USA and the UK
What are penalty points?
Breaking the law on UK roads can lead to points being added to driving licences. Different points are awarded depending on the criminal offence or crime committed and, in some cases, if a large number of points are given then it can lead to a driving ban. As a result, this could undermine a citizenship application under the good character requirement. If a person has received numerous fixed penalty offences rather than points then it could also mean a failure of the good character requirement so it is important to seek advice before applying. If drivers receive more than 12 points in total, then they will be prevented from driving for three years. For drivers who passed their car test less than two years ago, then the limit is six points before a driving ban is enforced. Points remain on a licence for between 4 and 11 years so breaking the law and receiving an offence can have long term implications for anyone applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
How are the points awarded?
There are numerous driving offences that can result in points being attached to a driving licence. However, the most common road traffic offences are speeding, driving without due care and attention, driving a car while disqualified or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Penalty points can also be given if a driver uses a mobile phone while in charge of a vehicle. Drink driving offences can also have a sentence imposed as a result of criminal proceedings. Other possible reasons for points being given by the police include leaving the scene of an accident, parking in a dangerous place, driving a car without insurance or driving a non-road-worthy car/van or bike. Parking tickets are usually regarded as civil offences rather than being classed as a criminal offences but the guidance suggests applicants may still need to declare them when they apply for citizenship.
What is the impact of fixed penalty notices?
Fixed penalty notices do not usually result in court action but there are still seen as a criminal conviction. In addition, failure to pay fines or having numerous fixed penalty notices could be viewed as an issue that may lead to a rejection for UK citizenship. Any fines that are referred for legal action for non-payment will be treated as a driving conviction, so it is important that a fines payment is settled as quickly as possible. If a person failed to pay notices in the past, it could have an impact on any subsequent application to become a British citizen. Anyone caught committing a motoring offence by the police, such as drink driving, may face court action or receive a fixed penalty notice. The latter is usually used when there is clear evidence that the law has been broken – for example, an offender is captured breaking the speed limit by a camera – and, although it is a law breaking offence, it reduces the time and cost involved with court action.
Do traffic offences need to be declared?
Not all traffic offences will lead to a criminal record, however it is important for people applying for a British passport to be upfront about any potential issues and understand what must be disclosed to the UK government otherwise they risk a failed application. Failure to declare or omit information could be seen as a deliberate attempt to mislead and lead to an automatic refusal due to bad character. It is likely that background checks conducted by the Home Office could uncover any convictions, including drink driving offences, and this could prevent any future applications for a passport.
Are there other criminal convictions that should be disclosed?
As well as traffic offences, it is important to note there are a number of past convictions that should be disclosed when making British citizenship applications in order to comply with immigration law. Failure to reveal such crimes could lead to a delay in the whole process, refused citizenship or an application being refused because of missing information about a criminal conviction. Guidance states the following could have an impact on the Home Office assessment of a person’s good character:
- Financial affairs
- Immigration-related issues including assisting illegal entry or illegal migration
- Public order offences
- Assisting family members with criminal acts
- Dishonesty in the + or the English language test
How do I apply for a UK passport?
Once you have become a British citizen and attended your citizenship ceremony, you can apply for your first UK passport straight away. You can apply online using the application form available on the gov.uk website or you can also get an application form from your local UK post office and apply by post. When applying, there are several documents you will need to submit, they include:
- A certificate of naturalisation or registration
- The passport you used to enter the UK
- If applying with a paper form you will need to send two passport sized photographs, one of which must be signed by a counter signatory to prove your identity
You must submit original copies of the above documents. After you apply, you may need to attend a passport interview to prove your identity. Following the application you should allow up to 10 weeks to receive your passport.
How we can help you to apply for British citizenship and your British passport
Applying for British citizenship is an incredibly complex process, there are a number of strict requirements that you will need to meet and you will need to provide a substantial amount of supporting documents throughout the application process.
Here at IAS we have a team of lawyers that specialise in UK immigration law, they can assist you with every aspect of the British citizenship application process. We have lawyers based in areas across the UK and United States but if you cannot make it to one of our offices in person we also offer all of our services remotely.
Our lawyers can help you to fill in the British citizenship application form, assist you with gathering all of the required documents and write you a Letter of Representation to support your application. They will also be there to answer any question you may have about the Life in the UK Test, other requirements or any aspect of the application process.
Once you have been successfully granted British citizenship you can apply for your first UK passport. The application form can be complex and your application maybe refused if you make a mistake. We offer an application checking service that will see one of our lawyers thoroughly check your application for any mistakes or inaccuracies before it is submitted.
For more information about how our lawyers can help you to apply for British citizenship or a UK passport, get in touch today on +1 844 290 6312.
Last modified on September 21st, 2022 at 6:19 am
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