In this post lost, we explain how to apply for a replacement naturalisation or registration certificate when an original naturalisation or registration certificate is lost, damaged or stolen.
What Is a Naturalisation or Registration Certificate?
Where there is no automatic claim to British citizenship, naturalisation and registration are the legal processes through which a child or an adult can become a British national.
If you are British through an automatic claim to British citizenship rather than through an application for naturalisation or registration, you should apply for a British passport.
A naturalisation or registration certificate contains the following information:
- Current name
- Previous name (if any)
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- British nationality, section and subsections of the relevant Nationality Act
- Home Office reference number
- Certificate number
- Date of registration or naturalisation
Naturalisation and registration certificates are valuable documents. They will not be accepted as evidence of citizenship for the issue of passports if they have been defaced in any way. This includes lamination in plastic covers.
If applying for a British passport, you are required to send your original naturalisation or registration certificate which shows your claim to citizenship and your personal details.
You can read more about the process of applying for a British passport following a successful citizenship application: here.
As we explored in the previous article, once you become a British citizen you must apply for a British passport in order to enter the UK in the event you leave. If you do not want a British passport you can apply for a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode instead.
As we identified in the earlier it is important that you plan when booking your citizenship ceremony as once you are British you cannot enter the UK using your BRP or evidence of your immigration status. The certificate of British citizenship you receive following the ceremony will not be sufficient either.
Lost or Damaged or Stolen Certificate
If you have lost your registration or naturalisation certificate, or it is damaged, you will need to notify the Home Office and apply to replace it.
If your certificate has been stolen you must report this to the police.
We will now consider the process for ordering a new citizenship certificate in the UK.
Process – Relevant Date
The process you will need to follow will depend on the date you became a British citizen.
I became a citizen on or before 30 September 1986
Unfortunately, you will not be able to get a replacement certificate from UK Visas & Immigration if you became British before October 1986. This is because UK Visas and Immigration do not retain records of grants of citizenship prior to October 1986.
If this applies to your circumstances you will need to search the National Archives and order a certified copy for a:
- registration certificate issued between 1 January 1949 and 30 September 1986
- naturalisation certificate issued between 1 January 1844 and 30 September 1986
If you are a Commonwealth citizen or hold another nationality and have been lawfully resident in the UK for a number of years but do not have the relevant documents to demonstrate your status, you may consider applying to UK Visas and Immigration for the necessary documentation for free. You may also be able to apply for British citizenship under the Windrush Scheme.
You should be contacted by the National Archive team via email or post with the results of the search within 10 working days. If the team finds the certificate they will provide the certificate number and explain how to order a copy.
At the time of writing standard copies take up to 24 working days to dispatch and certified copies take up to 16 working days to dispatch. The current fee is usually £27.15, plus postage and packing. It may vary depending on the length or format of the certificate.
It is always possible to visit the National Archives, view records for free and make copies.
I became a citizen after 30 September 1986
If you became a citizen after this date you can apply for a new certificate.
You will need to use the Form NC Application for Duplicate Citizenship Certificate.
If you are in the UK you can apply online.
If you are in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and British overseas territories you will need to apply in person or by post instead. You may need to check with your governor's office. If you live elsewhere, you can apply by post.
Applications with the payment slip and documents should be sent to the Lieutenant Governor if you are in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man or the Governor of the territory if you are in a British Overseas Territory.
At the time of writing, if you live elsewhere and want to apply by post applications with payment slip and documents should be sent to:
Department 102 UKVI
New Hall Place
Postal applications can take longer than those made online.
At the time of writing the fee is £250.
The form asks for various personal details as well as the date of registration or naturalisation. You are officially naturalised or registered from the date endorsed on your British nationality certificate.
You will need to consider if you have changed address since you became a citizen. If so, you must notify UKVI of your new address before submitting your application. You can do so using the link: here. Unless further information is required, your details should be updated within 72 hours of submitting the information online. If you do not do so, you will experience delay as it will not be possible to send the certificate to unverified addresses.
Correction of a Registration or Naturalisation Certificate
If there are errors on your registration or naturalisation certificate there is a different process for seeking amendment. You will need to complete Form RR Application for correction of a registration or naturalisation certificate. There is a fee of £250 if the mistake on your certificate was your fault. These applications are more complex and you may wish to seek legal advice before embarking on an application. The form requires you to provide evidence to show the details on the certificate are incorrect, provide an explanation as to why you have not requested an amendment until now, whether they are the same details as entered on your citizenship application form and if not, an explanation. Presentation of the application will depend on the circumstances and reasons for the error, as will any implications arising from the disclosure.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.