A change in the Home Office’s good character policy for citizenship applications
Updated: Feb 27
When we think about the Good Character Requirement in Immigration law, the things that come to mind are criminal activity and harmful acts to people etc. However, it is much stricter than that. Many people sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally, overstay their visa, however, with the new Good Character Requirement it is important to keep track of when your visa expires and you’re due to leave the UK. Why? Because unless you have a few minor exceptions, your application for British Citizenship will be refused. This is overstaying within the last 10 years.
The law on overstaying has evolved over the years. Back until 2014, overstayers applications would not be penalised and applications would not be refused when there is no evidence to doubt their character. This was then expanded to having illegal entry being a ground for refusal if they have failed to report, failed to comply with any conditions imposed under the Immigration Acts, or where the individual has been found to be working in the UK without permission to do so.
Although this reform may be strict, the positive to it is that all applicants know exactly where they stand, and the guidance is clear. If you are aware you have overstayed in the last 10 years, applicants know to wait 10 years before applying, unless they want their application refused.