Good character requirements for British citizenship – Part 2
Being of “Good Character” is a requirement for naturalisation and it is included within the Home Office AN Guide. In part 1 of this Immigration UK Blog post, we started to discuss what it takes to pass the Good Character Test. We continue this discussion and provide insight on important aspects of the test from the perspective of an immigration lawyer.
- What counts as Deception?
You should declare any deception in your dealings with the Home Office or other government departments (for example, by providing false information or fraudulent documents). This will be taken in to account in considering whether you meet the good character requirement. If your application is refused, and there is clear evidence of the deception, any future application made within 10 years is unlikely to be successful.
If you have any children who have been convicted of an offence or who have received a court order, these must be disclosed. The Home Office will consider if you have been complicit in or negligent, and whether this reflects on your own ability to meet the good character requirement.
Abuse of the English Language and/or Knowledge of Life Test
The decision maker will normally refuse where there is evidence that you have ‘cheated’ in a Knowledge of Life, “Life in the UK” and/or English Language Test. For example, by allowing a person to take the test on their behalf, paying a person to take the test on their behalf or submitting false documents or otherwise making a dishonest statement with regards to either. An application may have a risk of refusal if there has been any deception in the 10 years prior to the application for citizenship.
Failure to Disclose Convictions
Where the person has failed to disclose any (including minor) outstanding charges or convictions, the Home Office will normally refuse the application. Any subsequent application for citizenship would be weaken if it is made within 10 years from the date of the refusal on these grounds unless the failure to disclose was unintentional and concerned a one-off non-custodial sentence or out of court disposal.
- What about periods of overstaying or negative immigration history?
A number of undesirable behaviours have been added to the list of disqualifying behaviours, including illegal entry, assisting illegal migration and evasion of immigration control. It seems to affect people who may have committed minor or major breaches of immigration law, from short periods of overstay or working without permission to significant deception, and who would not previously have encountered any issues with applying for naturalisation once their position was regularised. Previous histories which may affect a Naturalisation application may include:
- failed to report
- failed to comply with any conditions imposed under the Immigration Acts
- been detected working in the UK without permission
It is important for all applicants to check not only the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 for spent convictions, but also the Citizenship Guidance (Guidance & Booklet AN). The laws in this area is always changing so please make sure you seek the accurate advice from a regulated immigration lawyer.
**Disclaimer: the laws and guidance are subject to change. Please refer to up to date laws when making an application, or contact QC Immigration for assistance on this matter.
Form AN: Naturalisation as British Citizen
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974: