2014_02_05 City Chambers 4

A new ‘check and send’ service has been launched to help people in Edinburgh to apply for British Citizenship.

People who use the Nationality Checking Service offered by The City of Edinburgh Council increase the chance of their applications being approved without unnecessary delays.

Trained staff offer a one-stop shop for applicants, who previously had to either travel to South Lanarkshire or south of the border to get documents checked or risk losing original documents by submitting them directly.

Registration staff will make sure that the correct paperwork is being submitted, photocopy all documents and return the originals, check that applications are filled out properly and then send them by special delivery to arrive at the Home Office in Liverpool the next again working day.

Completed forms sent with the right documents are processed more quickly and cuts down on red tape. Having the forms and documents checked first by trained officials reduces these risks and may also cut the time spent waiting for a result.

The Nationality Checking Service is a partnership between the Council and the Home Office, with a total of 16 existing members of registration staff being trained.

The service is available to any person eligible to apply for British citizenship regardless of where they live.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, Finance Leader at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “People seeking British citizenship have to adhere to a strict application system and have to pay simply to apply, so it is important that they get all of the details correct. Being able to speak face to face to trained staff here in Edinburgh will offer reassurance that they are submitting all of the relevant documents properly.

“This will also generate much-needed funds at a time when every local authority is under huge financial pressure and being forced to make cutbacks.”

The City of Edinburgh Council checking service team are not able to give advice or answer queries regarding applications – these should be directed to the Home Office on 0845 010 5200.

Fees for the service are: single adult, £66; couple, £120; family, £168; child under 18, £36. These are payable to the Council and are in addition to any fees due to the Home Office.

Anyone interested in using the Document Checking Service can contact the team at Lothian Chambers on George IV Bridge on 0131 529 2614.