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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No, original documents must be presented to the settlement checking service officer.
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.
If the applicants leave has expired, the local authority should contact the UKBA Helpdesk before offering an appointment.
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.