Nationality checking service: Should I use it?

Is it worth using Nationality checking service?

What is it? If you are applying for Naturalisation as a British Citizen and would like to make sure that your application forms are correctly filled out and checked by a competent person then this is a good service to use. Nationality checking service is provided by various local authorities such as council offices in England, Scotland and Wales. Various council offices in Greater London also provide this service. At the time of writing this information there was no availability of Nationality checking service in Northern Ireland. How to use this service? The service is available by various council offices in the UK. You can check which council near you runs this service by visiting locating your nearest council office. Once you have chosen which council office you would like to go for, give them a ring and make an appointment.

How much does it cost? Nationality checking service fees vary depending on which council office you are going to visit but expect to pay about £65 (single applicant) to £175 (family of four) per application. The fee is normally requested at the time of booking an appointment and is mostly non-refundable even if you cannot attend your appointment.

Some local authorities also provide an express service. They charge extra money for the same service however it enables you to book an appointment within a shorter timescale.
What does this service provide? On the day of your appointment your naturalisation forms are checked if they are correctly filled out or not. Any supporting documents such as your passport and marriage certificate etc. are checked, copied and certified and sent with your forms. This is one of the best aspects of this service which means you do not have to send your original documents with your application. The service also collects the required fee for your application. Once all these formalities have been completed, the application is then forwarded to the Home Office by secure post.

Points to note before you use this service: This service does not give advice on immigration matters so don’t expect the person who will be checking your forms to answer any immigration question you may have. The service is pretty much like what post offices do when they are checking your passport application forms. The service is primarily for making sure if you have filled out your application forms correctly and have included correct fees and documents as per required by the Home Office.

 Is it worth it? Though it is a personal choice how you would like to submit your application for naturalisation; use the service or post the forms yourself. However for a fee this service does provide some extra peace of mind. Namely

(a) Checks your application for any errors and omissions.
(b) Attaches certified copies of your original documents.
(c) Sends the application by secure or recorded mail.

A few points to consider before you make your appointment:
(a) Make sure that you book an appointment well in advance as they can be quickly taken up or might not be in a nearby area.
(b) On the day of your appointment take all the supportive documents with you as your application will not be forwarded to the Home Office if it lacks one of them.
(c) If one of your documents is not in English then make sure that it is translated into English by an approved person/agency. Take both documents with you.
(d) Filling out the application forms correctly is your responsibility. The service provider will not be able to provide any immigration advice to you.
(e) Most local authorities who provide this service have details on their website. Make sure you follow the instructions given on the site.

See also:

Life in the UK practice test

Settlement checking service

UK naturalisation: Who can act as referees?

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