What will happen on the day?
This page explains the process you will follow when using our premium service at a Public Enquiry Office. The processes can vary slightly, depending on which office you attend, but the following is a general guide to what you can expect.
Depending on the number and type of applications that we receive on the day, and the Public Enquiry Office that you attend, your application might take more or less time to process. However, if there are delays in considering your application, you will be kept informed and the reasons why explained.
Arriving at the Public Enquiry Office
Follow the signs to the Public Enquiry Office. You must have booked an appointment in advance and you will need to present your appointment letter to the security guards.
Please aim to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. However, please note that Customers arriving earlier than this may sometimes not be allowed into the office until 30 minutes before the appointment time due to limited customer seating. Also, allowing some customers to begin their application appointment earlier than booked can cause delays for those customers who are dealt with according to their appointment time. Please listen to the advice and guidance of our security staff.
Security (this will take around 5 to 10 minutes)
For your own safety and the safety of others, you will go through an airport-style security check. Your personal possessions will be scanned, and any sharp or dangerous objects will be taken away. Please do not bring penknives with you. You can find out more about the Security screening and search process.
There is nowhere for you to leave luggage, so you will need to carry it with you at all times. Please do not bring more personal belongings than you actually require for the appointment itself. Space is limited within all PEOs, and large amounts of bags can cause a safety hazard in the event of a fire alarm or evacuation. To assist customers who may have mobility issues or, for example, those with young children in push chairs, there are lifts at the Croydon PEO. There are also lifts at the Liverpool PEO. The Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Sheffield and Solihull offices are all on the ground floor.
Reception (5 to 10 minutes)
After going through security, you will be called to a counter at reception where an officer will validate your application.
To ensure that you are prepared when you arrive, please look at the information on this website and read the forms carefully.
You must show all the required documents on the day, so your application can be fully considered and a same-day service can be given.
If you are applying as a student under Tier 4 of the points-based system (PBS), please ensure that your education provider is a registered sponsor. We will refuse your application if your education provider is not registered.
We will only accept original documents. Any computer printouts must be validated. For example, a printout of your bank statement must be validated by your bank (which means that someone at the bank must officially stamp and sign the printout).
When your application has been validated at Reception, you will be given a queue ticket - please keep this ticket on you at all times, as you will need to show it to staff and security while you are in the office. After Reception, you will be directed to a waiting area before being called to begin the processing of your application.
In Croydon, you will wait in a café waiting area (a Costa Coffee outlet with light snacks available) and be called through into the main caseworking area.
Paying your application fee (10 minutes)
For most applications you will have paid in advance. We will check your payment sheet at Reception to ensure that you have paid the correct amount.
If you have not been required to pay in advance, see the How much does it cost? page for information about application fees and how you can pay. You can check which methods of payment are accepted at each Public Enquiry Office by clicking on the appropriate PEO location under 'Contacts' on this page and looking under the 'Payment' section.
If you pay on the day with a credit card or debit card that is not in your name, the person named on the card must be present to authorise the transaction, and the card must be 'chip and pin' enabled.
Registering your case (5 to 20 minutes)
You will be called to a counter, where your application will be entered onto our IT system. You will be asked to wait until you are called to the biometric enrolment booth. Please note that if you are applying with your spouse or children, it will obviously take a little longer to register your applications for all family members.
Enrolling your biometric information (10 to 15 minutes)
We need to capture your fingerprints, a signature and a live photograph. You will be asked to sign your signature and we will scan that into the system. We will then ask you to place your fingers, followed by your thumbs, on a fingerprint scanner.
When your fingerprints have been recorded, we will take a digital photograph of your face. After biometric capture has taken place, you will be asked to wait while a caseworker begins the consideration of your case and also while we wait for the results of checks of your fingerprints against immigration and criminal databases. Please note that the biometric capture part of the process can take longer for families, particularly those with small children and babies.
Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by a 'responsible adult' to reassure them and ensure that they understand the process. A responsible adult is their parent or guardian, or another person aged 18 years or over who takes responsibility for the child. If a responsible adult is not present at the PEO the biometric enrolment will not take place. Children under 6 years old do not have to provide their fingerprints, but they do have to have their photograph taken on the day.
If your child is five or under, they don't have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression. If your child is under one year old, their eyes don't have to be open. If their head is supported by a hand, the hand must not be visible in the photograph. When accompanying children for their biometric enrolment, you are encouraged to wear the grey cloak provided by the PEO, should your child need to sit on your knee to be photographed. Care should be taken to ensure only your child is visible in the photograph otherwise the enrolment photograph can be rejected after the enrolment has taken place and your child would have to attend the PEO again to enrol their biometric information.
The PEO also has a set of children's steps available so that when your child is enrolling their biometrics they can stand on them safely to reach a suitable height to have their photograph taken, without the need for you to hold them.
Considering your case (60 to 90 minutes)
Our caseworkers will examine your application and make a number of checks on our immigration databases. You may be asked questions about your application, but please do not be concerned if you do not speak with the caseworker. If there are issues with your application, they will speak with you to try and clarify any questions they may have. Your application will be considered according to the current Immigration Rules and regulations. Please note that if you have family dependants, your application may take a little longer to consider and process, simply because of the increased number of individuals to make checks on and enter information against on our IT systems.
Once a decision has been made on your application, you will be notified as quickly as possible and the decision letter and all supporting documents returned to you. If we refuse your application, we will explain the reasons fully and serve you a refusal letter detailing those reasons. We will also tell you whether you have any rights of appeal and what will happen to you next with regards to your stay in the United Kingdom.
We continue to process applications until we have seen the last customer, but the PEO entrance doors will be closed at the scheduled closing time for security reasons. You will still be able to leave the building after this time, but you will not be able to return.
Issuing your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
If your application is successful, you will no longer receive a visa stuck into your passport - you will instead receive a Biometric Residence Permit card. It is a credit-card sized card showing your right to be in the United Kingdom and how long you are entitled to stay and under what category. These cards are issued on our behalf by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea and sent to you by courier within 7 - 10 working days of your decision being made at the PEO.
As your card cannot be issued on the day at the PEO, we advise you not to make any overseas travel arrangements before you receive your BRP card, as you will need to show this card as evidence of your permission to re-enter the UK, when checking in for your return journey to the UK.
Please also note: Your BRP card will be delivered to your home address, as given in your application. If you wish to have it delivered to another address, you must make this clear at the Case Registration stage when your application details are being entered onto our IT system.
For information - if you have residency (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the United Kingdom, your BRP card will show this but the card itself will only be valid for 10 years. This does not mean you have been given 10 years permission to remain, it simply means that you will need to renew your card after 10 years, the same as you are required to do with your passport.
Belfast public enquiry office
Drumkeen House, 1 Drumkeen Complex, Upper Galwally, Belfast BT8 6TB
Cardiff public enquiry office
General Buildings, Ground floor, 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales CF24 0AB
Croydon public enquiry office
Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY
Glasgow public enquiry office
Festival Court, 200 Brand Street, Govan, Glasgow G51 1DH
Liverpool public enquiry office
The Capital Building, 6 Union Street, Liverpool L3 9AF (L3 9AF for satellite navigation devices or google map only)
Sheffield public enquiry office
Vulcan House, Riverside Entrance, 6 Millsands, Sheffield S3 8NU
Solihull public enquiry office
Dominion Court, 41 Station Road, Solihull, Birmingham B91 3RT