Addressing criminal convictions have always been tricky when it comes to making applications for Naturalisation. The nationality Good Character guidance tends to be very clear on some aspects and slightly grey in other areas; Driving convictions being a mixture of the two.
If you have been disqualified from driving, your application will normally be refused until your period of disqualification comes to an end.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) can also pose a problem. The Home Office will normally not consider FPNs unless a person has:
- failed to pay and there were criminal proceedings as a result; or
- received numerous fixed penalty notices which would suggest a pattern of behaviour that calls into question their character
This raises the question; how many FPNs suggest a pattern of behaviour?
After jumping those hurdles; what if you have driving convictions which have seen a certain amount of points put on your licence?
This is where the review of ‘cumulative non-custodial sentences’ is considered. The guidance states that ‘Decision makers may still refuse an application where a person’s record shows a ‘non-custodial offence or other out of court disposal’ older than 3 years, if the circumstances of the conviction or disposal call the person’s character into question.’
Naturalisation Drink Driving
In deciding your application, the Home Office will consider:
- The number of offences
- The period over which the offences were committed
- The nature of the offence e.g. driving without insurance, drink driving, violence or drug use
- Other historical or recent convictions
- Your age; and
- Any other factors relevant to your character
So it seems there is a wide scope for refusing applications and the Home Office aren’t afraid to use it. So now what?
The answer isn’t to just sweep them under the carpet and not mention them. If you’re found to have failed to disclose relevant convictions, pending or otherwise, the Home Office will normally refuse your application and any future applications made by you for a period of 10 years from the date of your first refusal.
The best thing to do is seek legal advice. If you’re told to wait it out, it’s more than likely that it’s for your own good!
Don’t let driving convictions stand in your way of acquiring the British citizenship you’ve worked so hard to get.