • English-language certificate.


Translations for a Certificate of Naturalization in the UK


Translation requirements

Every document that you submit as part of a UK government application must meet strict translation criteria. If your document isn’t in English, then you must have your document officially translated. That official translation must include:

  • confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the translator’s full name and signature
  • the translator’s contact details.

If the translated document does not include all of the above information, it will not be accepted and your whole application may get delayed.


Translator Requirements

You may obtain an official translation for your UK Naturalisation Application in one of three ways:

  1. Use a translator that’s a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) or the Chartered Institute of Linguistics (CIoL).
  2. Use a UK based translation agency that’s a member of the Association of Translation Companies
  3. Use an official translator in your home country.

Translayte is a member of the Association of Translation Companies and can produce Certified Translations that are accepted by the Home Office for Naturalisation Applications.


Can I Translate My Own Documents?

Many people applying for UK citizenship by naturalisation will have lived in the UK for at least 3 years and have a firm grasp of the English language. Unfortunately, this still doesn’t qualify you for translating your own documentation.

Unless you happen to be a member of the ITI or CIoL and are therefore fully approved to translate documents to an accepted and official standard, your translation may not be acceptable.


Where to Find a Certified Translator

At Translayte, we translate your document to the accepted UK standard. More often than not, we can even translate your document within 12 hours. Our extensive network of certified translators can translate your document from over 130 different languages into UK English, on time and to a high quality standard.

We are also a Member of the Association of Translation Companies and therefore our work is guaranteed to be accepted as part of your UK citizenship application. If you’ve done your homework and want to double-check that our documents contained all of the required information, then have a look at an example of our certified documents here.

If you’re preparing your UK Citizenship application and require a certified translation of one or more documents, place an order with us for your certified translation

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