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Can I get a British passport without citizenship?

In most cases, you cannot get a British passport without holding citizenship as it is a prerequisite of applying for a passport.

The rules about British passport and citizenship are complex and can require the support of a qualified immigration lawyer.

Speak to an OISC qualified immigration solicitor today on  0161 826 9783 for support with any UK visa, passport application, or if you need help to apply for British citizenship. We are available to speak over the phone or via online video call.

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    Do you need to have British citizenship to get a passport?

    In almost all circumstances, you must first hold British citizenship if you want to get a British passport.

    However, there are some circumstances whereby even British citizens may have their passport application denied or confiscated. This includes the following reasons:

    • You are suspected of a serious crime and an arrest warrant has been issued for your arrest
    • You have been ordered by a court to have your passport confiscated and your travel restricted
    • You are on bail and your conditions include a stipulation that you cannot leave the UK
    • You have previously been repatriated to the UK and failed to pay the cost
    • You have been issued an order by the EU or UN which restricts your travel

    It is important to remember that, under the immigration rules, a passport belongs to the UK government, not the individual and it may be cancelled or withdrawn at any time.

    People can become a British citizen automatically, or by naturalisation. These routes are outlined in more detail below.

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    How to get a British passport

    There are a number of ways to apply for a British passport. The first and most important consideration is to ensure that you meet the citizenship and nationality requirement.

    Below are the steps to getting a British passport:

    1. Check whether you are a British citizen/ that you qualify for citizenship
    2. Register as a British citizen or become a British citizen (where relevant)
    3. If necessary, submit your British citizenship application
    4. Wait for a decision and attend your citizenship ceremony
    5. Prepare your passport application with your new citizenship status
    6. Get a passport photo, gather your supporting documents, and pay for your passport
    7. You may need someone to confirm your identity
    8. Wait for a decision to be issued
    9. Receive your passport

    Do I qualify for a British passport?

    To find out if you qualify for a British passport, you can check online whether you are eligible to apply for British citizenship.

    Reasons why you could qualify include:

    • Some circumstances of being born in the UK
    • Being married to a British citizen (if you hold indefinite leave to remain or settled status)
    • Holding settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
    • Holding permanent residence status
    • If you have a British parent
    • If you have another form of British nationality
    • If you are stateless
    • If you have previously renounced your citizenship

    If you are not currently a British citizen, you may be able to register as a British citizen or become a citizen by naturalisation (usually after a period of time having been settled in the UK).

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      How long does it take to get a British passport after citizenship?

      Depending on a number of circumstances, you can expect to wait up to ten weeks for your passport to be issued after receiving your naturalisation certificate confirming that you are a British citizen.

      If your application to obtain citizenship is approved, you will be given a list of dates when you can attend your citizenship ceremony (which is required by law).

      After this ceremony, you can apply for a UK passport and the application process typically takes up to ten weeks.

      Please note that it is faster and cheaper to apply online than visa post.

      If you later apply to renew before your passport expires, you can expect a quicker waiting time.

      Can my child get a British passport if they were born in the UK?

      In some cases, your child will automatically be entitled to British citizenship (and therefore a British passport) if they were born in the UK.

      This will be the case if the following circumstances apply:

      • If the child was born to British parents (or Irish parents living in the UK)
      • If the child was born to a British overseas citizen
      • If one of the child’s parents was a citizen of an EU/EEA country who was living in the UK and held ILR or another form of settled status
      • If the child’s parents held ILR, right to re-admission or right of above
      • If one of the parents was a member of the UK’s armed forces and the child was born after 2010
      • If the child’s parents were exempt from immigration control at the time of the child’s birth

      If your child was born in the UK but will not automatically qualify for citizenship, you may be required to register them as a citizen so that they will acquire British citizenship receive a UK passport.

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