Applying for British nationality? Want to travel immediately after submission? You could use the Nationality Checking Service “NCS” offered by a local authority.
When submitting an application for British nationality, an individual can request that a local authority checks the application prior to submission to the Home Office. The local authority will not be able to offer advice on said application but will ensure the application is properly completed and submitted with the relevant supporting documents. This service, known as the Nationality Checking Service “NCS”, is offered throughout England by a number of local authorities. The local authorities which offer this service are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, an independent body set up by Parliament.
Some local authorities that offer this checking service also accept joint nationality and first British passport applications, and will duly submit the passport application to Her Majesty’s Passport Office “HMPO” accordingly.
In order to use the checking service, an appointment must be made with the local authority and the relevant fee paid in advance. Appointment availability varies between local authorities but often local authorities book around one month in advance. The fee for this service varies between local authorities and also varies for adult and child applications. Fees can often be found on the local authority’s website or can be requested by telephone. You do not need to be resident within the local authority’s catchment area in order to submit your application with them. Further, children under the age of 18 do not need to attend the appointment but if between the ages of 12-15, and submitting a passport application, must have signed the relevant section of the passport application form.
Using this service is beneficial for a number of reasons. Firstly, this service aims to reduce delays in processing applications as many minor errors can be rectified at your appointment with the local authority and this reduces the amount of queries raised by Home Office, whether this be due to an error on the application form or additional information required.
Another benefit, popular with many applicants, is the retention of original documents by the applicant. When submitting your application at the local authority, they will take copies of your originals documents such as passports, birth certificates etc. and will certify them at the appointment. The original certified copies of documents are then submitted to the Home Office and the originals are returned to the applicant. This means applicants are able to travel immediately after the appointment and whilst their applications are being considered, should they wish to do so.
Once you have submitted your application, you will be provided with a receipt confirming your application has been checked by the local authority and will be duly submitted to the Home Office.
If you make a joint nationality and passport application, you will also be provided with a receipt for your passport application, which will contain a bar code reference which is to be used when contacting HMPO to discuss your passport application – should you need to do so.
After submission, you will receive a letter from the Home Office requesting you to enrol your biometrics. Following biometric submission, you must await the decision from the Home Office with regards to your nationality application. If your application is approved, you will receive a citizenship invitation and must book your citizenship ceremony. Please note, should you wish to have your ceremony at a particular local authority, you must include the details of the relevant authority in your initial nationality application form. It is at this ceremony that you will receive your Certificate of Naturalisation/Registration.
If you have submitted a joint nationality and passport application, as soon as you have attended your citizenship ceremony, the Home Office will notify HMPO who will automatically begin to process your first British passport application. Your British passport will then be sent to your home address within 21 days of HMPO having received notification that you have received your Certificate of Naturalisation.
It is important to note that using this service does not guarantee the success of your application and there is always the possibility that the Home Office may request additional information.
Please note, this service cannot be used when applying for a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode.
Gherson has extensive experience dealing with nationality applications and can assist in preparing such applications, and/or advise you on any aspects of the same, with the option for the application to be submitted using this service. Should you require our advice or assistance with your application, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.