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Questions & Answers

Settlement Checking Service

1.  Why might a SET (M) applicant choose to use the settlement checking service?

The pilot is designed to help applicants provide a complete application.  It provides a face-to-face, private appointment where applicants are able to retain their original supporting documents, and the partner or spouse can retain their original passport(s).  Applicants are assured that their application is complete upon submission to UK Visas and Immigration, where more complete applications are faster to decide. 

2.  Can the main applicant, partner and dependants retain their original passport or travel documents? 

The partner or spouse will have their original travel document/passport returned once a copy has been taken by the local authority.  The main applicant and dependants applying for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) will be required to submit their passport/travel document and (or) biometric residence permit.  A vignette will be inserted into the passport to show the appropriate grant of leave.  

3.  How can applicants find out about the settlement checking service?

Once the participating local authorities are ready to book appointments, information about how to use the pilot service and where it is available will be provided on the settlement pages of UK Visas and Immigration website.  The pilot will be publicised on the website of each settlement checking service provider in order to make local customers aware of the service.

4.  If an applicant is applying for settlement, but not on the SET (M) application form, can they still use the settlement checking service to submit their application?

No. Initially, only settlement applicants applying on the SET (M) form will be able to use the service.  Although there is potential for the service to eventually be extended to include other types of settlement application.  

5.  How can applicants make an appointment?

Applicants will need to make an appointment directly with the local authority.  Contact information will be available on UK Visas and Immigration and local authority websites.

6.  Is it compulsory for SET (M) applicants to use the settlement checking service?

No.  The settlement checking service is an optional service available to applicants who wish to use it.  Customers can continue to submit SET (M) applications by post or at one of UK Visas and Immigration public enquiry offices (PEOs).

7.  How much will the settlement checking service cost?

Local authorities will charge a fee to cover the cost of providing the settlement checking service.  The service fee will therefore be set by each local authority individually according to their operating costs.  For this reason there is no standard fee.  The service fee charged by the local authority is in addition to the SET (M) application fee charged by UK Visas and Immigration and is payable directly to the local authority.

8.  How is using the settlement checking service different to submitting an application at one of the UK Visas and Immigration Public Enquiry Offices?

Unlike the public enquiry office, the settlement checking service is not a premium service and applicants who use the settlement checking service will not receive a same-day decision on their application.  Customers requiring a same day service for a premium fee will continue to use the public enquiry office.

9.  Will applications submitted via the settlement checking service be processed quicker than other postal applications?

Applications received via the settlement checking service will be processed in the same way as all other postal applications for settlement.  The settlement checking service is not a priority or premium service.  However, UK Visas and Immigration has found that applications received via the nationality checking service are generally quicker to process as fewer cases are rejected or delayed due to incompleteness or missing documents.  It is anticipated that settlement checking service will have similar effects on case processing times for SET (M) applications.

10.  Does using the settlement checking service guarantee that an application will be successful?

No.  The pilot is being introduced to assist applicants to provide a complete and valid application, with the correct supporting documents.  Using the settlement checking service does not guarantee that an application will be successful and UK Visas and Immigration may still have to make further enquiries when considering a settlement application.

11.  Can local authorities give advice on settlement applications?

No.  Local authorities cannot offer any immigration advice.  The settlement checking service officer’s role is to check the application for completeness, check that all of the required evidence is provided and make certified copies of the documentation.

12.  What do applicants need to bring with them to an appointment?

The evidence and documentation requirements are set out within the SET (M) application form and accompanying SET (M) guidance notes, provided on the UK Border Agency website.  Applicants will be given information on the appointment and what to bring when making the booking.

Applicants will need to bring a completed SET (M) application form and required accompanying documents with them to the settlement checking service appointment.  If an applicant fails to do so, their application cannot be submitted to UK Visas and Immigration.

13.  Can local authorities accept photocopied documents?

No, original documents must be presented to the settlement checking service officer.

14.  How soon before the expiry of their current leave can applicants apply for settlement and attend an appointment?

Applicants must apply at the end of their current permitted period of leave and no more than 28 days before their leave expires. Settlement checking service appointments should be booked in advance but applicants will not be able to attend an appointment until this time.

15. The applicants limited leave has expired, can local authorities offer an SCS appointment?

If the applicants leave has expired, the local authority should contact the UKBA Helpdesk before offering an appointment.

16.  If local authorities other than the 12 selected would like to offer this service, will they be able to do so?

The new service is being run as a pilot in order that the benefits and uptake rates can be evaluated.  In order to keep the pilot manageable, while gaining a representative sample size with fair national coverage, the number of local authorities participating in the pilot has been restricted.  The pilot service will therefore only be offered by the 12 selected councils.  Depending on the conclusions of the six-month review, the settlement checking service may be extended to other local authorities.

17.  If an applicant’s local authority is not one of the 12, can they use the pilot service provided by another local authority?

Applications for settlement can be made through any local authority which offers the settlement checking service, subject to individual local authority discretion. 

 

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