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Home Office changes good character criteria for Naturalisation - potentially leading.

Home Office changes good character criteria for Naturalisation - potentially leading to a 10 year bar on applicants

The Home Office has made amendments to its guidance for assessing good character in nationality applications. The guidance applies to all decisions taken on or after 11 December 2014.

Section 9 of the new guidance deals with immigration related issues. Most of these factors now normally lead to a 10 year bar on the applicant being able to satisfy the good character test. Under the previous guidance, immigration related issues included participation in a marriage of convenience; cheating in the English Language and/or Knowledge of Life tests; reliance upon false statements in applications; hiring illegal workers; and previous deprivation of citizenship.

However, the previous guidance specifically stated that an application would not normally be refused where the person had a history of evading immigration control themselves, particularly where there was no other evidence to cast doubt on their character. This has been changed in the new guidance, which adds the following criteria for refusing applications on good character grounds:

" 9.5 Illegal Entry - In circumstances where an applicant entered the UK illegally, an application for citizenship should normally be refused for a period of 10 years from the date of entry, if it is known. If it is not known, the period of 10 years starts from the date on which the person first brought themselves to or came to the attention of the Home Office."

"9.7 Evasion of immigration control - The decision maker will normally refuse an application if within the 10 years preceding the application the person has not been compliant with immigration requirements, including but not limited to having:
a. failed to report
b. failed to comply with any conditions imposed under the Immigration Acts
c. been detected working in the UK without permission".

Therefore, it is more than ever necessary to submit your naturalisation application with extra care and ensure that you meet all requirements before an application is lodged to the Home Office.


We specialise exclusively in UK Immigration and Nationality Law. We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner(OISC). We provide immigration services to clients from worldwide. Immigration law is complex and with the rules constantly changing we strongly recommend that you use specialists to support and represent you from the start. Call us now for an honest opinion of your case, possible costs and options.

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