Criminality is a vital factor when one thinks to apply for a UK visa or British Citizenship. The Home Office of the UK checks if there is any criminal record in your name and if so whether you should be given the visa or not.
Applicants need to submit a criminal record certificate when applying for a UK visa and if one fails to do so he/she may face the visa refusal. There are various requirements one needs to fulfil while making a visa application and a previous criminal record is one of them. Having a past criminal record could lead to visa refusal by the home office.
Criminality and criminal record certificate
Many applicants who wish to enter the UK for travel; on various visa categories valid for a longer period or looking to apply for British citizenship need to obtain a criminal record certificate. Visa categories in which you need to produce criminal record certificates include Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, Tier 1 (investor) visa, Tier 2 General visa
, and the skilled worker in education, health, or social care sectors. You also need to produce a criminal record certificate if a dependent partner above the age of 18 of the main applicant of any of the visa categories mentioned here applies with the main applicant or separately. They need to provide an overseas criminal record certificate from a country where the applicants have been present for 12 months or more on a continuous or cumulative basis in the 10 years before the date of application. The Home Office will consider any criminality in the past, so you need to declare if there has been an offence in the past on your application form.
When does criminality become a ground of visa refusal?
You need to declare in your UK visa application form if you got one of the following:
1. A conviction of an offence and sentenced imprisonment of at least 4 years
2. A conviction of an offence and sentenced imprisonment between 12 months and 4 years. This is exempted if 10 years have passed since the end of the sentence.
3. A conviction and sentenced imprisonment of fewer than 12 months. This will be exempted if a 5-year period has passed since the end of the sentence.
If an immigration officer deems that your coming to the UK can be against the public good then also your visa application may be refused. However, if a crime is considered in your country but not in the UK such as proselytism then the Home Office will disregard it when considering your visa application.
Who needs to submit a criminal record certificate?
Those applying for leave to enter the UK or entry clearance need to submit a criminal record certificate. Others who are already in the UK and wish to apply for the extension of their visa don't require producing a criminal record certificate. But if you are found to have failed to obtain a criminal record certificate despite this being possible in your country your visa application will likely be refused.
Who will issue the criminal record certificate?
In general, police or an appropriate law enforcement agency issues a criminal record certificate for an individual applying for a foreign visa. If this is not possible to obtain a criminal record certificate, you must explain in detail about the steps you took to get it in your application form. In certain situations, you can be exempted from this also if the Home Office deemed it not reasonably practical to get a certificate from your country.
Criminality when applying for British citizenship?
When you apply for British Citizenship, "Good Character" is a mandatory condition you need to prove. So, you must disclose the full criminal records in your name when you apply for British citizenship else your citizenship application will be refused.