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Does a Traffic Offence Affect British Citizenship or ILR in the UK?

Under the UK immigration good character requirements, in certain circumstances, a traffic offence may affect your chances of making a successful British citizenship or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) application. In this article, we will take a closer look at whether you should declare a traffic offence on your British citizenship or ILR application and whether a traffic offence will affect your application.

Declaring traffic offence on British citizenship or ILR application

When applying for British citizenship, there is considerable confusion regarding whether traffic offences should be disclosed, especially relatively minor ones resulting in a fixed penalty notice.

In practice, while not all traffic offences will be taken into consideration when determining if you are of “good character”. It is recommended that you provide details of all traffic offences on ILR or citizenship in your application.

Any traffic offence that resulted in you attending court must be disclosed on your citizenship or ILR application. In addition, any offence which results in an “out-of-court disposal” should be disclosed, including:

  • Warnings or reprimands
  • Community sentences
  • Civil orders
  • Civil penalties
  • Civil judgments, or
  • Restriction orders

In addition to minor parking and speeding offences, it is essential that you disclose any serious offences, such as:

  • Dangerous or careless driving
  • Driving a defective vehicle
  • Driving a vehicle without a valid driving licence
  • Driving a vehicle without insurance
  • Exceeding the speed limit for the type of vehicle you are driving
  • Excessive speeding on a motorway
  • Failing to comply with traffic light signals, or
  • Failing to stop after an accident

The Home Office states that fixed penalty notices such as speeding and parking tickets must be disclosed1, even though they won’t be taken into account when making a decision on your application.

It is also important to note that “spent” criminal convictions must also be disclosed. In other words, you will need to include any conviction, no matter when it occurred.

Not disclosing traffic offences may be viewed in a negative light and may result in your British citizenship refusal or an unsuccessful ILR application on the grounds of deception.

If you are unsure whether to disclose a traffic violation or whether a traffic offence will affect your ILR or citizenship, speak to one of our friendly and experienced immigration solicitors in complete confidence at 020 3744 2797 or by email at [email protected].

Will a traffic violation affect British citizenship application?

The immigration rules make it clear that fixed penalty notices (e.g. parking or speeding tickets) do not form part of a criminal record and will not be considered by the Home Office when making an assessment under the good character requirement. However, the rules do state that if you have not paid a fine resulting in criminal proceedings or you have received multiple fixed penalty notices, these will be taken into account when assessing “good character”.

If you have spent time in prison, depending on the duration of the sentence and the time since the end of the sentence, your ILR or citizenship application may still be granted by the Home Office as follows:

Sentence

Impact

Four years’ or more imprisonment

Application will normally be refused, regardless of when the conviction occurred.

Between 12 months’ and four years’ imprisonment

Application will normally be refused unless 15 years have passed since the end of the sentence.

Up to 12 months’ imprisonment

Applications will normally be refused unless ten years have passed since the end of the sentence.

A non-custodial sentence or another out-of-court disposal that is recorded on a person’s criminal record

Applications will normally be refused if the conviction occurred in the last three years


It is important to understand that when assessing “good character”, the Home Office will also take into account any attempts at deception and dishonesty. Even if a traffic offence would not normally affect your citizenship or ILR application, not disclosing it may result in a refusal. In this scenario, it is not the traffic violation which may result in the refusal but rather the non-disclosure of the traffic violation.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards specialises in all aspects of ILR and British citizenship applications. Our immigration solicitors can:

  • Discuss your prior traffic violation and whether you meet the good character requirements
  • Handle your ILR or citizenship application
  • Overcome a refusal of your application

For assistance with your ILR and citizenship application, please speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation at 020 3744 2797 or by email at [email protected].


References

1 GOV.UK: Guide AN Naturalisation Booklet: The Requirements and The Process

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