14 Feb Are you a “migrant” of good character?
If you wish to apply for British citizenship, you must meet the good character requirement.
There are several factors that the Home Office will take into consideration when assessing the good character criteria under the 1981 British Nationality Act:
- International crimes & terrorism
- Financial soundness
- Deception and dishonesty
- Immigration-related offences
You will most likely not be deemed of good character if you have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced in the UK or abroad. You could also be denied citizenship if it might be “reasonable” to presume that you have been involved in a crime.
Traffic/environmental/civil offences and fines could also result in the refusal of your nationality application. If you didn’t pay a fine or multiple fines and there were criminal proceedings as a result, your eligibility to naturalize might be delayed.
You have to make sure that your financial and tax affairs are in order before you apply. Any unpaid council tax, bankruptcy or liquidation might jeopardize your prospective application for British citizenship. If you deliberately and recklessly built up debts and there is no evidence that you plan to re-pay them off, the Home Office will normally refuse your application.
If you have had any immigration offences or a poor immigration history in the 10 years prior to your citizenship application, the Home Office will likely deny your application. This includes, for example, overstaying your visa, working illegally, evidence of a bogus/sham marriage, cheating in the “Life in the UK” test or English Language test, assisting others in entering the country illegacy, evasion of immigration control, hiring illegal workers and so on.
Deception and dishonesty
The decision maker will normally refuse your application if you have been clearly dishonest in your dealings with another department of government (for example defrauding the benefits system or providing false details in order to obtain a driving licence).
Registration of minors
The good character requirement applies to any person who is aged 10 or over at the date of application. When assessing whether a child is of good character, the caseworker must take into account mitigatory factors relevant to the child’s particular circumstances, but any custodial or non-custodial sentence will usually have a negative impact on the outcome of his/her registration.
Contact Our Immigration Team
For expert advice regarding any aspect of the British citizenship application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075 or contact us here.