When a person applies for British Citizenship, the Home Office must be satisfied that the applicant is of Good Character. This requirement applies to any person, ten years or older, who applies for naturalisation or registration as British citizen.
Should an applicant not fulfil this criterion, the application will be denied. It is thus important that persons keep the good character requirement in mind in preparation of the British Citizenship application.
The Home Office requires a person to answer all questions during the application process, honestly and in full. It is also expected from the applicant to inform the Home Office of any significant event. This may include a criminal conviction or pending prosecution, or anything that might impact on the good character assessment.
Grounds for not considering a person to be of Good Character
The Home Office will not consider a person to be of good character if there is evidence in the instances below. If a person does not clearly fall into any of the categories below, or if there is doubt about their character, the Home Office may still refuse the application. It is also possible for the Home Office to request an interview to make an overall assessment of a person’s character.
A person will normally not be considered of good character, if he or she has been convicted of a crime. Or if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has been involved in a crime. Overseas convictions will be treated the same as convictions imposed in the UK.
However, having a criminal record does not mean that an application will necessarily be refused. The Home Office has strict guidelines on how criminal convictions are treated when making an assessment. They will inter alia consider the length of the sentence imposed and when the sentence was imposed
If you have a criminal record, we highly recommend that you contact one of our consultants for more information.
Terrorism and Actions considered not conducive to Public Good
A person will not be considered of good character if he or she has been involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or terrorism. Neither any other action considered not to be conducive to the public good.
In order to be considered of good character, an applicant’s financial affairs should be in order. Applicants should thus make sure their tax and financial affairs are in order when they get to the point where they qualify to apply for British citizenship.
Should you have unresolved tax or financial issues at the point of application, there is a substantial risk that the application will be rejected.
Please speak to your BIC consultant for more advice on how bankruptcy, liquidation, and debt is handled in the assessment.
If there is evidence that a person has by the scale and persistence of their behavior made themselves notorious in the local or wider community, their citizenship application will normally be refused.
Applications might also be refused where there is evidence that a parent’s behavior demonstrates that they are not of good character. Please speak to your consultant for more information in this regard.
Deceptive and Dishonest dealings with UK Government
The general approach of the UK Home Office is that concealment of information, or lack of frankness, will raise doubt about a person’s good character. An application will normally be refused where a person attempts to lie or conceal the truth about an aspect of their application, on the application form or during the course of inquiries.
Failure to disclose any outstanding charges or convictions, even if it is minor, will normally lead to a refusal of the application.
The Home Office also shares and check information via intelligence reports from other government departments and agencies. Any deceptions by an applicant at such government departments or agencies are thus highly likely to come out.
Immigration Related Issues
There are a number or immigration related issues that will normally lead to the refusal of the British citizenship application. This includes but is not limited to evidence of a bogus marriage or partnership, evidence of cheating in the ‘Life in the UK’ test or English Language test, assisting others in illegal migration, hiring illegal workers, etc.
In cases where a person entered the UK illegally, an application for citizenship will normally be refused for a period of 10 years. This is from the date on which the person brought themselves to the attention of the Home Office.
British Citizenship Applications where Good Character is in doubt
Breytenbachs strongly advise all immigrants on their route to British Citizenship to keep in mind that they will have to fulfill the criteria of good character. Do not do anything to compromise your future application. In cases where a mishap has taken place, all is not lost. We strongly advise such persons to get in touch with Breytenbachs to plan ahead.
Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants has been successful in some cases to prove that the applicant has since been rehabilitated and is of good character and fit to be a British Citizen.