Naturalisation. Good character. Deception and dishonesty

Your British citizenship application will be refused if you are not of good character. One of the factors considered when assessing your character is whether you have been deliberately deceitful or dishonest in your relation with authorities.

For example, if you committed fraud when applying for benefits, or if you accessed health or care services for which you were not entitled, you will normally fail the good character requirement of your application. But you may have an excuse where you genuinely believed or were wrongly advised (ie. by an welfare advisor) that you were entitled to the benefits or services received. You will need strong evidence (such as written advice) and a good, plausible explanation.

Another example is if you made false representations to DVLA in order to get a driving licence. What if you provided false or misleading information by mistake, for example by mentioning a wrong date of your arrival in the UK? Let’s assume you moved in the country on 1 October 2015 and you mentioned in your application for a driving licence that you entered UK on 1 September 2015. This may be considered by the caseworker a genuine mistake, with no impact on the assessment of your character. But if you need glasses to meet the driving standards and you declare that you do not, or if you suffer of epilepsy and do not disclose this information, that will be viewed as an attempt to deceive a department of the government and will probably lead to the conclusion that you are dishonest and not of good character.

What if you used deception in an immigration application in the past? For instance, in the application for indefinite leave to remain. In this case, you application for naturalisation will normally be refused, if it was submitted within a 10-year period starting with the date when the deception has been discovered or admitted. Example: you applied for ILR in 2015, you used deception in your application for ILR, deception was discovered in October 2017. Any application for citizenship dated before October 2027 will normally be refused.

Of course, it is of capital importance for the success of your application for naturalisation as a British citizen not to provide deliberately false or misleading information in the application itself. You must also not fail to disclose important information, especially if this information would lead to a refuse on good character grounds. Once the attempt to deceive or the fact that you have been dishonest will be discovered, your application will be refused. This will be deception in relation with future applications for citizenship too. As explained above, the deception used in a previous immigration application results in any citizenship application made in the next 10 years being declined.

In conclusion, if you cannot meet the good character requirement for some reason, and you know that the application for citizenship wil be refused, you better not apply. If you are in doubt whether you will meet the good character requirement, and you decide to apply, than you better be honest and prepared to explain things from your past dealings with government departments. Your application may fail, but at least you do not use deception and will not suffer the consequences for a long time to come.

If you want to apply for British citizenship or for a British passport and need specialist advice, feel free to contact me. Please note that I am an accredited immigration adviser, not an employee of the UK Visas and Immigration. I charge fees for the advice provided.