British army Recruitment for Foreigners – Join the British army from another Country

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom. As of 2017, the British Army comprises just over 80,000 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 26,500 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

The modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the English Army that was created during the Restoration in 1660. The term “British Army” was adopted in 1707 after the Acts of Union between England and Scotland. 

Although all members of the British Army are expected to swear (or affirm) allegiance to Elizabeth II as their commander-in-chief, the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a peacetime standing army; hence the reason it is not called the “Royal Army”.Therefore, Parliament approves the Army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years. The Army is administered by the Ministry of Defence and commanded by the Chief of the General Staff.

The British Army has seen action in major wars between the world’s great powers, including the Seven Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars. Britain’s victories in these decisive wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world’s leading military and economic powers. Since the end of the Cold War the British Army has deployed to a number of conflict zones, often as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.

The British Army has been a volunteer force since national service ended during the 1960s. Since the creation of the part-time, reserve Territorial Force in 1908 (renamed the Army Reserve in 2014) the full-time British Army has been known as the Regular Army. The size and structure of the army are evolving, and the Ministry of Defence publishes monthly personnel reports. In December 2016 there were 83,360 trained Regulars, 2,850 Gurkhas and 26,300 trained.

Army 2020 followed the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 (SDSR). According to the Ministry of Defence, Army 2020 will “ensure that the British Army remains the most capable Army in its class” and enable “it to better meet the security challenges of the 2020s and beyond”.

The SDSR initially outlined a reduction of the regular British Army by 7,000, to a trained strength of 95,000, by 2015.  After the publication of “Future Reserves 2020”, another independent review of army structure, it was announced that the Regular Army would be reduced to a trained strength of 82,000 and the Army Reserve would be increased to a trained strength of about 30,000; this would bring the ratio of regular to part-time personnel in line with the US and Canada and integrate the Army Reserve into the Regular Army.

In addition to the regular and reserve armies, all former Regular Army personnel (known as the Regular Reserve) may be recalled for duty as needed.The Regular Reserve has two categories: A and D. Category A is mandatory, with the length of time in the category dependent on time spent in Regular Army service. Category D is voluntary, and consists of personnel who are no longer required to serve in category A.

Regular Reserves in both categories serve under a fixed-term reserve contract and may report for training or service overseas and at home, similar to the Army Reserve. In 2007, there were 121,800 Regular Reserves, of which 33,760 served in categories A and D. Beginning in April 2013, the full Regular Reserve strength was no longer reported—only those serving in categories A and D (30,000 in 2015).

The Blues and Royals Trooping the Colour in 2007

The table below illustrates British Army personnel figures from 1710 to 2010. The Army Reserve (Territorial Army) was established in 1908.

British army Recruitment for Foreigners

First requirement to become a British soldier is to become a British citizen

How to Become a British Citizen as a Foreigner seeking army enlistment

There are many paths to citizenship in the United Kingdom. Most Anglophiles (people fascinated with England) will have to go through several stages of immigration and spend at least a few years in the UK. You may be able to speed up the process if you have a connection to the UK through a spouse, parent, or citizenship in a current or former UK territory.

1. Print a copy of the application form. The UK government provides a copy of this form on their website. It is called Form AN, or Application for naturalisation as a British citizen. You can also request this form at many local government offices, such as a city or county council.
  • If the council offers a nationality checking service, you can pay a fee to have someone check your form for errors.

2. Receive indefinite leave to stay in the UK. Indefinite leave, also called settlement, means there is no restriction on how long you can stay in the country. In order to receive citizenship, you must have spent at least the last 12 months under indefinite leave. You must also plan to continue living in the UK. 

  • To see whether you can apply for indefinite leave, visit this interactive web page. The requirements vary depending on your type of visa.
  • If you are a citizen of a country in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you will need a permanent resident card or another document that proves permanent residence.
3. Live in the UK for at least five years. To pass this requirement automatically, you must have entered the UK as a resident (or entered the UK armed forces) at least five years ago, and spent no more than 450 days of the past five years outside the country. The UK government will often overlook total absences up to 480 days.
  • Up to 730 days may be allowed if you have a family and home in the UK, your application meets all other requirements, and you have lived in the UK at least seven years.
  • Up to 900 days may be allowed if you meet the same criteria but have lived in the UK at least eight years, or if the absences occurred due to you or your spouse or civil partner serving in the UK armed forces, or due to business travel for a UK job.
4. Count your absences over the past year. Officially your time outside the country over the past 365 days should total no more than 90 days, but up to 100 days is usually not a problem. Up to 179 days may be allowed if:
  • You have a family and home in the UK
  • and either meet every other requirement in the application.
  • or have a compelling reason for your absence (e.g. UK business travel, UK armed forces).
  • Exceptions for 180 days and above are rare, and require all three of the criteria above.

5. Meet the age and good character requirements. You must be at least eighteen years old to apply for naturalised citizenship. You are also required to answer all the questions in section 3 of the application form, “Good Character”. Note that these questions apply to events in any country, not just the UK, and include all civil and criminal penalties including minor traffic offenses. If you answer yes to any of these questions, describe the events in detail in the space at the end of the section, and on additional sheets if needed. Serious crimes or unresolved bankruptcy usually lead to a rejected application.

