Good character requirements for British citizenship – Part 1
For most British citizenship applications which may seem straightforward, we find that clients often get caught by the ‘Good Character’ requirement.
The good character requirement applies to anybody over the age of 10 who applies for Naturalisation or Registration as a British citizen. You can apply for British citizenship by Naturalisation if
- You are 18 or over
- You will continue to live in the UK
- You have met the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirements
- You meet the residency requirement
- You are of good character
The Secretary of State must be satisfied that an applicant is of good character on the balance of probabilities. For example, you do not have a serious or recent criminal record and you have not tried to deceive the Home Office or been involved in immigration offences in the last 10 years.
The Home Office AN Guide highlights the Good character requirement for naturalisation. This requirement is also known as the Good Character Test.
What type of offence must be disclosed?
You are required to declare all criminal convictions, both within and outside the United Kingdom. These include road traffic offences. Fixed penalty notices (such as speeding or parking tickets) must be disclosed, although will not normally be taken into account unless:
- you have failed to pay and there were criminal proceedings as a result; or
- you have received numerous fixed penalty notices.
Drink driving offences should be disclosed. A driving conviction may not be disregarded despite any penalty points being removed from your driving licence.
You are also required to give details of civil judgments which have resulted in a court order being made against you, as well as any civil penalties under the UK Immigration Acts. You must give details of the bankruptcy proceedings if you have been declared bankrupt at any time.
You must disclose any cautions (simple or conditional), warnings or reprimands received in the UK or any other country.
You are also expected to divulge if you have been subject to one of the following orders: notification order, sexual offences prevention order, foreign travel order, risk of sexual harm order (or equivalent order made in a British overseas territory or any other country).
You must disclose if there is any offence for which you may go to court or which is awaiting hearing in court.
There is also the standard declaration on whether you have had any involvement in terrorism or actions which may constitute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. You should consider the full definitions of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide which can be found in Schedule 8 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001.
You must say whether you have been involved in anything which might indicate that you are not of good character, no matter how long ago it was. Checks will be made in all cases and your application may fail and your fee will not be fully refunded if you make an untruthful declaration.
This blog post will be continued in part 2. If you are looking for advice or representation on British Citizenship applications, please get in touch with one of the team and arrange a consultation today.
**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.