Deprivation procedure of British Citizenship

Last week we discussed why and how British citizenship can be nullified by the Home Office. This week we will take a closer look on deprivation procedure of British Citizenship.

The procedure of the deprivation of British citizenship is strictly regulated and must be in accordance with section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981. The applicant has the right to appeal the decision in the court. Deprivation procedure only apply for applicants with dual citizenship.

Usually cases of deprivation of citizenship are related to following categories:

  • false representation; or
  • the concealment  of  any  material  fact or on grounds of conduciveness to the public good (depriving in the public interest on the grounds of involvement in terrorism, espionage, serious organised crime, war crimes or unacceptable behaviours) or
  • fraud

The most frequent reasons for deprivation would be:

  • Undisclosed convictions or other information which would have affected  a  person’s  ability  to  meet  the  good character requirement
  • A marriage/civil partnership, which is found to be invalid or void, and so would have affected a person’s ability to meet the requirements for section 6(2)
  • False details given in relation to an immigration or asylum application, which  led  to  that  status  being  given  to  a person who would not otherwise have qualified,

If the fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact did not have a direct bearing on the grant of citizenship, it will not be appropriate to pursue deprivation action. For example, a  person  may  use  a different name if they wish: unless it conceals criminality, or other information relevant to an assessment of their good character, or immigration history in another identity it is not material to the acquisition of ILR or citizenship. 

In certain circumstances the Secretary of State will not deprive of British citizenship:

  • Where fraud postdates the application for British citizenship
  • If a person was a minor on the date at which they applied for citizenship
  • If a person was a minor on the date at which they acquired indefinite leave to remain and the false representation, concealment of material fact or fraud arose at that stage and the leave to remain led to the subsequent acquisition of citizenship we will not deprive of citizenship.

However, where it is in the public interest to deprive despite the presence of these factors they will not prevent deprivation.

The process of deprivation is much more complex compared to nullification. The caseworker should consider  whether deprivation would be seen to be a balanced and reasonable step to take, also   consider   any mitigating circumstances (for example mental or physical impairment), consider the impact of deprivation on the individual’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and on the individual’s rights under the European Law.

One of the examples of citizenship deprivation:

Applicant entered the UK in April 2002 and applied for naturalisation as a spouse of the British national on 1 May 2005.  In support of his application he provided his UK marriage  certificate  and  his  wife’s  British  citizen  passport.    It  has  now emerged that he was previously married in Germany and had not in fact obtained a divorce from his first wife. If Home office knew that the applicant was not married to a British citizen at the time of application, we would not be naturalised. Therefore Home Office should consider deprivation action.

Famous case of deprivation happened in 2010, when British government made a decision to deprive the citizenship from Russian spy Anna Chapman. Ms Chapman was among 10 Russians arrested in the US who admitted to being agents for a foreign country. Her case was based on depriving in the public interest on the grounds of involvement in espionage. Initially she got naturalised after marring British citizen Briton Alex Chapman in 2002.

Deprivation cases can be complex and there are several factors that can be considered. As it attracts the right of appeal, it is important to obtain professional legal advice if such matters arise.

At LF Legal we can assist and advise clients who face deprivation of their British national or have any concerns regarding their British nationality.

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