A certificate of naturalisation is a document issued to an individual to show proof and evidence that they are a British citizen.

The naturalisation certificate can be used when applying for a British passport and other general identification reasons required for British nationality.

However, strict rules apply when applying for a naturalisation certificate for British citizenship.

Naturalisation certificates prove that you have obtained citizenship in the UK through naturalisation.

Naturalisation is the process by which an individual who was not born in the UK voluntarily becomes a UK citizen. It is the most common way for a foreign national to attain British nationality.

This is a legal process authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. [1]

Many people have achieved British nationality through this process.

Requirements for naturalisation

To become a British citizen through naturalisation, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be 18 years and over.
  • Must be of sound mind.
  • Must be intending to live in the UK permanently.
  • Must be willing to continue in the Crown Service.
  • Must serve in an international organisation of which the UK is a member.
  • Must serve for a company that is associated with the UK.
  • Must have sufficient knowledge of the English language, Scottish Gaelic language or Welsh language.
  • Must have sufficient knowledge of the UK.
  • Must meet the residential requirements.

How successful is the process?

The process of attaining naturalisation certificates is pretty successful for applicants that meet the criteria of being a British citizen.

It can also be used by individuals who have lost or damaged their citizenship certificate and would like a Duplicate Citizenship Certificate.[2]

This is done online through the national archives website.

However, please note that you are only allowed to request a duplicate certificate if you were naturalised or registered after October 1986. This is because the UK Visas and Immigration office does not keep records before that time.

The successful applicants are granted the same legal rights and status as natural-born British citizens.

Before 1844, only the act of parliament was responsible for granting naturalisation certificates. This process was quite costly, and only a few individuals could afford it. However, this changed after 1844. Since then, the Home Office has been responsible for granting naturalisation.

The British citizenship nationality act

The British Nationality Act of 1981 makes it possible for persons from non-UK countries to send their applications for acquired British citizenship. [3]

Interested persons can apply for a British nationality, which the UK Border Agency grants.

The naturalisation certificate is given when the applicants meet the UK government’s set standards.

The certificate issuance grants the applicant the same rights and status as the individual born a British national and allows them to apply for a British passport.

What information is included in the registration certificate issued?

There is a standard format that the certificate of naturalisation must follow. It should display information about the foreign nationals who have been awarded the British nationality, as follows:

  • Names in full.
  • Birth names (in case it differs)
  • Place and nation of birth
  • Date of Birth
  • Number of References
  • Number of Certificates
  • Issue Date

Please make sure that you confirm the information on the original certificate when you are being issued with the document, as the UK government is known to charge fees for issuing replacement registration and certifications and amending documents.

What is a certificate of naturalisation (Example)
What is a certificate of naturalisation (Example)

Image credit: apostillelondon.com

Apostille certificate for naturalisation

It is possible to have your naturalisation certificate apostilled.

An apostille from the UK is required for anyone who attained British citizenship through naturalisation and would like to use the certificate in a different country.

It can also be necessary when making a passport application in a different country other than the UK.

The foreign authorities and other organisations request the apostille certificate to ascertain its authenticity and use it for official purposes.

You are entitled to this service as a British national, and the apostille contains a raised seal. It also has a serial number that validates that it is authentic.

Naturalisation certificate vs Registration certificate

Acquiring a UK citizenship determines whether you will receive a naturalisation certificate or a registration certificate.

You will be issued a British certificate of naturalisation if you receive British citizenship through naturalisation.

Similarly, you will be issued a registration certificate if you gain British citizenship through registration.

Previously, certificates of registration were given to nationals within the European Union, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, as well as Liechtenstein (EEA). [5]

However, these registration certificates are not valid anymore. Therefore, the EEA nationals and EU citizens should apply for another form of permission to be allowed residence in the United Kingdom.

A good example is a settled or pre-settled status via EU settlement Scheme (i.e. EUSS). This is only applicable to individuals residing in Great Britain before 2020.

If you apply to EUSS, you must have reasonable grounds to apply (for example, if you were sick or a survivor of domestic violence).

Lost or stolen naturalisation certificate

You will have to alert the Home Office if you lost your naturalisation certificate or believe that it might appear to be stolen or contain incorrect information.

Informing the police of your stolen certificate of naturalisation is also highly encouraged.

To request a naturalisation certificate replacement if it is lost or stolen, you will be expected to do the following:

  • First, fill out the online application form 2 with your personal details.
  • If the mistake were your fault, you would be required to raise a fee amounting to £250 (but the UKVI shall advise you on how to go about it in writing)

Anyone who obtained UK citizenship before the 30th of September 1986 can request a certified copy of their naturalisation certificate from the National Archives.

Here’s how you can acquire a copy of your certificate of naturalisation

To send an application for a citizenship certificate (duplicate), one has to fill out a form NC online.

As already stated above, those who were naturalised any time before the 30th of September 1986 will have to send their application to the office of the National Archives.

Where is the British naturalisation certificate number located?

The naturalisation certificate number can be found at the bottom end of the certificate on the left side of the issue date and slightly above the number of references.

Where is the British naturalisation certificate reference number located?

The naturalisation certificate has a specific reference number present in your letter from the Home Office. This number is indicated on the bottom side of the certificate to the left side of the date. The number of references is found below the number of certificates.

This article has been written by experts and fact-checked by experts. We only link to high-quality sources like government information & data, original reporting and interviews with industry experts. Reputable publishers are also sourced and cited where appropriate to support the facts within our articles.

[1] Solicitors Regulation Authority

[2] Duplicate Citizenship Certificate

[3] British Nationality Act 1948

[4] The European Economic Area (EEA)