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Applying for a UK visa or citizenship with a criminal conviction on your record?

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by UK Immigration Lawyers in India & UK

Published on: 22 Nov 2021
Reading time: Approx 5 mins

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Applying for British Citizenship with a criminal record is difficult and often comes with its challenges. There are thresholds followed by the UK immigration laws when it comes to certain convictions. The Home Office also looks at the length of the criminal sentence, not necessarily the amount of time spent in prison. Some allow you to enter the UK after a given time frame since the conviction, and other applications with serious charges are bound to be refused.

There have been changes in the provisions recently, which affects most immigration applications under the immigration rules. Those looking to formalise their immigration status in the UK by making applications for indefinite leave to remain or to naturalise as British citizens will need to look at their personal histories to assess whether past criminal convictions will impact the success of their applications.

To apply for British citizenship successfully, you have to be of ‘good character’ under the British nationality Act 1981. The Act does not describe a specific definition of ‘good character’ but over the years, the Home Office has issued guidance on – what is meant by good character and the relevance of past criminal convictions on it.

A criminal record may affect the success of your application, but disclosing this information is mandatory!
Home Office has issued clear guidance about whether you need to mention your previous offences, regardless of how long ago they occurred.

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Quoting the guidance

“Immigration applicants are required to disclose all offences and consequent penalties both in the UK and overseas, in addition to other relevant information about their conduct, character and associates. Application forms make clear to applicants where they must disclose this information and that failure to declare it may lead to refusal of the application.”

The warnings are clear that the failure to disclose this information is likely to be considered as false representation or deception, leading to a refusal. This is why, to avoid a refusal for non-disclosure, the applicant must declare all convictions and police cautions on the application.

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Important read: Which criminal convictions affect UK visa? Explained by The SmartMove2UK

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Criminal record certificates for UK visas

An overseas criminal record certificate for a UK visa, where you have lived for 12 years or more (continuous or in total) is mandatory to apply for entry clearance under any of the following visa routes, in the 10 years before your application, while aged 18 and above.

  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Investor)
  • Skilled worked in education, health or social care sectors
  • Dependent partner (over 18 years old) of the main applicant in any of the above routes, either together with the main applicant or separately.

Not all countries have functioning criminal record regimes or refuse to provide them to anyone other than their citizens.

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Conclusion

Applying for citizenship or a green card with a criminal record is tricky and consists of many provisions that the applicant must be aware of. More importantly, applicants must declare any convictions from the past or present, or it will be considered as false representation or deception.

The SmartMove2UK has helped many with minor or complicated convictions on their record to move to the UK. Our UK immigration lawyers based in India – Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru & Chandigarh and UK – London, consult clients thoroughly and are here to resolve all your doubts.

We consult our online via Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp by guiding them into a successful move to the UK. If you would like to walk in for an offline consultation, you can do so at our offices currently in Mumbai & Delhi.

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What are the Challenges in Obtaining the UK Spouse Visa? Read here

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You can look at the options below, if you want to connect with a UK Spouse Visa Lawyer or Expert

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FAQ’s

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A criminal record can have a bad impact on current or future immigration procedures. Those seeking permission to enter the UK will be refused if they have previously been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by at least 12 months imprisonment.
Yes, having a criminal record does affect a visa application to the UK, regardless, you must declare your current or prior convictions in the applications because not doing so is considered false representation or deception.
You can, but you need to meet certain criteria and be considered of good character to be granted British citizenship, and the officials will consider your criminal record and whether you abide by the laws of the UK.
Yes, you can apply for citizenship if you are convicted of low-level crimes, provided to declare your current or prior convictions in the applications because not doing so is considered false representation or deception.
If you do have a criminal record to your application, a large portion of the questions will be about your criminal history. To begin with, you must be completely honest with the interviewer, it is critical.

Some questions you may be asked related to your criminal record are:

  • Do you or your spouse have a criminal record?
  • If yes, how long has it been since the conviction?
  • What was the intensity of the crime?
  • Were you directly responsible for it?
  • Were you under the influence of any illegal substances?
  • Are you still associated with such activities?

Some questions you may be asked related to your marriage visa are:

  • Where and when did you meet?
  • What do the two of you have in common?
  • When was your first date?
  • How long was it before you decided to get married?

You may be asked more questions relevant to you and your partner’s relationship.

You can find necessary information and advice on the application process for British citizenship on the uk.gov website.

You can find necessary information and advice on the application process for British citizenship on the gov.uk website.

The nationality application makes it clear that you must disclose all pending matters. Failure to do so may be seen as an attempt to deceive UKVI.
Yes, overseas convictions are usually treated just as convictions from the UK. The Home Office will use the sentence you received as a starting point when deciding whether the conviction will impact their decision on granting you citizenship.

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Know the Challenges Faced by Sole Representatives, Click here

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The post The SmartMove2UK’s guide for UK visa applicants with criminal records appeared first on The SmartMove2UK.