Naturalisation. Residence requirements. Free from immigration time restrictions
If you apply to naturalise as a British citizen, you must satisfy the residence requirements. One of these requirements is that you were not at any time in the period of 12 months ending with the date of the application subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on the period for which you might remain in the UK.
What does it mean? It means that, at the date of the application for naturalisation, you either have the right of abode in the UK (you are allowed to live or work in the UK without any restrictions), or you are outside the UK (unless you apply from abroad with the purpose of circumventing this requirement), or you are Irish, but usually it means that you have indefinite leave to enter (ILE) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK (settled status, if you are a Swiss or an EEA national who applied under the EU Settlement Scheme). It means, in other words, that if you have limited leave to remain (or pre-settled status if you are a Swiss or a non-Irish EEA national), you cannot apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
It also means that at the date of your application for citizenship you must be sure that there is more than a year since you have been granted ILR or settled status. If you apply for naturalisation as a British citizen earlier than that, your application may be refused, unless you are married to a British citizen, or if, despite not being married to a British citizen, you meet all the other requirements, have strong links with the UK through having established your home, property and family here, there are compelling business or compassionate reasons to justify granting of citizenship without delay, or there are other exceptionally compelling circumstances.
If you want to apply for British citizenship or for a British passport and need specialist advice, feel free to contact me. Please note that I am an accredited immigration adviser, not an employee of the UK Visas and Immigration. I charge fees for the advice provided.