Character Requirement changes for UK Naturalisation

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Character Requirement changes for UK Naturalisation

The UK Home Office published new guidance in relation to the good character requirement for Naturalisation applications. This new guidance took immediate effect and was published with the government first giving notice of the changes on the 30th July 2023.

The new guidance represents a significant departure on how the Home Office will deal with an application where a person has a criminal record. The rules were introduced by Suella Braverman with a view to toughening up the Home Office’s approach. She said:

“British citizenship is a privilege. Those who commit crimes shouldn’t be able to enjoy the breadth of rights citizenship brings, including holding a British passport, voting and accessing free medical care from the NHS.

I am cracking down on abuse of the UK’s immigration and nationality system, by introducing a tougher threshold so that serious criminals cannot gain British citizenship. This is the fair and right thing to do for our country.”

The new rules are intended to align the approach to criminality in naturalisation applications with the approach to applications that are made under the Immigration Rules. Whilst the old system was very clear about when someone would be considered to be of good character, the new rules provide the Home Office a greater deal of discretion in how they are going to decide an application. This will make it doubly important to ensure that any applications involving an Applicant with a criminal record are well prepared.

Balance of probabilities they are now of good character

It can be seen from the examples provided, that the threshold is a high one to meet. However, the Home Office will always have a discretion in these types of cases and, where there are special or exceptional circumstances, then it may be that an application can succeed.

Balance of Probabilities Test for less serious offences

Where a person has a custodial sentence of less than 12 months, or a non-custodial sentence, then the Home Office will apply a ‘balance of probabilities’ test to determine whether they are considered to be of good character. This, in summary, will involve balancing the individual circumstances of the matter. In particular, consideration will be given to the following factors:

  • Length of time since the offences occurred
  • The number of offences
  • Period over which the offences were committed
  • The seriousness of the offence
  • Any escalation in the seriousness of the offences
  • The nature of the offences
  • The Applicant’s age at the date of the conviction
  • Whether there are exception or other circumstances
  • Any other mitigating factors

The Home Office will also take into account other factors that may be relevant to a person’s good character.

Barrister Shuvagata Dey Co-founder of Lexpert Solicitors from London told Daily Dazzling Dawn, ‘It will be important when preparing applications to provide evidence that addresses these factors, and puts forward the reasons why a person should be considered of good character.’


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Daily Dazzling Dawn is the first and only international and non-profitable newspaper, which is 100% ownership of professional journalists from Bangladeshi origin with 20 years of experience in global journalism. The main aim of the newspaper is promoting ethical journalism with truth, accuracy and proficiency.

Editor in Chief

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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