Naturalisation. Good character. Notoriety

If you apply to naturalise as a British citizen, you must be of good character. One of the factors considered when assessing your character is your notoriety.

But what is meant by notoriety? According to Home Office guidance, notoriety means “the state of being famous or well-known for some bad quality or immoral deeds”.

Does it mean that, in order to get notoriety and have your application for naturalisation refused, you should have been convicted of criminal offences? The answer is negative. If you have been convicted of committing criminal offences, you would fail the good character requirement rather on criminality issues than on notoriety.

Notoriety is a question of poor behaviour in your local or wider community which makes the grant of British citizenship inappropriate.

Using the examples offered by the Home Office in their guidance, you would be notorious if you persistently disregard the law, if you have an anti-social behaviour, if you use drugs in public or produce excessive noise pollution.

If you publicly expressed disgusting views on race, religion or sexuality, you may rather be an extremist. However, where your behaviour does not amount to extremism, you may be classed as notorious.

When assessing your character, the caseworker may use articles published on newspapers, social media posts or comments, or information provided by those knowing you. You may be invited to attend an interview where the caseworker would discuss with you the information received, especially if they are in doubt about the reliability of some of the information.

The decision must be reasonable, meaning that if your notoriety in your community is not that bad, the application might not be refused on this ground. But if granting you British citizenship would cause a negative public reaction, your application may be declined.

If you have children with such notorious behaviour, your application will not normally be affected unless you encouraged them or were complicit with them in their activity disregarding the law.

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.