Using the Nationality Checking Service

The Nationality Checking Service is offered at the Register Office in Bow Road and is by appointment only.

Appointments are offered subject to availability – payment is required at the time of booking an appointment.

Appointments are between 9.30am and 3.30pm from Monday to Friday.

Home Office fees

Home Office fees are usually increased each April. Should you meet the Home Office eligibility requirements, please contact us without delay to make an appointment if you wish to take advantage of current fees before the increase.

Important information

You must have been physically present in the UK, not out of the country on holiday or on business, at the start of the qualifying period.

This means that you must have been present in the UK at the start of your qualifying period on the day of your appointment, please ensure that you have checked your dates and that you were not out of the country either on holiday, visiting relatives overseas or away on business.

  • 5-year qualifying period
    You must have had ILR for at least one year before the date of your appointment
  • 3-year qualifying period
    You must be married to a British Citizen, there are no time restrictions for ILR

As of November 12, 2015, the Home Office will only accept an English language qualification that is on the Home Office's list of approved tests as evidence that you have met the requirement to hold a B1 level English qualification.  This must be taken at a Home Office approved test centre.

In addition to this requirement, you are still required to pass the Life in the UK Test to demonstrate your knowledge of life in the United Kingdom.

You must provide sufficient evidence of your lawful residence during the qualifying period, either three years or five years. This can be your travel document, passport/s, you must bring any previous cancelled passport(s) with you.

If you do not have passports to cover the required residency period, you will need to supply documentation to cover your residency, documentary evidence for each year of the residency period, P60s or letters from your employer or an up to date letter confirming payment of benefits (or a combination of these). For more information visit the UK Visas and Immigration website.

EEA National applications must be submitted with documentary evidence of your residence during the qualifying period of either five years or three years if married to a British Citizen. From 12 November 2015, EEA Nationals must be in possession of a permanent residence card in order to apply for naturalisation and, in addition, must have held settled status for at least twelve months prior to your appointment with the Nationality Checking Service.

It is your responsibility to check that you are eligible for naturalisation before making your appointment.

You are also responsible for ensuring that you bring all the correct documentation with you. Failure to do so will mean that another appointment will need to be booked which you will be charged for.

Your appointment

You must provide a fully completed application form for each person applying, this will avoid delays and additional fees.

You need to bring:

  • Each application requires a photograph attached to the completed referee page
  • Evidence that you meet the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KOLL) requirement
  • Passports/travel documents, including previous cancelled passports
  • EEA Nationals must provide suitable travel documents/passports to support their application in regards to exercising their treaty rights and alternative evidence of residences for the whole of the qualifying period
  • If you do not have passports or travel documents, P60’s or letters from your employer, or an up to date letter confirming payment of benefits (or a combination of these)
  • For children's application, a full birth certificate for each child translated into English is required. Check the UK Visas and Immigration for further documentary evidence that may be required
  • If you are applying based on a marriage or civil partnership to a British Citizen, you will need to provide your marriage or civil partnership certificate together with the British passport of your spouse.
  • If you are applying for a child and you are married to the child's mother, you will need your marriage certificate
  • All certificates and documents should be originals with translations if not in English

You must provide payment details for the correct Home Office fee. Payment must be made by credit/debit card or cheque. We are unable to accept Postal Orders or TransCash. You may wish to download this form and complete it ahead of your appointment. Visit the become a British citizen page on the website.

The interview

Every person aged 18 and over whose application will be submitted at the interview must attend. Children aged under 18 years are not required to attend.

The Nationality Checking officer will check that your application form is properly completed and that you have enclosed the correct Home Office fee.

If you produce insufficient or incorrect documentation or fail to meet the appropriate residency requirements, your application may not be submitted to the Home Office. If you need a further appointment with us you may be required to pay the checking fee again.

In some circumstances we may suggest that you revisit us to supply further documentation if necessary.
NCS officers are not qualified or allowed to give any advice on nationality, immigration or asylum. Officers cannot help you to complete the application forms.

The officer will check that you have enclosed all necessary documents, make copies, certify them and return the originals to you.

If you require a photocopy of your application form you must obtain this before your interview, officers will not be able to provide copies for you.

Provided the officer is satisfied that your application form is complete, and that you have provided appropriate supporting documents, the NCS officer will recommend that your application be forwarded to the Home Office Nationality Group by DX delivery.

The time it takes for the Home Office to deal with an application varies according to individual circumstances, including the number of applications under consideration at a particular time.

NCS officers cannot track the progress of your application form once it has been sent to the Home Office.
Using the NCS service in Tower Hamlets does not guarantee that your application for British Citizenship will be successful.

The decision to approve your application is made by the Home Office.

The Home Office will write to you directly to advise you of the outcome of your application.

You can get advice, the UK Visas and Immigration Nationality Helpdesk can also help you complete an application form.
tel 0300 123 2253:

from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and

from 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays

or you can email for a response.

NCS fees

Check NCS fees 


Refunds will not be given if you:

  • fail to attend your NCS appointment
  • are advised by the Home Office that your application is unsuccessful

You are able to claim a refund for half the fee paid if you give notice of at least two working days (Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays) that you will not be able to attend your appointment.

For example,  if your appointment is on a Monday you will need to let us know by the previous Thursday the latest.

If you wish to change your appointment and re-book, no further NCS fee will be charged to you as long as you give more than two working days notice (Monday – Friday excluding Bank Holidays) to change your appointment.

At the time of your appointment, if you produce insufficient or incorrect documentation or fail to meet the appropriate residency requirements, your application may not be submitted to UK Visas and Immigration.  You will need to book a new NCS appointment and will be charged another fee.

How to contact us

Tower Hamlets Register Office
Bromley Public Hall
Bow Road
E3 3AA
Tel: 020 7364 7898

Opening hours: 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
9.30am to 11.30am and 2pm to 4.30pm - Wednesday

The nearest Underground station is Bow Road on the District Line or Metropolitan Line. Alternatively go to Bow Church on the Docklands Light Railway. When you come out of either station, turn to your right and continue walking down Bow Road.

The register office is on bus routes: 25, 8 and 108

Download the map to the register office

Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)

Our officers are registered with the OISC, an independent body established by Parliament, which regulates organisations offering services of this kind.  In providing the Nationality Checking Service, staff have been provided with a set of desk instructions which set out the precise extent of their duties.