How Can I Challenge Deprivation of Citzenship in the UK ?
Under the British Nationality Act 1981, the Secretary of State has the right to deprive (i.e. remove) a person of their British citizenship if certain grounds apply. The impact of depriving a person of their citizenship can be deeply devastating, both for the individual concerned and their family members. In this article, we will review the grounds for deprivation of citizenship and what you can do if you have been deprived of your British citizenship.
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Who Can Be Affected by the Deprivation of Citizenship?
The law governing the deprivation of citizenship (British Nationality Act 1981) is not just limited to British citizens, it also refers to the following types of status:
- A British overseas territories citizen,
- A British Overseas citizen,
- A British National (Overseas),
- A British-protected person, or
- A British subject.
As such, if you hold any of these types of status, it can be cancelled by the Home Office if any of the grounds for deprivation of citizenship apply.
What Are the Legal Grounds for Deprivation of Citizenship?
There are two main grounds on which the Secretary of State can use to deprive a person of any of the above types of citizenship status:
Ground 1: If deprivation of citizenship is conducive to the public good
Section 40(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states that the Secretary of State can deprive a person of their citizenship status if they are satisfied that deprivation is “conducive to the public good”. “Conducive to the public good” in this sense means that a person poses a threat to the UK or where there is a high risk of them causing harm. This may be the case where a person has been involved in the following:
- Matters of national security (e.g. espionage and acts of terrorism)
- Unacceptable behaviour, such as the ‘glorification’ of terrorism
- War crimes, or
- Serious organised crime
The power to deprive a person of their citizenship because it is conducive to the public good is supposed to be used sparingly and in full compliance with the ‘United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness’. This means that the Secretary of State cannot normally issue a deprivation of citizenship order if it would make the person receiving the order stateless. Section 40(4A) of the British Nationality Act 1981 does, however, go on to say that there is nothing to prevent the Secretary of State from making an order for deprivation of citizenship if conducive to the public good if:
- The citizenship status resulted from naturalisation
- The person has conducted him or herself in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom, any of the Islands, or any British overseas territory, and
- The person is likely to be able to become a national of another country or territory.
Ground 2: If citizenship was obtained through fraud, false representations, or concealment of material facts
Section 40(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 also states that a person can be deprived of their citizenship status if their citizenship registration or naturalisation was obtained by fraud, false representation, or concealment of a material fact.
As confirmed by the Court of Appeal in the case of AA (Nigeria)  EWCA Civ 773 and reiterated in the Home Office’s guidance ‘Suitability: false representations, deception, false documents, nondisclosure of relevant facts’, in order for an application to be refused on the ground of false representations “Dishonesty or deception is needed, albeit not necessarily that of the applicant”. This may refer to false representations given in an interview, on an application form, or further submissions or representations.
To deprive a person of their citizenship, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the act of fraud, false representation, or concealment was ‘directly material’ to the granting of citizenship by the Home Office. In addition, because the legal standard of proof is on a ‘balance of probabilities’, it must be more likely than not that the applicant deliberately and dishonestly made false representations, submitted false documents or failed to disclose material facts.
Appealing Deprivation of Citizenship
Deprivation of citizenship always comes with the right to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) or Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC). Appeals are considered by the SIAC, where information cannot be made public. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it is possible to appeal because the decision was unlawful or without merit.
How Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors Can Help You Challenge Deprivation of UK Citizenship
Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors can help you if you have been deprived of UK Citizenship or face the possibility of deprivation. Our experienced solicitors are knowledgeable in all aspects of immigration law, including deprivation of citizenship proceedings and have a high track record of success in helping clients appeal and overturn such matters.
We understand that the process of being deprived of citizenship can be very stressful, and we will provide you with the best possible advice and guidance to ensure a successful outcome for your case. Our team will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive strategy for handling your case, ensuring that all legal procedures are followed correctly and that you have the best chance of success.
We will provide you with the most up-to-date advice on UK immigration law to ensure that your case is properly presented and that all necessary documents are submitted in a timely manner. We will also assist you in understanding the various legal processes involved in deprivation of citizenship cases so that you can make informed decisions throughout.
According to a publication by the House of Commons Library, at least 767 citizenship deprivation orders were made from 2010 to 2021, of which 550 were related to fraud and 217 were for the “public good”. What is much less clear is how many appeals were successful during this time. Regardless of your situation, if you have received an order depriving you of your citizenship, it is vital to seek expert immigration advice. By taking timely and appropriate action, an immigration solicitor will give you the best possible chance of making a successful appeal and restoring your British citizenship status.
Gulbenkian Andonian specialises in the most complex and urgent immigration applications and appeals cases. Our immigration appeal solicitors have successfully assisted many individuals and their family members in overcoming overwhelming odds to remain in the UK; let us do the same for you. Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below to discuss your matter with one of our friendly and empathetic team
FAQs about Deprivation of UK Citizenship
Deprivation of Citizenship in the UK is the process where the government revokes a person’s British citizenship. It is carried out by the UK government, with the Secretary of State from the Home Office having the authority to make the decision, as per the British Nationality Act 1981. Deprivation can occur if the person’s actions are considered seriously prejudicial to the UK’s vital interests or if they hold dual citizenship and acquired British citizenship via naturalisation. The Secretary of State must evaluate if the deprivation would result in statelessness.
The main reasons that UK citizenship can be deprived by the Secretary of State are: fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining a UK passport or naturalisation certificate, providing false information in order to gain any benefit under the Immigration Act 1971, being convicted of an offence and being sentenced to a period of imprisonment for more than four years, involvement in terrorism-related activities, or being a dual national and having served in the armed forces of another country. Further, in cases where a person has obtained UK citizenship through naturalisation, the Secretary of State may decide to deprive them of their nationality if they cease to normally live in the UK for more than three years in any four-year period. In all cases, however, the Secretary of State will take into account a person’s human rights before making their decision, and they must be satisfied that depriving someone of their nationality is in the public interest. If the Secretary of State decides to deprive someone of their UK citizenship, they have the right to seek immigration advice from a legal team and appeal this decision in court.
Only individuals holding dual citizenship and acquiring British citizenship through naturalisation are eligible for Deprivation of Citizenship in the UK. Citizens born in the UK or through descent cannot be deprived but can still face removal from the country via other means. In any case, a thorough evaluation of the individual’s circumstances must be undertaken before making a decision to revoke their citizenship. The Secretary of State will consider all evidence presented and decide if the deprivation is appropriate in the interests of national security.
The Secretary of State for Home Affairs considers various factors, as outlined in this article before making a decision on Deprivation of Citizenship. Human rights implications and the individual’s statelessness status are also considered. The process also includes a right of appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
Yes, a person can appeal the decision through the courts within 28 days of the original decision. The appeal process involves a review of the decision by a higher court, and the individual can seek legal representation. To get the best possible outcome, an individual who is having their citizenship deprived should seek guidance and representation from a team of immigration lawyers like ours at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors.
If a person is deprived of their citizenship, they lose their status as a British citizen and their rights to live, work, and access services in the UK. They may also face travel difficulties and lose their right to vote and use a British passport. In some cases, removal from the UK may also be imposed. It is important to seek legal advice before making any decisions related to deprivation of citizenship.
If you or a family member are facing deportation, removal, or deprivation of citizenship in the UK, it is vital that you seek expert legal advice. We at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors are experienced in handling complex and sensitive cases of deprivation, helping clients to successfully challenge decisions, and providing the best possible outcome. Our team is committed to providing comprehensive legal support and tailored advice every step of the way. We understand that this can be a difficult process and are here
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.