Intent to live in the UK permanently

Anyone who applies for British naturalisation under BNA 1981 Section 6(1) has to prove his intention to make UK his future principal home. If the Home Office is not satisfied of the applicants intentions the application will be refused.

Home Office usually assumes that you will stay for good in the UK if you meet the permitted absences limit. However, if there is a doubt, Home Office may look at additional circumstances and evidence.

Situations which will trigger doubt with Home Office include:

  • a partner who is living, or who intends to live, outside the UK
  • a recent absence from the UK for a period of 6 months or more

In the above circumstances you may be refused naturalisation or asked to provide additional evidence.

If in the application you inform Home Office that at the time of application you are living abroad or intend to live abroad for a period longer than 6 months the application wil be refused.

Situations when an application for UK naturalisation will be accepted – applicant has:

  • meet the residence requirements, without the need to exercise any discretion over excess absences other than up to 30 days
  • have an established home here
  • have been, or intend to be, absent from the UK for not more than 6 months
  • the absence was, or will be, clearly temporary
  • if it is an intended absence, we are satisfied they intend to return to the UK
  • they have maintained an established home here where any close family who have not accompanied them abroad have continued to live
  • there is no information to cast doubt on their intention, for example, either:
    o a partner who is or intends to live outside of the UK
    o a recent absence from the UK for a period of 6 months or more

Discretion in naturalisation applications

When caseworker exercises discretion towards applicant, for example for excess absences, he needs to check for evidence of future plans. He wants to be sure that the applicant has an established residence, family and a substantial proportion of any estate in the UK.

Two factors will be crucial for the Home Office.

  • applicant or their partner owns property abroad
  • applicant’s family live abroad, either in the family home or elsewhere

If any of the above occurs and the applicant can’t satisfactorily explain them to the caseworker, the application will be refused.

HMRC status and naturalisation application

Some applicants may be domiciled abroad for the tax purposes or be considered as such by HMRC. In such cases Home Office may ask applicant’s permission to contact HMRC. Then the Home Office will ask for a copy of the applicant’s completed ‘Domicile Enquiry’ questionnaire, which may throw some light on future intentions. If the applicant refuses permission to contact his application will be refused.

Spouse and future home requirement in naturalisation application

It is not neccessary for the spouse to apply for naturalisation at the same time as the applicant. Nevertheless, it casts doubts on the application merits from the future home requirement perspective. Thus the applicant has to explain what are his partner’s future intentions. If one of the below circumstances applies the naturalisation application should be granted:

  • the couple are separated
  • the spouse or partner has applied for, and is awaiting, an entry clearance
  • you are otherwise satisfied that the spouse or partner intends to join the applicant here
  • it is clear the couple are content to live apart for the foreseeable future

However, if the applicant maintains, or intends shortly to maintain, their principal residence abroad, spends substantial periods with their spouse or partner and children abroad, the application should normally be refused.

Applicants with no principal home

In some rare cases people are unable to maintain principal home in the conventional sense. In such situations Home Office makes enquiries concerning:

  • their position under UK tax law
  • what, if any, property they own here
  • what personal connections they may have with the UK
  • the length of time they spend in the UK each year
  • the extent to which they identify themselves with the UK

If there is evidence that they:

  • are domiciled in the UK for tax
  • spend a reasonable period of time in the UK other than when working in the UK
  • have some personal connections in the UK

They may be granted their naturalisation application.

More information about the process on the Home Office website.