If you are switching or extending your visa in the UK you have the option of paying for the Premium Service, where you attend an appointment at a Premium Service Centre to have your application processed. As I explained in my previous post about how to extend your Tier 2 (General) visa, I chose this option because I needed quick processing to avoid interfering with some travel plans I had already made.
Here is an overview on how my appointment went so you will know what to expect if you choose the Premium Service option for your own application.
Booking your appointment
You can select the Premium Service option at the end of your online visa application. You will then be asked to choose which Premium Service Centre location you want to attend the appointment at to see a calendar of available appointment slots. There are Premium Service Centres located in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, and Sheffield. If you are in London it is worth checking the availability at the Croydon centre as usually Croydon will have earlier appointments available. Also, the London centre only processes Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas.
I selected the London centre for my appointment and had to wait 2 weeks for an available time slot. I could have got an appointment at Croydon a couple of days earlier but I didn’t mind waiting a little longer to get an appointment at a location which was easier for me to travel to.
What to bring to your appointment
These are the documents I brought for my Tier 2 (General) appointment. Your documents may vary depending on your own personal circumstances.
- My printed application form and document checklist
- My current passport
- My previous passport which contained my visa
- Two passport photos with my name written on the back
- Certificate of Sponsorship document
- Two photocopies of my current passport photo page and my visa
- Payment confirmation for my visa and immigration health surcharge (just in case)
How to get to the London Premium Service Centre
The London Premium Service Centre is located at Globe House, which is right outside Victoria train station. If you are arriving at Victoria there are wayfinders on the ground directing you to the Passport Office, the Premium Service Centre is located in the same building so you can follow these.
The wayfinders will direct you to Exit 1 at Victoria station, you need to turn right when you go outside. Again, there is a sign posted above the exit to direct you where to go.
The Passport Office is just at the top of the street, at the corner of Bridge Place and Belgrave Road. You will know its the right building as there are plenty of signs. Head to the customer appointments entrance.
There was a long queue when I arrived but this was for passport appointments. I told a member of staff at the entrance that I was there for a visa appointment, he handed me a yellow piece of paper with instructions and directed me to a different security line with only one other person in it. You need to place your bag on an airport-style security belt and walk through a metal detector. There’s a sign in the window saying you’re not allowed to eat food or drink inside, although I didn’t have any with me so I’m not sure if security would have stopped me from taking it in.
Once through security you need to head up to the first floor to check in, as per the instructions on the yellow piece of paper. Ignore the check in desk on the ground floor as this is for passport applications.
I approached the check in desk on the first floor and gave them my name, they asked me to sit in the waiting area while they called someone to get me. After maybe a minute or so someone came out to take my documents and directed me to the desk where I would have my biometrics taken.
The biometrics simply involves having your fingerprints scanned and a photo taken. The photo they took of me at the appointment was the one that they used on my Biometrics Residence Permit. I didn’t realise this at the time as I thought they would use the passport photo I provided, and unfortunately my hair in the photo is a bit windswept. I had a bit of a laugh when I received the BRP in the mail and saw the photo.
The biometrics part of the appointment only took about 5 minutes, I was then told to return to the waiting room and they would let me know when they’d made a decision on my application.
You’re not allowed to use your phone at all so definitely bring a book or something else to keep you entertained while you wait. I had about a 30 minute wait before they called me back in to let me know my application was successful.
All my documents were returned to me and the only other thing I needed to do was read through a print out of my details to check everything was correct. They then gave me a letter which confirmed that my application was successful and advised that my Biometric Residence Permit would be mailed to me separately and should arrive within 7 working days. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in the post only 2 working days later. Someone will need to be at your delivery address to sign for the BRP when it arrives. Unfortunately they don’t give you any tracking details so you won’t know which day it is going to be delivered.
Everything was finished a lot sooner than I had expected, with the appointment only taking about 40 minutes in total. I think I was lucky that I was only applying for an extension so my application was fairly straight forward. If you have a more complex application I expect the appointment may take longer.