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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Good Character Requirement Abolished for Certain Applications for Registration as a British Citizen

15 March 2018 Personal Immigration McGill & Co Solicitors

Today the UK Government laid a draft remedial order before Parliament to amend the good character requirement for British citizenship applications. The order will remove the good character requirement for registration applications under the following sections of the British Nationality Act 1981:

  1. section 4C i.e. application by those born before 1 January 1983 to British mothers;
  2. section 4G i.e. applications by those born between 1 January 1983 and 1 July 2006 to a British father who was not married to the applicant’s mother at the time of the birth;
  3. section 4I i.e. applications by those born before 1 January 1983 to a British father who was not married to the applicant’s mother at the time of the birth.

The good character requirement will also be removed for applications under section 4F, however only where registration is based on the applicant being stateless. Section 4F applies to those who would have been eligible for registration as British citizens whilst they were under 18 had their father been married to their mother at the time of their birth.

The remedial order has been issued to address the declaration of incompatibility made by the Supreme Court in Johnson v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 56 (see our post on this case at the time here). In this case the court held that imposing a good character requirement on those who, but for their parents’ marital status, would have automatically acquired citizenship at birth interfered with the applicant's right to respect for private and family life, was discriminatory, and was therefore incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998.

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