Q&As

How should the suitability provisions of Appendix FM be applied in spouse entry clearance applications where an applicant has overseas criminal convictions and was under 18 at the time?

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Produced in partnership with Gary McIndoe of Latitude Law
Published on LexisPSL on 10/05/2017

The following Immigration Q&A produced in partnership with Gary McIndoe of Latitude Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How should the suitability provisions of Appendix FM be applied in spouse entry clearance applications where an applicant has overseas criminal convictions and was under 18 at the time?
  • Convictions leading to a custodial sentence
  • Non-custodial sentences
  • General grounds of refusal

This Q&A relates to how custodial sentences and non-custodial matters affect consideration of entry clearance applications. It is limited to cover applications made under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.

The criteria for spouse entry clearance are set out in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. A series of ‘suitability’ and ‘eligibility’ criteria must be addressed when preparing an application. An entry clearance applicant’s good character is assessed with reference to the suitability provisions set out in Section S-EC. Some suitability grounds for refusal are mandatory; others are discretionary. For more information, see Practice Note: Appendix FM: the suitability requirements and the general grounds for refusal.

Note at the outset that a client must be advised to disclose all criminal convictions, cautions and other out of court disposal. Failure to do so is a discretionary ground for refusal itself:

‘S-EC.2.2. Whether or not to the applicant’s knowledge-

(a) false information, representations or documents have been submitted in relation to the application (including false information submitted to any person to obtain a document used in support of the application); or

(b) there has been a failure to disclose material facts in relation to the application.’

Nothing in the suitability provisions specifically addresses criminality while an applicant was a minor; it is therefore necessary to address all relevant suitability provisions when such offending is a feature of a client’s history.

Convictions leading to

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