Applying for British Nationality? Your guide to the good character requirement

Good Character

If you are applying to become a British National you must meet the requirement of a good character. The requirement is mandatory for any applicant who is over the age of 10 and who applies for either Naturalisation or registration as a British Citizen.

Requirements

  • The starting point is that while filling and submitting the Naturalisation application form you must answer all questions honestly and in full detail. You must inform the Home Office of any significant event such as a criminal conviction or a pending prosecution that could have an impact on your good character assessment.
  • You must show that you have respected the laws of United Kingdome at all times while you were in the UK.
  • You are not involved in any criminal activity
  • You did not receive custodial and non-custodial sentences
  • You are not involved in terrorism, war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity
  • You must have paid your taxes and registered with HMRC if you were self-employed
  • You must not have breached the condition of your previous stay
  • You have not been involved in deliberately dishonest or deceptive in your dealings with the UK Government.
  • You must not have any charge of deception and dishonesty.

It is important to note that the record of criminal conviction does not mean that your application will be refused by the reason of the fact of good character. However, where there is an evidence that the person is unlikely to abide by the laws of UK he is likely to be treated as of bad character.

Criminal Conviction Chart

Conviction Good character  Impact on application
Imprisonment of

4 or more than 4 years

 

No

The application will be refused irrespective of when the conviction occurred
Imprisonment of

More than 12 months but less than 4 years

 

No. Unless 15 years have passed since the end of the sentence

The application will be refused unless 15 years have been passed since the end of the sentence.

You can apply after 15 years.

Imprisonment of up to 12 months 

No. Unless 10 years have passed since the end of the sentence

 

The application will be refused unless 10 years have been passed since the end of the sentence.

You can apply after 10 years.

All non-custodial sentences and out of court disposal which is recorded against a person and on his/her criminal record.

A common example is traffic offences

 

 

 

 

No. Unless 3 years have passed since the end of the sentence

 

 

The application will be refused unless 3 years have been passed

You can apply after 3 years.

 

Fines

  • Fines are treated as non- custodial sentences or out of court disposals that are recorded on the applicant’s criminal record. The applicant must wait for three years.

Fixed Penalties

  • Fixed Penalty Notices, Penalty Charge Notices and Penalty Notices for Disorder are imposed by the Police or other authorised enforcement officers for traffic rule violations, environmental and civil violations.
  • These are treated as minor offences. Fixed penalties are not recorded against the person and are not recorded on his/her criminal record. You can apply for your naturalisation.

Failure to pay fixed penalties

  • If you have failed to pay fixed penalties and there were criminal proceedings as a result, or you have received numerous fixed penalty notices which would suggest a pattern of behaviour you are unlikely to be treated as a person of a good character
  • Where a fixed penalty notice or fiscal fine has been referred to a court due to non-payment or the notice has been unsuccessfully challenged by the person in court, the Home Office will consider this as a conviction and the rules mentioned in the table above will apply. The applicant has to wait for at least three years before he can apply for naturalisation.

Cautions, Reprimands and Warnings

  • These are recorded on an applicant’s criminal record and the applicant has to wait for at least three years before he/she can apply for naturalisation.

Exceptions

You do not have to fulfil the requirement of good character where

  • the statelessness provisions in Schedule 2 of the British Nationality ACT 1981 applies, or
  • You are an eligible applicant under section 4B of the Act

 

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, It does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. For further advice and guidance please contact our experienced Immigration lawyers for an initial consultation instantly through any device from anywhere in the world.

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