From 13 December 2012 changes were made to the nationality instructions. These changes affect anyone who is applying for British citizenship from 13 December 2012 onwards, particularly those with criminal convictions. Although there is no strict definition of ‘good character’ in the British Nationality Act 1981, the law makes it clear that each applicant over the age of ten who is making a nationality application must pass a ‘good character’ test in order to have their application approved. Before 12 December 2012, applications which featured a criminal conviction were decided with reference to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which enabled convictions to become ‘spent’ after a rehabilitation period. Spent convictions were not taken into account when assessing the good character requirement.
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