First things first: the rules and processes keep changing, so don’t rely on anything I’ve said here to apply in future.
At long last, the time has come for me to apply for British citizenship.
It’s a bit hard for me to believe that I’ve been here for over three years, as it has really flown by. I can honestly say that this really is home for me now.
It seems that the best way for me to approach this whole process is by using the Nationality Checking Service (NCS), a locally provided service in which a counselor will review and submit the application for you. A key benefit is that they will review and copy your documents, so you may take your passport and other key documents home with you, rather than needing to submit the originals as part of the application. The originals may be requested during the process, but generally, the signed off copies suffice.
The application itself is quite straightforward. The only difficult bit was the section where one must note every departure and arrival from the UK to determine how many days one has spent outside of the UK. I realize this sounds easy, but as I didn’t pull a copy of my calendar from work since mid 2009 and some passport stampers didn’t stamp so well.
During the appointment, my counselor reviewed my application and supporting documentation. In my case, I am applying as the spouse of a British citizen, so I needed to provide my passport, my spouse’s passport, our marriage certificate, and evidence that I passed my Life in the UK exam. I also made payment for my application, and received the tracking number for my application, which would be submitted by NCS with the photocopies.
The entire process may take up to three months, but in most cases like mine, it’s less than two. When the application is processed, I will receive a letter in the mail inviting me to my citizenship ceremony, complete with tea!