Nullification of British citizenship

The new data from Home Office shows that since 2013 hundreds of British citizens have unlawfully lost their citizenship. According to the Freedom of Information request, there were 262 cases of nullification of British citizenship from 2007 to 2017, of which 176 happened in 2013. In December 2017, Supreme Court in overwhelming majority decision, found that the nullification of citizenship were unlawful. Currently, the Status Review Unit reconsidering the historic applications made during the particular period. Home Office can either nullify or deprive citizenship. Today we will tell you about the nullification procedure. The nullification of the citizenship is far more difficult to challenge and has no right of appeal.  

If the citizenship is nullified, this means the individual is regarded as never having been granted the citizenship in the first place. Where a person’s citizenship has been declared null and void, they will revert to their previous immigration status. If they still hold valid leave in an immigration category, this will continue if the criteria for granting such leave remains fulfilled

Circumstances in which a registration or naturalisation may be a nullity

  1. It is discovered that the applicant is not the intended recipient of the grant.

a) the applicant  has  given  false  information  or  concealed information concerning their identity, for example giving a false name, giving  a  false  date  of  birth  (particularly  if  this means the applicant was treated as a minor rather than an adult or visa versa), giving a false place of birth, giving a false nationality or concealing possession of a nationality,  misrepresenting    or    concealing    personal    and domestic circumstances (such as whether a person is a refugee in fear of ethnic persecution). In this scenario, whether nullity action is appropriate will depend on the nature, quality and extent of any fraud, deception or concealment.

b) the applicant has created an entirely new false identity.

c) the applicant    is    using    someone    else’s    identity    (i.e. impersonation).

       2. The applicant already has the status

The applicant has erroneously applied for registration or naturalisation and it is discovered that he already has British citizenship automatically (e.g. by birth.)

A person whose citizenship is declared null and void has no statutory right of appeal, but could seek to challenge the decision by way of Judicial Review. Citizenship nullification could also affect the position of applicant’s spouse or other relatives whose own immigration or citizenship status was secured on the basis of the person’s claimed citizenship status.

As an example we will tell you about one of the real cases when the court made a decision to nullify the citizenship. The applicant, Sultan Mahmood, assumed the identity of his deceased cousin, Javed Iqbal, in order to gain admission to the United Kingdom. A certificate of registration was issued to him in the assumed identity 12 months later. He then purported to revert to his original name by executing a deed poll. The deception later came to light and he was detained pending removal as an illegal immigrant under the 1971 Act.  In the above case it was clear that the grant of citizenship was a nullity as the applicant was not who he claimed to be and the person whose details were on the application was deceased.  Therefore the grant of citizenship was a nullity.

At LF Legal our team of experts can advise you about the legality of nullification of citizenship and in case of unlawful nullification we can assist you to challenge the decision by way of Judicial Review.

Next week we will talk about the deprivation procedure and possible reasons for it.

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