UK has imposed new good character requirement for citizenship applications launched on or after Jan 14, 2019. All citizenship decisions will be made based on this new policy guidance.

The new policy also applies  to children applications for registration and naturalisation from those who are aged 10 or over at the time the application is made.


The good character requirement previously only existed for naturalisation as a British citizen. It was subsequently introduced by section 58 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 as a requirement for specific routes to registration as a British citizen.

Section 47 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 inserted section 41A into the British Nationality Act 1981 (‘the BNA 1981’) on 13 January 2010, extending the good character requirement to other registration routes including to a person registering as a British Overseas Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen or British Subject.


The new policy has been changed by adding new sections and details

New sections

  • application of the good character requirement to minors
  • absolute and conditional discharges
  • detention and training orders
  • extremism
  • deportation orders
  • NHS debt
  • failing to pay litigation costs

Added details

  • overseas convictions
  • fixed penalty notices
  • non-compliance with immigration requirements, notably overstaying,absconders and illegal working
  • Article 31 of the Refugee Convention
  • humanitarian protection
  • genuine mistakes

Good characters

A person will not normally be considered to be of good character if there is information to suggest that any of the following apply:

1. Criminality

If they have not respected or are not prepared to abide by the law – for example, they have been convicted of a crime or there are reasonable grounds to suspect, meaning it is more likely than not, they have been involved in crime.

If they have been involved in or associated with war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, terrorism, or other actions that are considered not to be conducive to the public good.

2. Financial soundness

If their financial affairs have not been in appropriate order – for example, they have failed to pay taxes for which they were liable or have accrued significant debt.

3. Notoriety

If their activities have been notorious and cast serious doubt on their standing in the local community.

4. Deception and dishonesty

If they have been deliberately dishonest or deceptive in their dealings with the UK government, for example they have made false claims in order to obtain benefits.

5. Immigration-related matters

If they have breached immigration laws, for example by overstaying, working in breach of conditions or assisting in the evasion of immigration control.

6. Deprivation

If they have previously been deprived of citizenship.

This is a non-exhaustive list. If the person does not clearly fall into one of the categories outlined above but there are doubts about their character,  applications may be refused.