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British nationality and criminal/ civil convictions

30 July 2011

If you are thinking of applying for Naturalisation as a British citizen but have a drink driving office, you might need to seek legal advice. The nationality application form requires you to disclose, among other things, all criminal convictions that have not yet been spent and civil proceedings made against you in the UK or any other country.

Please note that criminal convictions include any convictions in a court such as TV licence offences and motoring offences, etc. You must give details of all unspent criminal convictions. This includes road traffic offences but not fixed penalty notices (such as speeding or parking tickets) unless they were given in court. You must include all drink-driving offences.

The UK Border Agency also states:

“We will normally disregard a single conviction for a minor offence resulting in a bind over, conditional discharge or relatively small fine or compensation order, if a person is suitable for citizenship in all other respects. By 'minor offences' we mean speeding or other 'regulatory' offences. Drink-driving offences, driving while uninsured or disqualified are also not minor offences.”

In general, a conviction will only be overlooked when it is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act – for instance 5 years for a fine. A single minor offence may be overlooked prior to being spent, but, the nationality instructions clearly state they will not overlook a drink driving offence until it is spent.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.