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Topic: Advisory: Updated Good Character Guidance for Nationality Applications  (Read 1651 times)

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Nationality Instructions - Chapter 18 (pdf)

Includes information about fixed penalty notices and penalty charge notices.
August 2008 - Tier 4 - Student Visa
February 2010 - Tier 1 - PSW
January 2012 - FLR(M)
June 2014 - ILR (finally!)

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Re: Advisory: Updated Good Character Guidance for Nationality Applications
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 03:25:46 PM »
I looked through this guidance specifically looking for information on traffic offences and extensive parking tickets (I have paid over $3,000 in parking tickets, but that was about 10 years ago).  I was looking at the guidance for applications made 31 December, 2012 or later.

If I am reading this correctly, it appears that minor offences are not considered “non-custodial offences” as long as they have a fixed penalty notice (FPN) and you have not been required to attend court (section 3.5.2).  The exception to this is if there were multiple fixed penalty notices within the last 12 months, in which case you should wait to apply until you do not have the multiple FPN in the previous 12 months (section 3.5.3). I don't think any of this will be a surprise, as I have read on the board previously that minor offences are generally not a big concern.

Apparently if the offence has been referred to court due to non-payment, or you challenge it and it is upheld by the court, then it’s considered as a conviction (section 3.5.4) – I would imagine as a “non-custodial offence”, in which case you would not meet the good character requirement until after 3 years have passed from the date of the conviction.  I went to traffic court a few years back to fight a speeding ticket, and they reduced the ticket but did not throw it out.  So I suppose the worst case scenario is that I be considered as having a non-custodial offence.  This seems somewhat excessive considering the severity (or lack thereof) of the crime, but if I am reading this correctly then those are the rules whether they’re liked or not.  I suppose there may be some discretion on the UKBA’s part in these situations – but I really have no idea.

The part that I found most interesting, however, is section 10.1 – Concealment of Minor Convictions or Charges.  “When the applicant has failed to disclose any (including minor) outstanding charge or conviction that would result in refusal of the application caseworkers should normally refuse the application.  In such cases, the applicant should be advised that an application for citizenship made within 10 years from the date of the refusal on these grounds would be unlikely to be successful.”

I understand this to mean that if minor offenses which would not affect the refusal of the application were not disclosed, then that would have no bearing on the application.  I certainly would not recommend intentionally withholding information, but I personally have no idea how I would go about getting information for the hundreds of parking tickets I have gotten 10+ years ago.  I also had a few speeding tickets from over the last 2-15 years which I do not have the details regarding – however I would be absolutely certain to include the details regarding the one I am aware may affect the application (the one that I went to court and had reduced – but was ultimately upheld). 
"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."
~ Bob Moawad

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Re: Advisory: Updated Good Character Guidance for Nationality Applications
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 10:41:17 PM »
I just registered to see if anyone has any opinions on this.

I'm a US citizen, originally from India. My dad made us move to the USA when I was 10 and frankly, I wish that never happened. I know most people here are proud Americans even if they become British too, but I can't wait to get rid of my US passport (and filing taxes!)

So I've been in the UK for 5 years and I am about to become eligible for ILR as an unmarried partner. I understand that after ILR, once I am married to my girlfriend, I can apply for naturalization straight away. But on reading this guidance, it struck me that the UKBA might see that as a marriage of convenience, since it would allow me to apply 1.5 years earlier (I was out of the UK on the dates in 2008 required for 5-year residence).

The thing is, we probably wouldn't get married right now if not for this reason, so it actually would be a "sham" marriage. If not for me needing my current visa, she probably would still be living with her parents, and I'd be in a 1-person flat. (It's been a good deal for me, we have a bigger place than I otherwise would and she pays half the rent and does half the chores :P)

Our parents approve and I have a ring and everything, but it's just that in our family weddings need to be planned 3-4 years in advance and we need to be 5 years older than we are right now. So if we did get married, it would be a quickie in a registry office with the "real" wedding to follow in several years. Which makes it look more like a fake.

So I'm torn between asking her to do this now and stressing over the UKBA for another 2 years. What do you guys think?

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Re: Advisory: Updated Good Character Guidance for Nationality Applications
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 11:49:06 PM »
Hello Grease,

You'll probably get more responses putting this in the main part of Visas and Citizenship.

I think only you can answer this question, but I'll try to give you some advice. My husband and I got married earlier than we wanted to, but I don't think it makes our marriage a sham, but we always knew marriage was on the cards eventually. I can understand your hesitation and I can also understand why you'd want to do this now instead of later because of how immigration law can change in a matter of years.

I don't regret marrying my husband when I did. Yes, we didn't have the big wedding. We were married at the registry office with only close relatives present, but your wedding is only one day and regarless of size, you'll still be married to the woman you love.  :)

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