UKBA Biometric Appointment

A requirement for getting a French Schengen Visa is that you have a valid UK residence permit that is either in the form of the new Biometric Card (BRP) or as a stamp or vignette in a passport that is less than 10 years old.

The UKBA offer three ways of applying for a UK Visa / Residence permit or extension from within the UK:

1. Postal application – passport has to be relinquished for several months
2. Premium Service – attend PEO in person (usually same day process)
3. Super Premium Service – UKBA visitation +£6000 fee, does not include the application fee

For applicants that cannot afford to give up their passport for several months or afford the Super Premium fees, the Home Office’s Premium Service is the next viable option.
The most popular categories of UK visas / residence permits that can be obtained under the Home Office’s Premium Service (same day processing) are:

Tier 4 – Student / Study Visa
Tier 2 General, ICT, extensions – Formerly Work Permit
Tier 1 General (extensions only) – Formerly HSMP
Dependants’ application
( Indefinite Leave to remain / Settlement)
FLR ( Further Leave To Remain )
NTL – transfer of visa/permit from old or lost passport


  • via a registered/monitored immigration firm
  • independently, online via the UKBA’s website
  • employ an agency to secure appointment on your behalf

– registered immigration firms such as law firms are monitored by the Law society
– most other immigration advisory firms are governed by The OISC ( Office of Immigration Services Commissioner)

* Law firms and immigration consultancies usually insist on providing immigration advice or documentation checking services to justify their fees and the resources that they have to acquire the visa appointment. They also often engage specialised couriers or chaperones to accompany the applicant through the biometric appointment process.

UKBA Premium Service Application Appointments are often scarce and difficult to obtain. The individual is required to create an account through the UK Border Agency’s website and search online for available application appointments. Alternatively, the applicant can commission an agency secure an appointment on their behalf. Usually no immigration advice is offered but the cost of the service tends to be a fraction of the price of employing a law firm or immigration consultancy.



The Biometric Appointment process – what to expect (Croydon PEO example)

The Home Office Biometric appointments process is a two stage affair, the applicant should expect to be confined to the Public Enquiry Office/ Home Office building for anywhere between 2 – 4 hours for stage 1 of the process (bring a book).

• Stage 1 involves:

  1. system’s confirmation of the appointment
  2. preliminary checks of application form, passport and supporting documents
  3. payment of the UKBA fees
  4. data input of passport & application form information
  5. signing an identity/declaration statement
  6. biometric capture, finger prints + digital photo.

The PEO insists that the applicant remains in the building or immediate vicinity until confirmation of the IT checks have been completed. Human error of the data entry or a corrupted IT record results in the applicant needing to repeat the biometric capture process again.

• Stage 2 results in

  1. The collected data being checked against UK Border Agency and Police records around the country.
  2. The actual consideration of the case by a UKBA case worker.
  3. The return of all original documents and passports
  4. Issue of approval letter (if approved!)

– some caseworkers insist applicant stays at a desk window to answer questions
– Some applications are processed in background with the applicant on call.
* because of IT issues, to save time, the current practice is to begin consideration of the application before confirmation of the records have been received – the application CANNOT be approved until confirmation has been received.

The applicant should be aware that:

  • they will have to be outside the Home Office 30 mins prior to their appointment time (as stated by PEO)
  • they should expect to be stood in a queue for 30 – 90mins
  • they have to pass through airport-like security (no sharp objects/liquid or cases if can be avoided)
  • They will have to pay the PEO via credit/debit card – it should belong to them as some banks ask the PEO cashier to put them on the phone for security checks.

Biometric Capture – the adults will be asked two questions:

  1. Have they ever entered the UK under a different name before
  2. Have they ever given their biometric data from within or outside of the UK to obtain a visa/residence for the UK – if so, your client will be expected to answer when and where this was done (they can answer Not Sure). They will then be asked to sign a declaration that all is true prior to giving their fingerprints and having their photo taken.

Neither the main applicant or their dependants can leave the Home Office building until the biometric results have come back and have been approved to go on to stage 2 (the case worker/application consideration)

• Their application(s) will probably be completed on that day but there is no guarantee
– there is a chance the Home Office systems breaking down.
– there is the possibility of the biometric/police checks not being concluded that day

• Even when things go well, they can expect to be waiting 2 – 4hrs +

• the biometric card is posted out to them/you 7-10 days later, the Home Office letter states not to leave the UK without the card.