Scottish Citizenship Requirements

Written by diane hill
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Scottish Citizenship Requirements
Scottish residents are British citizens. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom together with England, Wales and Northern Ireland and has no individual citizenship. Scottish residents have British citizenship and the same rights as all British citizens. Foreign residents of Scotland seeking citizenship must follow the process for obtaining British citizenship through the UK Border Agency's Home Office.

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British Citizenship

The U.K. has many territories and protectorates and British citizenship has many forms. British citizens, British overseas citizens, British overseas territory citizens, British protected persons and British subjects all have varying levels of rights to live and work in the U.K. British citizens have full benefits and rights to live and work in Scotland. British citizenship can be obtained if you were born in the U.K., you are the child of a person with British citizenship or you apply to be a naturalised citizen. Naturalisation can be obtained by persons 18 and older through military service, legal immigration and marriage.

Residency Requirement

Foreign nationals legally residing in any part of the United Kingdom, including Scotland, for more than five years may apply for naturalisation and become British citizens. Applicants must show that they have been living in the U.K. consistently, spending no more than 450 days outside of the U.K. during the five-year residential qualifying period. During the last year of the qualifying period the applicant must not have spent more than 90 days outside the U.K. If the applicant is married to a U.K. citizen the residency requirement is reduced to three years.

Good Character Requirement

Applicants for British citizenship have to demonstrate good character and must pass financial and criminal background checks. The financial background check determines whether or not the applicant pays income taxes and contributions to National Insurance. The criminal background check determines any criminal conviction, involvement in acts of terrorism, war crimes or genocide. The applicant must disclose all information about past criminal behaviour or convictions. Most applicants who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to more than 30 months will be denied citizenship. Applicants with spent convictions, when the offender has served the full sentence and gone through the rehabilitation period, of less than 30 months are still eligible for citizenship.

UK Knowledge and Language Requirement

Applicants must be fluent in English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh and must prove sufficient knowledge of the United Kingdom by passing the Life in the UK test. If an applicant does not speak one of the three languages they are required to take the English for Speakers of Other Languages and citizenship course. Successful completion of this course exempts the applicant from the Life in the UK test. Applicants from other English speaking countries are exempt from the English test as well as applicants 65 or older and applicants with a long-term physical condition that prevents them from taking the test. Exemptions are given on an individual basis.

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