Where to register in the UK


After arrival you may want to or need to register yourself in the UK. There are the Police, Council Tax and Embassy & Consulate Registration. Not all of them have to be mandatory for you though.

Foreigners over 16 are required to register at their local police station within seven days of arrival if any of the following applies:

  • They are nationals of Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan or Yemen or are stateless.
  • They are a national of one of the above countries and have limited leave to stay in the UK for longer than six months for employment, or as au pairs, students, businessmen, self-employed people, investors, people of independent means or creative artists.
  • They are a national of one of the above countries and weren’t originally required to register, but have since been granted an extension of stay, which means that they will be in the UK for longer than six months.
  • They are the spouse or child of a person who must register with the police.
  • They are a national of any of the above countries given limited leave to remain, whom the immigration authorities suspect might not abide by their entry conditions.

Exceptions are seasonal workers at agricultural work camps, private servants of diplomatic households, clergymen, spouses of people settled in the UK, or those formally granted asylum.

When required, registration is indicated by the immigration stamp in your passport. You must report to the police station nearest to where you’re staying within seven days, even when you’re staying in temporary accommodation. You need your passport, work permit if you have one, any letters from the Home Office or documents from the Overseas Visitors Record Office, two passport-size photographs (black and white or colour) and the fee, currently £34. In the greater London area, all residents must register at the Overseas Visitors Record Office, Brandon House, 180 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LH. The nearest underground station is ‘Borough’ and the information line is 020-7230 1208. Business hours are 9am to 4pm Mondays to Fridays and you should expect to wait for a long time (unless you’re first in the queue).

Details, such as your name, address, occupation, nationality, marital status and the date your permission expires, are entered in a green booklet called a ‘police registration certificate’. It’s advisable to take a copy of your marriage and birth certificates with you. If the police registration certificate isn’t given to you on the spot, you may need to surrender your passport, which is returned to you later with your certificate. Make a photocopy or a note of the certificate’s number, date, and place of issue, in case you lose it (in which case the fee must be paid again). You should inform the authorities of any change in your situation within seven days, e.g. if you change your address or extend your leave to remain in the UK.

You’re required to carry your police registration certificate with you at all times, but not your passport. It’s advisable to take your police registration certificate with you when travelling abroad, as this makes re-entry into the UK easier. It should be surrendered to the Immigration Officer if you’re travelling abroad for longer than two months. Unlike many other Europeans, Britons aren’t legally required to prove their identity on demand by a policeman or other official.

Council Tax Registration

All residents or temporary residents of the UK are required to register with their local authority or council for council tax purposes soon after arrival in the UK, or after moving to a new home, either in the same council area or a new area.

Embassy & Consulate Registration

Nationals of some countries are required to register with their local embassy or consulate as soon as possible after arrival in the UK. Registration isn’t usually mandatory, although most embassies like to keep a record of their nationals resident in the UK and it may help to expedite passport renewal or replacement.

This article is an extract from Living and working in Britain. Click here to get a copy now.

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