Form NS Guidance 2019 [What you NEED to know]

What is Form NS for in 2019?

Form NS is for those who wish to apply for confirmation of their British nationality status, but do not need (or want) a British passport.  You may wish to apply for confirmation of your status for a number of reasons which do not include travel.

If you wish to make an application for a British passport, you must make an application to Her Majesty’s Passport Office who will assess your claim to nationality.

Should I apply for a Form NS?

You must only apply for a confirmation of your status as a British national if you are sure you are British.

You must clearly show how you are a British national under the law and provide the relevant evidence to support your claim.

You should only apply for this if it is for a reason other than applying for a British passport. You can find more information on making an application for a British passport on Her Majesty’s Passport Office website at

How do I determine if I am British?

At the moment, there are 6 different types of British nationality, which are as follows:

  • British Citizen
  • British Overseas Citizen
  • British Overseas Territories Citizen
  • British National (Overseas)
  • British Subject
  • British Protected Person

There are other forms of British nationality that have been in existence in the past, such as citizenship of the UK and Colonies (CUKC), or British dependent territories citizenship.  You can get further information on these types of nationalities on the government website.

Not all British nationals have the right to live and work in the UK. The ones that do are:

  • British Citizens
  • Some British subjects with a right of abode through qualifying links under the Immigration Act 1971

If you have another form of British nationality, you can only reside and take employment in the UK if your immigration status permits it.

British nationality is defined in the law. You can deduce if you have a claim to British nationality by examining the British Nationality Act 1981 (and other legislation) and seeing if you meet the definitions and requirements.  The relevant information would include assessment of your date, place of birth and descent.

We have provided cursory guidance on how to judge if you are already the holder of British nationality. Further guidance on how to become a British citizen through the process of naturalisation or registration is accessible on the government website.

On 1st January 1983, the status of citizenship of the UK and Colonies was replaced by:

  • British Citizenship,
  • British Dependent Territories Citizenship, and
  • British Overseas Citizenship.

i) British Citizenship

Citizens of the UK and Colonies who held a right of abode in the United Kingdom, automatically became British citizens on 1st January 1983.

ii) British Dependent Territories Citizenship

If you had a connection with an overseas territory, then you automatically became a British dependent territories citizen.

iii) British Overseas Citizenship

If you did not have a right of abode in the United Kingdom or a connection with an overseas territory, you became a British overseas citizen.

If you obtained a British passport in the 10 years between 1st January 1973 and 1st January 1983, it might have been stamped with:

  • “Citizen of the UK and Colonies”; and
  • “the holder has the right of abode in the UK”; or
  • “the holder has partiality in the UK”

Having such a stamp in your passport would mean that the holder of that passport became or would have become (if they died), a British citizen on 1st January 1983.

If the passport simply stated that the holder was a citizen of the UK and Colonies, but failed to mention the right of abode or partiality, then that person would have become a British overseas citizen on 1st January 1983 (unless they had lost citizenship of the UK and Colonies before this date).

The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 implemented a law which meant that most British overseas territories citizens became British citizens from 21st May 2002.

The difference between ‘British citizenship by descent’ and ‘British citizenship otherwise than by descent’

These two types of British citizenship are distinguished by the fact that ‘British citizens by descent’ cannot pass on their citizenship to children born abroad and ‘British citizens otherwise than by descent’ can pass on citizenship to their children born outside the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, you cannot switch from British citizenship by descent to British citizenship otherwise than by descent, to ensure your children born abroad will also have British citizenship.

British citizens otherwise than by descent are usually those who were:

  • Naturalised,
  • Registered as a British citizen,
  • Born or adopted in the United Kingdom prior to 1st January 1983,
  • Born in the United Kingdom on or after 1st January 1983, and whose mother or (if their parents were married) father was a British citizen or settled (had indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence) in the United Kingdom,
  • Born in the United Kingdom on or after 1st July 2006 with a parent who is a British citizen or settled (had indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence) in the United Kingdom.

