Update on the British Citizenship good character requirement

Update on the British Citizenship good character requirement 

In a staggering effort to crack down on serious criminals from claiming British Citizenship and abusing the UK’s Immigration and nationality system, the government has introduced stricter rules on the “good character” requirements.  

What is a good character requirement you ask? 

This is when the Home Office assess an application from anyone aged ten or over seeking to naturalise or register as a British Citizen. This involves factors such as criminal convictions (spent or unspent), immigration offending for example overstaying and absconding in the last ten years, illegal entry and serious behaviour like war crimes, and international crimes i.e. terrorism or genocide. 

The updated rules came into effect on 31 July 2023, removing the slight relaxation of the previous rules which granted some criminals British Citizenship after a prescribed number of years had passed since the end of their sentence – regardless of the type of crime or where it was committed. 

Therefore, the updated rules have tipped the scale of the criminality threshold meaning anyone who has received a criminal conviction including those with a spent conviction will most likely be unable to gain British Citizenship.   

Disclosure of circumstances

Of course, there are some exceptions to the new rules which the Home Office assess on a case-by-case basis. That said, it is an individual’s duty to disclose circumstances that may have an impact on their good character assessment. 

How Migrate UK can support individuals

We support individuals through the application process for British Citizenship, including guidance on the good character requirement, particularly where issues such as past criminal records or immigration history may be problematic. For advice do not hesitate to contact us


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