Citizens applying for a visa could previously use the nationality checking service. As implied by the name, this service would offer the possibility of checking the documents.
For an extra fee, applicants would book this service in advance prior to sending their application. They would attend their appointment, often at their local council, where the attendant would check their documents and the application form. Once the documents were certified, a receipt of the service was issued, and everything would be submitted.
This service did not guarantee the success of the application. Often applications were still refused on the basis of insufficient or unsatisfactory documentation, despite the applicant having certified the evidence provided. Nevertheless, it would add more weight to the application. It meant that in cases where the applicant had grounds to apply for a reconsideration or an appeal, the proof that they had certified their application could be used to support some of their arguments.
In November 2018 the Home Office made numerous changes to the application procedures and began to digitalise everything. In doing so local authorities gradually stopped offering the Nationality Checking Service. On the 31st of December 2018 the service ceased altogether all over the UK. Following this, no further checking service was put in place, leaving applicants without the possibility to certify their documents.
Alongside the new digital process, an Assisted Digital support service was put in place by UKVI in order to assist applicants in completing the online application forms. The support team is designed to help customers who do not have suitable access or do not possess the appropriate digital skills to complete the online application forms. The support is available in different forms, and more information regarding this can be found using the following link:
Although no Nationality Checking Service currently exists, a similar service has been recently put in place. Through the new online system, applicants complete the online application form and upload their documents online by using a system called Sopra Steria. They then attend an appointment at a service centre to enroll their biometric information and submit supporting evidence. When submitting the application, applicants are given the possibility to purchase a further service that offers the same weight as the previous Nationality Checking Service. This service will need to be booked in advance and when the applicants attend their appointment to submit their biometrics, if they have already purchased the checking service, they will be able to have their documents checked.