  • If you have court endorsements on your UK driving license, print a copy of your record and attach it to your application.
  • You do not need to describe family legal proceedings such as divorce. However, you must mention offences committed by your children, as well as any court orders against them.
6. Check for exemptions on the next requirements. If you are over 65, you do not need to pass the life in the UK test, or prove your English proficiency. If you are under 65 but have a long-term physical or mental condition that prevents you from passing these tests, check the box on your application to claim exemption. Describe why in the “Further Information” section on page 22. Include a letter from a doctor with your application.
  • Depression and other conditions that respond to treatment are usually not enough to claim exemption.
  • No other exemptions apply, even if you used one for your settlement application.
7. Pass the Life in the UK test. This test has 24 multiple choice questions on UK traditions, history, law, and values. You must get 18 of these right in 45 minutes. To schedule the test for a £50 fee, visit this government website. After taking the test, wait in the building until you receive a graded copy of the test and a letter confirming that you passed. You’ll need to attach this letter to your application. If you passed the test already as part of your application for settlement, you may attach the old letter instead of taking the test again.
  • The official study guide is called Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship.
  • The photo ID you bring to the test must be the same one you use for your citizenship application. Write the exact name from your ID on the test. You will also need proof of your address.
8. Prove your proficiency in English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic. You can prove your English proficiency by passing an English test through the Home Office at level B1 CEFR or higher. There are two B1 tests that you can take: the IELTS Skills Test or the Trinity Grade 5 test. Alternatively, contact UK NARIC to request the necessary documents to prove that your degree earned in English-taught courses meets this requirement. Finally, a passport from a country with majority English speakers will usually meet this requirement.
  • If you plan to meet this requirement in Welsh or Gaelic instead, include a cover letter describing your proficiency in the language.
9. Have two people fill out the referee section. As described on the form, one of these must be a British citizen. The other can be any nationality, but should have some professional standing, such as a civil servant position or a membership in a professional organization. Read the other requirements on the form carefully and find two people who qualify.
10. Fill out the remainder of the form. This includes personal information, contact details, and employment information. Follow the instructions on the form to attach any applicable documents. All applicants should include a biometric residence permit or a waiver of the BRP; you should have one of these from your application of settlement.
10. Fill out the remainder of the form. This includes personal information, contact details, and employment information. Follow the instructions on the form to attach any applicable documents. All applicants should include a biometric residence permit or a waiver of the BRP; you should have one of these from your application of settlement.

Send the form. If you are in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, or most other countries, send the application to “Department 1 / UKVI / The Capital / New Hall Place / Liverpool / L3 9PP”. If you are in a British overseas territory, send the application to the governor.

  • Include a fee along with the form. For up-to-date information on how much the fee is, refer to this web page.
12. Attend the citizenship ceremony. You will typically receive a response within six months. If your application was accepted, the response will tell you who to contact to schedule the ceremony. You must attend a citizenship ceremony within 90 days to receive citizenship. At the ceremony, you will swear an oath of allegiance to the sovereign and pledge your loyalty to the UK.
1Confirm your marriage or civil partnership. To qualify for these more lenient requirements, include the following documents in your application. Your partner’s current UK passport, or a copy of every page of the passport (including blank ones), or his or her registration or naturalisation certificate proving citizenship.
  • The marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate. If you have a different type of official partnership, or if you are part of a homosexual couple in a country that does not recognize your partnership, you may still meet these requirements. Contact the UK Visas and Immigration office for advice.
2. Live in the UK for three years. To qualify for citizenship, you must have entered the UK at least three years ago, and lived here for most of the past three years. You are allowed 270 days of absence over this period, but up to 300 days may be overlooked. If you have a family and home in the UK, and your application meets all other requirements, this number may increase:
  • Up to 450 days over the past three years if you have four years of residency, or up to 540 days if you have five years of residency. A compelling reason for absence (travel for UK armed forces or UK business) may replace the residency requirements.
3. when you can skip the residency requirement. You do not need to meet this requirement if your spouse or civil partner works for the UK government, or in designated service.This includes service with certain groups not directly under the UK government, such as the British Red Cross, a member of the Council of Voluntary Welfare Work, or NATO.
4. Complete the rest of the form as usual. Apart from these differences, the application for citizenship is the same as for foreigners living in the UK. Fill out Form AN and attach any additional documents or extra information according to the instructions. If you have any questions, refer to the instructions above for foreigners living in the UK.
1.Find out if you’re already a British national. A British national can hold a UK passport but does not have the automatic right to live and work in the UK. There are quite a few laws that grant British nationality to citizens of current and former overseas British territories, and to people born in those territories who would otherwise be stateless. In some cases the spouse or child of a national may also be able to apply for nationality. If you’re not sure whether you qualify for British nationality, contact the UK Visas and Immigration office.
2.Fill out the relevant form as a British national. If you are a British national, you usually qualify to fill out a simpler citizenship application form. You can find these forms at Choose a form based on your status:. B(OTA) if you have another citizenship.
  • B(OS) if you have no other citizenship.
  • S1, S2, or S3 if you are a stateless person. (See form instructions to find out which form applies to you.)
  • EM if you are a resident of Hong Kong and were a resident on 4 February 1997.
  • RS1 if you previously renounced UK citizenship.
  • UKM (mother) or UKF (father) if you had a British parent but do not have citizenship due to laws at the time of your birth.
3. Know if you qualify as a child under 18. You can register as a citizen if you are below this age and qualify for one of these reasons:
  • If one of your parents has or acquired indefinite leave since you were born, apply with form MN1.
  • If neither parent is a UK citizen or here on indefinite leave, but you lived in the UK from birth until the age of 10, apply with form T.
  • If at least one parent was a UK citizen at the time of your birth, or was here on indefinite leave, you are automatically a citizen. There is no need to apply.
4. Contact UKVI for other situations. If none of the above instructions describe your situation, but you have some other connection to the UK, contact the UK Visas and Immigration Office. There are many corner cases that may make you a British national. The office of the Home Secretary also has the ability to grant citizenship to anyone under 18, so a compelling case may allow you to bypass the official requirements.
  • Most people 18 or older must apply using the regular process for foreigners living in the UK (see above).

Once you become a British citizen you can now begin the process of enlisting in the British army.

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