Following the change, the only way for individuals to apply for a licence will be to fill in an online application form at the SIA website. They will then be informed what types of identity and other documents to take to any of the over 750 Post Offices around the country to complete their application.
The Post Office will complete all licence applications by:
- Checking and returning the applicants documents,
- Taking a digital photograph and an electronic signature, and
- Taking payment of the application fee.
The applicant’s photograph and signature are sent to the SIA electronically by the Post Office and the SIA will then add them to the application information already received and continue with its checks, just as it does today.
The service with the Post Office makes applying for a new SIA licence easier and cheaper; most applicants will no longer need to post valuable documents and supply a photograph, which can be costly and inconvenient. Individuals renewing their licence can use the SIA’s telephone renewals service, as now.
For businesses, the SIA will continue to offer the bulk application service – a service used by companies to manage the completion and submission of new applications on behalf of their employees. However, to use this facility the registered company sponsor will be expected to apply for an exemption.
The SIA’s Business Support team will be contacting registered company sponsors to discuss the exemption process with them. The SIA’s e-Renewals service – which allows companies to renew SIA licences, or apply for additional licences, on behalf of their staff – will continue and company sponsors for this service will continue to be accepted by the SIA.
Charlotte Jennings, Deputy Director Operations, said: “The SIA is committed to providing an easier, cheaper and quicker service to all its applicants. The move away from paper-based applications is a crucial step in achieving that. The face to face element of the new service will reduce errors, which can cause applications to be rejected, and will help to discourage fraud.”
For more information visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.