What does it cost to become a UK citizen?

UK Foreign Office Logo

UK Foreign Office Logo

One of the things I took into consideration before moving to the UK was the cost of becoming a citizen. This is obviously a long-term consideration, but when I make a decision, I’m in it for the long-haul. I realize that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) offers a number of different visa types and variations – all with different fee schemes, and is also known for raising their fees every few years.  So this breakdown is only going to be accurate for my particular circumstances (Tier 1 Visa – General), but will give other working professionals (All Tier 1s and Tier 2s, except the Tier 1 Entrepreneurs) a rough estimate of the fees and time required to become a citizen of the UK:

[Costs Updated in Nov 2015]

Date Description Cost (GBP) Cost (USD)*
Nov. 2010 Initial Tier 1 Visa Application £1,200.00** $1,860.00
Nov. 2010 Finger Printing and Retina Scans £30.00** $46.50
Oct. 2012 Tier 1 Visa Renewal Application £1,545.00 $2,394.75
Oct. 2012 Biometric Residence Permit £19.30 $29.92
Nov. 2015 SET(0) Permission to Settle in the UK (aka “Indefinite Leave to Remain”) Application £1,500.00 $2,325.00
Nov. 2015 Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK Test £50.00 $77.50
Nov. 2016 Citizenship Application £1005.00 $1,557.75
 TOTAL £5,349.30 $8,291.42

* £1.00 GBP = $1.55 USD

** Rounded (I couldn’t track down the exact figures)

As you can see it costs over £5,000 over 6-years to become a citizen.

What does UK citizenship get you?

A lot of folks, especially Americans, ask me why I would even want citizenship from another country.  My answer is simple: opportunity. Citizenship is more than just a passport.  As a citizen, I would be able to vote, be able to qualify for better home loans (interest rates are a little higher for non-permanent residents), and enjoy the freedom of movement provided by the EU/European Economic Area (EEA).  This allows EU/EEA citizens to live and work in other EU/EEA countries. Even if I don’t end up working in continental Europe, with a UK passport there would be nothing stopping me from enjoying a blissful 4-months in the South of France***.

So the question really is whether or not this opportunity is worth £5,500.  For me, it is.

*** US Citizens can only visit the EU for 2 non-consecutive periods of 90-days within a 12-month period.

5 Responses

  1. Elizabeth 4 September, 2013 / 8:51 pm

    I’m just starting this trek. I am a 30 something year old American who will be attending school in Glasgow (I was accepted to schools in London but who can afford that!).

    Tier 4 student visa is $498

    Hopefully I can roll off to a Tier 2 work visa later.

    • Cheylene 5 September, 2013 / 8:36 am

      Thanks for sharing Elizabeth! Going to university is probably the best path to take for Americans to want to move to England these days. Tier 2 jobs are easier to find once you’re in the country and you network around. Let me know how to you like Glasgow and good luck to you!

  2. priyanka 5 September, 2014 / 11:05 pm

    Hi Cheylene, Thank you for sharing valuable information. it is very clear.

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