Good Character Requirement for UK Nationality Applications

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 a 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 for the British Citizenship application.

The Home Office requires a person to answer all questions during the application process honestly and in full. The applicant also has to inform the Home Office of any significant event. This may include a criminal conviction pending prosecution or anything that might impact the good character requirement.

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.

Criminal Convictions

A person will normally not fulfil the good character requirement if they have a criminal conviction. Or if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there was an involvement 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 is any other action considered not to be conducive to the public good.

Financial Affairs 

In order to fulfil the good character requirement, an applicant’s financial affairs should be in order. Applicants should thus make sure their tax and financial affairs are in order when 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 are handled in the assessment.


If there is evidence that a person has, by the scale and persistence of their behaviour, 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 behaviour demonstrates that they are not of good character. Please speak to your consultant for more information in this regard.

Deceptive and Dishonest dealings with the 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 when 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 checks 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 of 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 10 years. This is from the date on which the person brought themselves to the attention of the Home Office.

How Breytenbachs can help you fulfil the Good Character Requirement 

Breytenbachs strongly advise all immigrants on their route to citizenship to remember they have to fulfil the good character requirement. Do not do anything to compromise your future application. In cases where a mishap has taken place, there is hope. We strongly advise such persons to get in touch with Breytenbachs to plan ahead.

Breytenbachs has been successful in many cases in proving the rehabilitation of a client to fulfil the good character requirement.


Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

Please contact us today for further information or applications.

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