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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

HM Revenue & Customs
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Other local authority activities: miscellaneous (N to Z): nationality checking service

Some local authorities operate in partnership with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to offer a nationality checking service (NCS) for people who wish to apply for British citizenship or nationality. This is an optional service which applicants can use to ensure that their application has been correctly completed. There is no obligation to use the NCS and applicants are free to send their application directly to the UKBA or through an agent or representative approved by the Officer of Immigration Services Commissioner.

As part of the service the local authority will accept completed application forms, ensure they have been filled in correctly, take copies of supporting documents and forward the applications to the UKBA for processing.

The applicant pays a fee for using the NCS. This is made up of the UKBA statutory application fee, plus an additional sum to cover the local authority’s administration charges. When operating the NCS a local authority is not acting under a special legal regime and it is therefore in direct competition with other registered bodies approved to offer application checking services. As a result the fees received by the local authority are subject to VAT at the standard rate.