Leading Immigration Lawyers With Over 9000 Applications Approved
Call +44 (0)333 414 9244 | Mon - Sun, 8.30am -6pm

Applying for British Citizenship with a criminal record

Having a criminal record may not prevent you from becoming a British citizenship but it is important to ensure you fully declare any past criminal convictions when applying.

For more information about British citizenship, living in the UK and how to settle here, reach out to one of our expert immigration advisers for more information. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.


Getting British citizenship with a criminal record

If you do have a criminal history it is important to realise that it does not mean you will be automatically rejected from becoming a British citizen. If you can demonstrate that you have a “good character” and your criminal offences are no longer viewed as a barrier then you could be successful in making the UK your home.

However, how the Home Office views your application will depend on what kind of offences have been committed and how long ago or if you received a suspended prison sentence or custodial sentence.

You may want to seek further advice from an immigration law specialist prior to completing your application for British citizenship. This could help to avoid any potential refusals or lengthy delays to your application for British citizenship.

Overall, you should make sure that you do not attempt to hide any previous criminal convictions or arrests – a failure to declare any potential issues or a criminal conviction could have very serious consequences, with UK immigration law allowing for any citizenship obtained fraudulently to be revoked.

Which criminal criminal offences should be declared?

All applicants for British citizenship must declare all convictions when applying and this includes any previous offences that may be spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. In addition, you are required to provide details of any police cautions or minor offences – even if they occurred a long time ago.

You must declare any convictions held or offences committed even if you were under 16 – even if the conviction is declared as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

All non-custodial sentences and out of court disposals such as a reprimand, conditional discharge, probation or a community sentence need to be included on any British citizenship applications. Any fines received within the 36 months should be declared when applying for British citizenship.

While, it is unlikely that a fixed penalty notice would cause the Home Office to refuse a British citizenship application, it is important to understand the impact of any further legal proceedings that occur if a fine is not paid and the impact on your “good character” test.

What about overseas criminal offences and military proceedings?

When applying for British citizenship you are required to declare military convictions as well as any overseas conviction that was given overseas.

Any military convictions under court martial or part of any other military criminal proceedings while servicing in the military services must be included on your British citizenship application.

Crucially, the Home Office will disregard any criminal record that is the result of a crime that is not seen as illegal in the UK. For instances, same-sex relationships may be a criminal offence in some countries but is not in the UK and therefore, any criminal records for this would be ignored by the UK immigration service.

Custodial sentences and British citizenship

It is important to realise that some prison sentence imposed offences will in most cases lead to a application being automatically refused.

For instance, you are unlikely to be granted British citizenship if you have received any of the following:

  • a custodial or prison sentence of at least four years
  • a custodial sentence of at least 12 months but less than four years unless a period of 15 years has passed since the end of the sentence
  • a custodial sentence of less than 12 months unless a period of ten years has passed since the end of the sentence
  • a non-custodial sentence or out-of-court disposal that is recorded which took place in the three years prior to the date of application for British citizenship.

It is also unlikely you will be able to become a British citizen if you have committed a crime which caused serious harm or have committed a sexual offence and/or have been subject to a sexual harm order or sexual offences prevention order at any point.

British Citizenship with a history of repeat offences

The Home Office do assess each application for British citizenship on a case-by-case basis and one of the factors they look at is the good character and someone with a history of repeat offences may struggle to demonstrate this successfully.

Any application for British citizenship is likely to be refused when the applicant has any of the following:

  • A long history of committing offences
  • Offences that have increased in seriousness over a long period
  • A significant number of offences committed in a short time

Pending criminal charges

You should ensure that as well as disclosing any criminal convictions, you should also include details of any pending prosecutions when applying for British citizenship. Details should still be provided even if you have not received a criminal conviction at the time of applying. Failure to declare pending prosecutions that later come to light could lead to your application being rejected or any granted British citizenship being revoked.

Contact us today if you require assistance with your British citizenship application.

How Can IAS Help?

A certificate of British Citizenship is an important document that proves your right to live and work in the UK indefinitely without being subject to any immigration restrictions.

IAS can help. We are expert legal advisers specialising in UK immigration law, with years’ worth of experience helping individuals with their immigration issues. We can help establish your eligibility for a certificate of entitlement, assist you throughout the application process, and even liaise with the Home Office to keep track of your application as it gets processed.

For more information about the services we offer and how we can help you, get in touch with us today on 0333 305 9375, or talk to us online today.

We’re here to help with your British Citizenship immigration issue.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents will appear here.

Related Posts

Architectural building with Canadian flag on top
17 May 2024

Open Work Permit Canada for Nigerians

Canada has a growing economy that allows immigrants to explore different career Opportunities. Nigerian citizens who wish to work in Canada can be granted an open work permit provided the employee and employer meet the eligibility requirements.
For further information on how to apply for an open work permit, contact The Immigration Advice Service (IAS) at +23413438882 and +44 (0) 3316300929. Our immigration lawyers are ever ready to help you with the application process.

Read Article
Silver, antique Canadian coin
17 May 2024

Canada Visa Requirements for Nigeria

If you are a Nigerian looking to go to Canada, you must apply for a Canadian Visa to work, visit or study there.

Read Article
Two friends standing together on street in America
17 May 2024

Easiest Way to Get American Visa from Nigeria

If you’re a Nigerian waiting to visit the US, you’ve probably heard about an easy way to get an American visa. However, there’s no easy visa; you must meet the necessary requirements.
For more information about applying for an American Visa from Nigeria, including support and advice about the process, or any other queries you might have, then call our immigration experts today at +23413438882 and +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.

Read Article
Nigeria welcome sign on white arch
17 May 2024

Entry to the UK from Nigeria

To live and work in the UK, you will need a visa. This guide will give you all the information you need about the type of visa you should apply for and other criteria you need to consider when making an application for entry to the UK from Nigeria.

Read Article
Nigerian man wearing purple coloured shirt
17 May 2024

How Much Is Priority UK Visa in Nigeria?

If you are applying for a UK visa to either stay short-term or settle there, you can apply to fast-track your visa application from Nigeria if you need to obtain a visa at short notice.
Immigration Advice Service (IAS) are available to advise you on the different fees and processing times depending on your visa and what level of priority you require. Call us today on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929 or you can contact us online.

Read Article
Student stepping outside, through glass door
17 May 2024

Study Gap for UK Student Visa from Nigeria

You may want to take a break from your studies before applying to study in the UK; but do study gaps impact your UK Study visa and do UK universities offer courses for international students?
Immigration Advice Service (IAS) can help you apply for a Study visa in the UK and provide advice on your study gap. Call us on +44 (0) 3316300929 and +23413438882, or message us online.

Read Article

Get in touch with our team

Learn about our professional services and find out how we can help.

Contact Us