The Settlement Checking Service in Manchester
What is the settlement checking service?
The settlement checking service is a partnership between the UK Border Agency, and Manchester City Council.
The settlement checking service allows customers to submit their SET (M) application for permission to settle permanently (also known as indefinite leave to remain) in the UK as a spouse or partner of a British citizen or settled person, at a local authority register office.
The service will give you assurance that your application is complete and you have paid the correct fee. The service will allow you to keep your valuable documents. Your spouse or partner will be able to keep their passport or travel documents.
The UK Border Agency has found that the settlement checking service is generally faster than the normal postal application process. This is due to fewer applications being rejected due to incompleteness or missing documents.
Who can use the settlement checking service?
Migrants applying for permission to settle permanently (also known as indefinite leave to remain) in the UK using form SET(M) can use the service.
SET (M) applicants must already have been given permission to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner of a British citizen or person settled in the UK and have completed, or be within 28 days of completing, 2 years in that category.
The settlement checking service in NOT available to nationals of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
You can find further advice about how to apply for residence on the Settling in the UK pages of the Gov.uk website at or if you need further information contact EEA Residency Enquiries on 0845 010 5200.
How do I use the settlement checking service?
To use the settlement checking service you must book an appointment.
The settlement checking service operates on an appointment only basis. To make your appointment, you should contact Manchester Register Office on 0161 234 5005. This is a very busy line. If you have difficulties getting through you can e-mail us with a contact number and we will phone you back.
To attend your appointment you need to go to:
Manchester Register Office
1st Floor, Heron House
47, Lloyd Street
You must book an appointment before your current leave expires.
Please note that you will not be able to attend an appointment more than 28 days before the end of your 'two year qualifying period'.
At Manchester Register Office, we will try to give you an appointment as soon as possible after you contact us. Our target is to give you an appointment within 5 days.
Two year qualifying period
- If you have an entry clearance visa (issued abroad) the two year qualifying period starts from the date your visa was stamped, by the Immigration Officer, when you entered the UK.
- If you have a residence permit or a biometric residence permit the two year qualifying period starts from when you were granted two years leave as a spouse or partner (even if you previously had leave in another category, for example as a student).
The Knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement for settlement and naturalisation
There are two parts to the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KoLL) requirement, both of which must be met by all applicants for settlement and naturalisation, unless the individual is exempt.
Applicants are required to:
- pass the Life in the UK test
- have a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent level qualification.
Please note that from November 2015, there will be a change to the accepted qualifications. All applicants should check the latest list on GOV.uk to make sure that they meet the requirements.
What do I need to bring to my appointment?
When you telephone to book an appointment, the Manchester City Council officers will tell you what to bring with you. Instructions explaining which documents are needed are in the SET(M) application form and guidance notes. These are available on the Gov.uk website
You and your settled spouse or partner should attend the SCS appointment. If your partner cannot attend, they must provide a letter stating that they support the application. The letter must be signed and dated, with a daytime phone number where they can be contacted if necessary.
Failure of your spouse or partner to provide evidence to support the application, if unable to attend, may result in the application being cancelled and the fee will be lost.
There are two types of SET (M) application forms on the Gov.uk website
The online SET (M) form - this version of the SET (M) form must be completed online. You have to complete the form and pay for the application online. You must then print a copy. The copy of the form must then be taken with you to your appointment.
The printable SET (M) form - this version of the SET (M) form allows you to print a copy of the form and complete it by hand. With this version you must supply your payment details so that the payment can be processed when the form is received by the UK Border Agency.
You must bring:
- A completed latest version of the SET (M) application form. (either the form you have completed online and printed, or the form you have printed first and then completed by hand)
- Your Life in the UK test pass notification letter and a relevant speaking and listening qualification
- The supporting documents requested in the SET (M) application form and guidance notes.
- If you completed the SET (M) application form online, you must bring the confirmation that you have paid the UK Border Agency.
- If you completed the SET (M) application form by hand you must complete your credit or debit card details on the form, or bring a cheque or postal order.
- The settlement checking service fee must be paid to Manchester City Council separately from the application fee.
What service will the Manchester City Council officers provide?
- The Manchester City Council officer will check the application form is complete and all the necessary supporting documents have been included.
- They will check you have paid the correct application fee.
- You will be told if any of the documents are missing, not acceptable or if you have provided documents that are not required by the UK Border Agency.
- The Manchester City Council officer will check, make certified copies and return your documents. (Please note: from 15 May 2014, we now have to send your original Life in the UK test certificate to the Home Office)
- The Manchester City Council officer will check and create a certified copy of your passport or travel documents. This action will be completed for any additional dependents documents and your settled spouse. You are able to retain your passport or travel document in using this service. However, you are not permitted to travel outside the United Kingdom whilst your application is under consideration - this may result in your application being withdrawn by the Home Office.
- You will receive assurance that your application is completed correctly and that you have provided the correct supporting documents.
- Documents will be despatched to the UK Border Agency via secure mail.
- Your application will arrive at the UK Border Agency complete, avoiding any unnecessary delays.
Can migrants use the settlement checking service before attending a Public Enquiry Office?
An applicant may decide to apply in person at a UK Border Agency Public Enquiry Office (PEO) and would pay for a premium service. The settlement checking service is available as part of the premium application route. Local authorities will check the application form is complete, correct supporting documents have been provided and can copy supporting documents for taking to the PEO.
Do I have to pay for the checking service?
Yes you do. The settlement checking service fee is charged in addition to the SET (M) application fee charged by the UK Border Agency and reflects the cost of providing the service.
The fee for the checking service provided by Manchester Register Office is:
£84.00 (including VAT) per application plus £10.50 per dependent on the application.
The full fee must be paid at the time of booking your appointment. It is non-refundable.
If you need to rearrange an appointment we require 3 full working days notice.
The S.C.S checking fee will be non-refundable in the event that your application cannot be submitted to the Home Office.
Will my application be dealt with more quickly?
The settlement checking service will allow you to get a decision more quickly. This is due to fewer applications being rejected or delayed due to incompleteness or missing documents.
The settlement checking service is not a premium service
Will Manchester City Council give me advice about settlement?
Manchester City Council officers will not be able to provide advice on settlement matters. If you require advice you can contact the Immigration Enquiry Bureau on 0870 606 7766. Lines are open from 09:00 until 16:45 Monday to Thursday and 09:00 until 16:30 Friday (excluding Public holidays).
Settlement advice can also be found on the Gov.uk website at:
How do I know that Manchester City Council is competent to offer the checking service?
Our officers are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), a UK Government body, which regulates organisations offering services of this kind.
In providing the settlement checking service, Manchester City Council officers have been fully trained by UK Border Agency.
We always welcome feedback and suggestions to improve the quality of our service.
If you would like to give us feedback about this service, or make a complaint please:
- send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- use our on-line complaint form
- telephone us on: 0161 234 5005
- or write to us at
Manchester Register Office
47, Lloyd Street
Alternatively, you may if you wish write directly to: