Dear Mr Bassie,
my citizenship through my wife. I must admit, when I made the application, I was not completely truthful.
Now, I am going through a divorce with my wife and she is threatening to tell the authorities. She says I will lose my citizenship. Please tell me if this is so as I am very worried.
There are several reasons that could cause the authorities to deprive persons of their British citizenship.
Your British citizenship may be revoked if they find you have obtained your registration or naturalisation by fraud, concealing facts that would have affected their decision, or just giving false information. When it is taken away, this is known as deprivation of citizenship.
Deprivation of citizenship may occur for a number of reasons. These reasons may include actions or matters brought to light such as persons obtaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK by not stating their true nationality, perhaps, even acquiring false documents to secure citizenship, or even being found to have cheated in the "Life in the United Kingdom test."
Other reasons could be, having concealed information that may show a person not of good character; such as concealed convictions overseas, or, if a person obtained citizenship as the spouse of a British citizen but it could be proven that the person was not validly married to that person.
Another reason would be, if, in the opinion of the authorities, it would be in the public's interest. It should be noted, a person may not be subject to deprivation if, as a consequence, he/she would be made stateless.
Further, if you are deprived of citizenship, then on the date the order is issued, you will cease being a citizen. As a result, you will no longer be able to hold a British passport. Also, any rights you may have had to live in the UK may be lost, and in instances of a serious nature, you may be removed from the UK.
You should be aware that members of the public are encouraged to contact the authorities' deprivation team if it is thought that someone may have obtained citizenship by fraud, false representation or concealing material fact. However, the reporting party would need to give reasons and explain why he/she thinks the authorities should remove the person's citizenship, and also give details of any evidence that he/she may possess to prove this.
So, if your wife can offer proof or valid evidence that you had not told the truth when you made your application for citizenship, you could be subject to deprivation of citizenship.
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises in Jamaica. He is a Supreme Court-appointed mediator and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.