British Citizenship or Naturalisation Refusal Reasons and What to Do
The options available to you will largely depend on the reasons for your refusal. Unfortunately, there is no legal right of appeal if your British citizenship application is refused; this applies whether you applied through the process of registration or naturalisation.
The options available to you if your British citizenship or naturalisation is refused may include:
- Requesting reconsideration of your application
- Ask the Home Office to reopen your case
- Submitting a fresh citizenship application
Requesting reconsideration of your citizenship application
You can ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision if you do not agree with the reasons for refusal. You can ask for a reconsideration of your citizenship application by completing and submitting ‘Form NR Reconsideration of decisions to refuse British citizenship’1. You will also need to pay a fee of £372. If your decision is reversed and citizenship granted, this fee may be refunded to you.
If your application for reconsideration of your citizenship application is not successful, you may be able to request a Judicial Review. A Judicial Review means that you are challenging the legal basis for the refusal of your citizenship application. The process of applying for a Judicial Review can be lengthy and costly; hence it is important to seek legal advice from an immigration solicitor before considering this option. An immigration solicitor will follow the correct process for Judicial Review, including the pre-action protocol. In some cases, it may be possible for an early decision to be reached before proceeding to court.
Ask the Home Office to reopen your case
The Home Office will only reopen your citizenship application in limited circumstances, including where they:
- Used the wrong requirements or criteria when making the decision
- Refused your application due to a lack of response to enquiries, but you had replied with the necessary information, and this was not linked to your application
- Made their decision without allowing enough time for you to reply to enquiries
- Made the decision to refuse your application based on character grounds due to a criminal conviction; however, this was later quashed on appeal or involved a case of mistaken identity
- Did not consider some items of documentation information in our possession which would have altered the decision made
As such, you should only consider asking for your case to be reopened if you believe your refusal was due to any of the above reasons.
Submitting a fresh citizenship application
An immigration solicitor may recommend preparing and submitting a fresh citizenship application if the Home Office is unlikely to reconsider or reopen your application and you do not have grounds for a Judicial Review. This is typically recommended where you are eligible for citizenship, but you made errors in your application which led to the refusal. It may also be the case that you need to wait a little longer to meet the eligibility requirements for citizenship, at which point you can submit a fresh application.
Common reasons for refusal of British citizenship
British citizenship applications, whether through registration or naturalisation, may be refused for a number of reasons, including:
- Not being of good character
- Not meeting the eligibility requirements
- Not replying to queries raised by the Home Office
- Naturalisation refused due to employment history
- CCJ and British citizenship application
Refused due to character requirement
Your citizenship application may be refused if the Home Office believes that you have provided false information, have unspent criminal convictions, represent a threat to the UK, or it would not be conducive to the public good to accept your application. You may also be refused if you have breached the immigration rules during your time in the UK.
Not meeting the eligibility requirements
Citizenship applications may be refused if you do not meet the eligibility criteria, including if:
- you have not spent enough time in the UK
- there is no evidence you were born in the UK or that you have a British parent
- you have not held indefinite leave to remain (ILR), or EUSS settled status for 12 months or more
- you do not meet the English language requirements
- you have not passed the Life in the UK test
Not replying to queries raised by the Home Office
If the Home Office has written to you to request further information on your application and you do not reply correctly or within the required time, they may refuse your citizenship application.
Naturalisation refused due to employment history
As part of the naturalisation application process, you must provide full employment history. If the employment history provided is not complete or the dates provided are incorrect, your application for citizenship may be refused. We recommend making it clear in your application that the dates provided are approximate and based on memory if this is the case. Alternatively, you can ask HMRC for a copy of your employment history; this will ensure the dates you provide in your application are correct.
CCJ and British citizenship application
Your application for citizenship may be refused if you fail to disclose important information, such as an outstanding county court judgement (CCJ). You must declare a CCJ if:
- it is still on the register of CCJs,
- you have paid off the debt or are paying it off currently
How can Reiss Edwards help?
Reiss Edwards specialises in UK citizenship and naturalisation application. Our immigration solicitors can:
- Advise on the best way forward to secure citizenship if an application is refused by Home Office
- Handle your citizenship application reconsideration application
- Prepare and submit a fresh application
- Apply for a Judicial Review.
For assistance with a citizenship application refusal, please speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.