§ Mr. Edward Gardner
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he proposes to make any increases in the fees for citizenship.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
Yes. I have decided that the fees for applications for citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies will be increased with effect from Thursday 1 April 1982 and also that in future the fee will have to be paid at the same time as the application is made rather than, as at present, when the application is approved. Every application received in the Home Office on or after 1 April must, therefore, be accompanied by the appropriate fee. If, after examination, an application cannot be accepted or is not approved the fee will be refunded. The increases in fees are laid down in the British Nationality (Amendment) Regulations 1982 made under the British Nationality Act 1948, which have been supplied to Parliament today.
The fee for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation to a foreign national will be increased from £150 to £200. The fee for the registration at discretion of a Commonwealth citizen settled here since 1 January 1973 will also rise from £150 to £200.
The fee for other forms of registration for adults, including that of a woman registered on the grounds of her marriage to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, will go up from £50 to £70. The fee for the registration of a minor child is to be increased from £25 to £35, but this 424W fee continues to cover any other minor children of the same family being registered provided their applications are received at the same time.
The fees for applications received in the Home Office before 1 April 1982, but which are not decided until after 1 April, will be those which applied at the time when an application was received and will continue to be payable at the time when an application is accepted or approved.
Nationality fees have remained at their present level since April 1980. The present increases are necessary because the cost of processing applications has continued to rise and it is Government policy to recover as far as possible through fees the administrative costs of processing applications for citizenship. However, the introduction from 1 April of the new system of payment with the application will enable the increases for new applications to be kept to a lower level than would otherwise be necessary.
I am also taking steps designed to reduce somewhat the time taken to consider applications. These include measures taken as a result of the recommendations of the scrutiny in 1980, under the guidance of Sir Derek Rayner, into the handling of applications for citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies and, recently, the provision of some additional staff for the division concerned.