UK Naturalisation: Answering the Question “Have You Made Any Previous UK Immigration Applications in the UK or Abroad?”
Having reached the point where you can now apply to be naturalised as a citizen in the UK, you will likely be keen to get the process underway and completed. While applying, one of the questions you will come across is, “have you made any previous UK immigration applications in the UK or abroad?” Understandably, this puts some applicants on the ‘back-foot’, as they are unsure why this is being asked and how thorough they need to be. Indeed, we often receive phone calls from citizenship applicants who are worried about answering this question incorrectly, or whether their immigration application history may risk a refusal. In this article, we will look at the UK naturalisation application form question, “Have you made any previous UK immigration applications in the UK or abroad?” to discuss what it means for applicants.
Make Sure You Read The Question Before Answering
It is not uncommon for naturalisation applicants to read this question incorrectly, and think they have to list all of their past immigration applications in the UK and all other countries. The question is only asking about your UK immigration applications, whether these were made in the UK or from another country. Knowing this will save you a great deal of time trying to re-trace your steps and list every single immigration application you have ever made. Rather you can just focus on the applications made for the UK.
Do EU Nationals Need To Answer This Question?
EU nationals may not need to answer this section of the naturalisation application form as they (until the end of 2020) are not required to complete immigration applications. If an EU citizen living in the UK who is applying for citizenship has acquired EU settled status, then this would be classified as an immigration application and will need to be included.
Why Am I Being Asked This Question?
This question is being asked so that the person assessing your application for naturalisation can see whether you have been refused by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in the past. It can also allow them to see if you have had a visa curtailed or cancelled due to non-compliance with your visa conditions.
What Type Of Immigration Applications Should I Include?
For the sake of completeness, it is preferable to include all of your previous applications to the UK Home Office, whether for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), or for a work, family, study, or any other type of visa. Your list should also include any visitor visas you have applied for. Applications made inside and outside of the UK must be included. In addition, if you have ever applied for asylum or refugee status in the UK, the rules require that this also be added to the application for naturalisation.
It is advisable to complete this section as fully as you can to avoid a refusal on the basis of not providing all of the information required by the Home Office.
What Information Do I Need To Provide To The Home Office?
The questions under this section of the naturalisation application form are as follows:
- Have You Made Any Previous UK Immigration Applications in the UK or Abroad? – answer yes or no. For each application, you will then need to provide:
- Name in which you made the application
- Date of application (if known)
- Your Home Office reference number
- Whether the application made in the UK – yes or no?
- Were your fingerprints taken as part of this application?
It is important to note that some of these sub-questions say “if known”; If you don’t have the application reference number, you can leave this blank. If you don’t have the exact date, you can either leave the field blank or put in an approximate date. Ideally, you should try to put one or the other in to provide a reference point for the person assessing your application.
What If I Have Been Refused A Previous Immigration Application?
When assessing your application, the Home Office case officer will want to ensure that you are of ‘good character’. Part of this is about checking whether you have had an immigration application refused, cancelled or curtailed, and why. For example, they will look for any evidence of deception; “If you have practised deception in your dealings with the Home Office or other Government Departments (such as by providing false information or fraudulent documents), this will be taken in to account in considering whether you meet the good character requirement. Your application will be refused if you have attempted to deceive the Home Office within the last ten years)”.
As long as any previous adverse UK immigration history does not suggest criminality, deception, or that you have breached the rules, then this should not affect your application. For example, if you were working in the UK on a Tier 2 visa and your employer lost their sponsor license for circumstances out of your control, the curtailment of your visa would not count against you.
If you are due to make an application for naturalisation in the UK and you are unsure whether answering this question fully may jeopardise your case, then it is important to seek legal advice from an immigration solicitor. If you have had a visa application refused in the past, or your visa was cancelled, a Solicitor can draft a supporting letter explaining the circumstances. This will ensure that the case officer reviewing your application has the full picture, and will be able to take the explanation into account when making a decision. By taking the time to answer this question correctly and thoroughly, you will increase the chances of receiving a positive outcome.