Exceptions to the above include those born in the United Kingdom to parents who were not subject to immigration control at the time of birth. These include:

  • Foreign diplomats based in the UK,
  • Visiting members of armed forces,
  • Occupying enemy aliens

The law currently states that British citizenship can usually be passed on through only one generation to children born outside the UK. These children are classed as ‘British citizens by descent’ and are normally not able to transfer their citizenship to any further children born abroad.

What supporting documents are needed for Form NS?

Supporting documents for an application for Form NS can vary.  You may need to provide documents such as:

  • Birth certificates,
  • Marriage certificates,
  • Evidence of registration as citizens of the UK and Colonies or British citizenship,
  • Statutory declarations in support of the application.

The evidence provided must support the identity of the ancestors you are relying on to claim British citizenship. Logically, the evidence must date from around the time which the events took place. For instance, a birth which took place many years ago should be supported by evidence from that time.  The Home Office would not usually accept a birth certificate for an adult whose birth has just recently been registered.

If there is no marriage certificate available in relation to a customary marriage, the Home Office will only accept a statutory declaration from a credible witness who attended the wedding.  This could be either the religious official who solemnised the wedding, or someone who can prove they were there at the time the marriage took place.

The Home Office asks that all original documents are posted via Recorded or Special Delivery as they cannot accept responsibility for any important documents lost in the mail.

What happens after you make a Form NS Application?

The process for assessing an application for confirmation of British nationality status using Form NS is usually as follows:

  • You will be contacted and informed your application has been received and your application fee has been processed.
  • Your application will be inputted in to a computer database to allow easier tracking and linking of future correspondence which may be received.
  • Your application will be assessed by a qualified nationality caseworker.
  • If it is decided that, on the balance of probabilities, you have a legitimate claim to British citizenship, the Home Office will write to you and advise you of the reasons.
  • If it is decided, on the balance of probabilities, you do not have a legitimate claim to British citizenship, the Home Office will write to you and advise you of the reasons.
  • There is no timescale guarantee, although the Home Office do try to resolve cases quickly.

What happens if my Form NS Application is refused?

If your application is refused, you will be provided with written reasons why and unfortunately, your fee will not be returned.

If you wish to apply for confirmation of nationality status again with stronger evidential documents, then any reapplication must be accompanied with a fresh fee.

There are no rights of appeal or requests for reviews of the decision available.

What is the Form NS fee?

The fee for making the application is £250.

Where can I find the Form NS application?

The Form NS application form can be found here.

Can I apply on behalf of someone else?

Yes you can, if the person in question is medically incapacitated or is deceased.  However, if you wish to do so, you must:

  • Explain who you are and why you making this application
  • Provide evidence of their death or medical incapacity
  • Provide evidence of how you are connected to the deceased or medically incapacitated person.

What is the Form NS Processing Time in 2019?

The Home Office works toward assessing 100% of applications within 6 months of receiving them.

If you applied 6 months ago, you can check the progression of your application by calling the Home Office Contact Centre on 0300 123 2253 or by emailing

How do you apply for confirmation of British Nationality Status using Form NS?

You can apply online if you do not live in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man or a British Overseas Territory.

There is also a paper form available if you live elsewhere and wish to mail the application.  You will require to include all your documents with the application.

Where do you post Form NS to?

You must send the form, payment slip (which includes the fee) and your supporting evidence to:

  • The Lieutenant Governor if you reside in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man,
  • The Governor of the territory if you are in a British Overseas Territory,
  • UK Visas and Immigration at the following address if you live anywhere else:

Department 1
UK Visas and Immigration
The Capital Building
New Hall Place
L3 9PP

Will Receipt of my Application be acknowledged?

The Home Office aims to issue you with a receipt of acknowledgement within 6 weeks of receiving your application.

If you have not heard from them within 8 weeks, then you should email providing your full name, date of birth and address.

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