Learn how traffic offences affect your ILR and citizenship application
Applying for ILR after spending many years in the UK can be stressful. It is the final immigration application you will make to the Home Office. A mistake when applying for ILR can lead to you and potentially your family having to up sticks and lead the UK for good, losing jobs and taking children out of school. This can be very disruptive on the life of a family. If you have had the misfortune of making a mistake while driving then read our FAQs below that answer many of the most common questions ILR Applicants have when preparing to apply.
How will the traffic offence show up on my criminal record?
It depends on the type of offence you receive. The general rule is if you go to court then it will be on a record somewhere. If you only receive a fine such as a fixed penalty notice, then this will not show up providing you pay and don’t go to court. It is worth noting that most traffic offences that go to court will not show up on a police report you apply for or see such as the Police National Computer (PNC). This is because the police reports are the typical standard or general report that only includes more serious crimes. To show any traffic offences such as caught with no insurance or careless driving then the organisation checking your criminal records would have to obtain an extended police record. If you have a serious driving offence on your record it can cause an issue with your good character requirement for British citizenship application.
These are usually only obtained in circumstances where an employer needs to check and employee. an example would be if someone applies to work in a hospital or in a nursery, the employer would obtain an extended record of your history to ensure there is nothing that could be an issue. So the short answer is that, even an offence that goes to court will not show up on most records that are used for the purposes of immigration like an ILR application. In saying that it is advisable to disclose all incidences where you have been to court or if you are expecting to go to court. Leaving this information out can cause many more problems due to deception or failing to declare vital information in your ILR application.
When is a traffic offence considered spent?
Most minor road traffic offences will stay on your driving record for 4 years. More serious driving offences will stay on your record longer. It is important to understand that driving record and how the Home Office perceive driving offences is different.
I went to court will I be refused ILR?
It depends on the nature of the offence. Generally there is a 24 months wait until you would be eligible to apply for ILR. You would therefore have to extend your visa until you qualified for ILR. This may not be possible if you are on a Tier 1 General visa now as that extension route is closed. For these visa holders it is best to consider switching to Tier 2 General, have your spouse obtain a Tier 2 General and switch in country as is now allowed to their dependent.
I received a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), how will this affect my ILR application?
A quote from the Home Office guidance for their staff in regards to ILR and fines: “Receiving one does not form part of a person’s criminal record as there is no admission of guilt. You must disregard them for the purposes of checking if they amount to a conviction for an offence. “ The only issue where a fine can become an issue is if you fail to pay it.
I’m extending my visa, will I be refused for a traffic offence?
You will not be refused for fixed penalty notices FPN or similar speeding fines that don’t go to court. Even when an offence goes to court and you are convicted your application will likely not be refused as the Home Office grounds for refusal do not warrant a refusal at this stage, unless the crime is of a very serious nature. It is only when you apply for ILR that your convictions will be considered as a way for grounds of refusal.
Should I challenge a police officers decision in court for a speeding or take a fine?
You may feel you are in the right and that the police officer has made a poor judgement. Although morally it may feel right to challenge their decision, the fact is most times a judge will side with a police officer. The problem with challenging a police officer’s decision is that it has to go to court and a judge decides. This then means you will have a court conviction on your record and changes your initial, simple fine to a fine in court, ultimately causing you lots of hassle with your immigration in the future. In the end, paying a fine of £60 and taking a few penalty points on your licence is safer than getting your ILR refused or having to pay to extend your leave until 24 months has passed.
I read someone was successful applying for ILR with a traffic offence in court, will I be ok?
Not all applications are equal and not all decisions follow the same strict guidelines. You should declare all convictions given in court on your application even if it doesn’t show on your record. Some people may chose not to provide this information in the hopes that the caseworker will not see a small fine in court on the PNC. This may be so, but if you fail to declare what is asked and are refused it can cost you a lot of money. You may fine yourself in trouble with the Home Office also for not declaring information on traffic offences that should have been. Also if someone is successful at ILR when they don’t declare convictions, they may be found out during their British Citizenship application causing them problems.
What are the most common traffic offences that could affect your Indefinite Leave to Remain application status?
- CD10 – Driving without due care and attention
- AC10 – Failing to stop after an accident
- CU10 – Using a vehicle with defective brakes
- CU30 – Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s)
- IN10 – Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks
- SP20 – Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)
- SP30 – Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road
- SP50 – Exceeding speed limit on a motorway
- TS10 – Failing to comply with traffic light signals
These codes will stay on a driving record for 4 years from the date of the offence. Other codes that could affect ILR eligibility can be found here and may stay on your driving record longer. Remember that driving record is different from criminal record which is different from immigration rule requirement.
Note that how the rules are interpreted may vary based on your individual circumstances. These FAQs are only meant as a guide to common questions relating to having a traffic offence and concerned about applying for ILR. If you are in doubt make sure you check all policy guidance and immigrations rules or contact us for assistance in preparing your ILR Application.
If you have had a traffic offence and require advice then you can avail of our £120 Immigration Advice Session. This will provide details in regards to if you can apply for ILR now and how it may affect current or future applications.