Referees in Naturalisation, Passport & Citizenship Applications

Referees for naturalisation, citizenship and passport application must meet certain legal requirements.
1) Personal acquaintance
Citizenship is a privilege, not a right.

Citizenship is a privilege, not a right.

For adult applications each referee should have known the applicant personally for at least three years. A lot of applicants struggle with this requirement as they don’t know anyone who is willing to say that they have known them personally for that long.
It is therefore advisable to consider these requirements well in advance of making an application to the Home Office.
2) Professional standing

One referee should be a person of professional standing. The acceptable professions are listed in the table at the end of this page.

3) Nationality, profession and age

The other referee must be a British citizen (holder of a British passport), and either a professional person or over the age of 25.

4) Other eligibility requirements

Referees should not:

♠ be related to the applicant
♠ be related to the other referee
♠ be the applicant’s solicitor or agent representing him or her with the application
♠ be employed by the Home Office
♠ have been convicted of an imprisonable offence during the past 10 years for which the sentence is not spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

5) Overseas applications

If the applicant is living overseas, and does not know a British citizen passport holder who is a professional person or over the age of 25, a Commonwealth citizen or citizen of the country in which he or she is residing may complete and sign the form, provided:

♠ he/she is over 25 or has a professional standing in that country and
♠ has known the applicant for three years, and
♠ the Consul considers his/her signature to be acceptable.

6) Child applicants

For a child application one referee should be someone who has engaged with the child in a professional capacity, such as a doctor, teacher, health visitor, social worker or minister of religion. The other referee must be the holder of a British citizen passport, and either a professional person or over the age of 25.

Looking to make an application for citizenship?

Did you know citizenship is a privilege, not a right. As such it’s granted at the Secretary of State’s discretion and, if refused, there’s no right of appeal. Getting legal advice and representation may help you maximise your chances of success.


Referees: List of acceptable professionals

  • Accountant
  • Director/Manager of a VAT registered Charity
  • Officer of the armed services (active or retired)
  • Airline pilot Director/Manager/Personnel Optician
  • Articled clerk of a limited company
  • Officer of a VAT registered Company
  • Paralegal (Certified or Qualified Paralegals, and Associate Members of the Institute of Paralegals
  • Assurance agent of recognised company
  • Driving instructor (approved)
  • Bank/building society official
  • Engineer (with professional qualifications)
  • Barrister
  • Person with honours (e.g.OBE, MBE etc.)
  • Fire service official
  • British Computer Society (BCS) – Professional grades which are Associate (AMBCS), Member (MBCS), Fellow (FBCS) (PN 25/2003)
  • Personal Licensee Holders
  • Funeral director Society (BCS) -Professional grades which are Associate Photographer (professional)
  • (AMBCS), Member(MBCS), Fellow (FBCS)
  • Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
  • Journalist
  • Post Office official
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Police officer
  • Broker
  • Legal secretary (members and fellows of the Institute of legal secretaries)
  • President/Secretary of a recognised organisation
  • Chairman/director of limited company
  • Salvation Army officer
  • Chemist
  • Local government officer
  • Social worker
  • Chiropodist
  • Manager/Personnel officer
  • Solicitor
  • Christian Science practitioner
  • Member of Parliament
  • Surveyor
  • Commissioner for oaths
  • Member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces
  • Councillor: local or county
  • Merchant Navy officer
  • Teacher, lecturer
  • Civil servant
  • Travel agency (qualified)
  • Trade union officer
  • Minister of a recognised religion
  • Civil Servant (permanent)
  • Valuers and auctioneers (fellow and associate members of the incorporated society)
  • Dentist
  • Nurse (RN, SEN or holder of a BA in nursing)
  • Warrant officers and Chief Designated Premises Supervisors
  • Petty Officers