New good character for British nationality

On 13 December 2012 changes were made to the Nationality Instructions that affect anyone applying for citizenship on or after that date.

The main changes deal with criminality and how it is assessed in terms of the good character requirement in citizenship applications. Some of the main amendments are summarised below:

  • Applications made on or after 13 December 2012 which feature a criminal conviction will no longer be assessed against the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Instead they will be measured against a new set of sentencing limits.
  • Where an application features a sentence of 4 years or more in prison this can never fall outside a sentencing threshold. Such an application for citizenship will likely be refused.
  • Police cautions will be looked at in determining whether someone meets the good character requirement.
  • There will be greater scope to discount some disciplinary military offences when deciding nationality applications from serving and former members of HM Forces.