As someone that has just gone through the stressful process of applying for my latest visa in the UK, I thought I would share my experience and tips for using the UK Visas and Immigration premium service.
Disclaimer: This is based on my experience and you should seek professional advice if you are unsure. Go to GOV UK to check if there have been any changes to the visa rule & fees.
Premium Service Appointment Booking
In order to book the premium service appointment you need to complete the online application (for my ILR I used the new visa immigration website), it will be the last stage of the online application process providing you with three options to submit your application. One being the premium service, the type of visa’s this service is offered to are:
- Tier 2 or 4 visa
- Tier 2 or 4 dependant – applying on your own
- Tier 1 or 5 dependant – applying on your own
- Remain in the UK with family – applying in the partner, family life as a partner or private life in the UK routes
The website also mentions all other applications which
The most important tip!!! Make sure you know when your application window is and have your application ready (i.e. all completed online).
Appointments are available from 45 business days before the start of your final 28 days of your existing visa (the window in which you are allowed to apply). This is super important as the appointments are really hard to come by!
To give you an example of timelines, my visa expired on the 10th of September 2018 so I counted back 28 days which was the 13th of August. Appointments open up 45 business days beforehand, in my
I applied at
This was not easy! I spent an hour refreshing, trying different laptops and browser until an appointment showed up. I thought it was a glitch on the new website but it could just be that booked out! It was the most stressful hour of my life trying to get the appointment section to work so not an easy task at all. Sheffield/ Birmingham is generally an easier office to get an appointment. I even knew a guy that needed to fly to Glasgow to get an appointment but he left it super last minute.
Just keep trying on different browser type until it works (not super helpful I know!), if you really struggle I suggest giving the Visas and Immigration a bell and see if they can recommend anything.
Here are some forums and response from the Home Office on how to get appointments:
- The number of Appointments released each day at each PEO is 1) Glasgow, 35 2)Liverpool, 58 3)Sheffield,30 4) Cardiff, 26 5) Belfast, 12 6) Solihull, 40 and Croydon 220.
- New appointment slots are released between Midnight and 6 am from Monday to Friday.
- Released appointments must be booked online and there is no longer any telephone booking service.
- There is the UKBA helpline number 0871 606 7766 and they may be able to book appointments in emergency situations otherwise you must book online.
- Solicitors and Legal Representatives get a separate service which they get to register on and are provided other appointments that aren’t given to the public.
The premium appointment website has some stats on the availability of Premium Service Appointment which provides some statistics on the appointments. The most notable statement in the stats is – “within that time 3021 slots were detected, most of which are released after midnight for a date 42 days upfront.”
Look at trying some of the tips above if you are struggling to get an appointment during normal hours. Make sure you book the first available appointment, I’ve read that it is a lot easier to re-book to a date than getting your first appointment. Basically, that’s what I did, the first appointment was out of hours which did charge an extra £75 but meant I had an appointment!
In the forum it mentions that he had a feeling that cancellations where around 11am, that’s around the time I ended up getting a random appointment show so try around this time as well :).
What locations can you get a Premium Service Appointment?
You can get an appointment at any of these Visas and Immigration locations:
- Croydon public enquiry office – Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY.
- Liverpool public enquiry office – The Capital Building, 6 Union Street, Liverpool L3 9AF.
- 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.
- Glasgow public enquiry office – Festival Court, 200 Brand Street, Govan, Glasgow G51 1DH.
- 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.
Tip number two… The appointment doesn’t have to be in the city you
Indefinite Leave to Remain Premium Service Fees
The current fee for 2018 is £610 and then if you have an appointment out of hours there will be an additional £75 fee.
The latest fees for premium service can be found on the GOV.UK website.
How Long Does a Premium Visa Appointment Take
I would allow 3 to 5 hours for the appointment. I had
I expect the appointments later in day to take longer as the backlog increases with more appointments arriving.
Preparation for the Appointment
The preparation before the appointment is just ensuring that you have your application completed, booking confirmation, checklist (ticked) and all the documentation prepared. Make sure have certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
On the document checklist it mentions to help speed-up the process to provide copies of all your documents which I also included.
I brought mine all neatly separated in different files and categories to make it easier for the
What to Expect During a Premium Service Appointment at the Visas and Immigration
I had no idea what to expect on the day of my appointment, all I knew is that I needed to have all my preparation ready and arrive 15 minutes before my timeslot. When you arrive at the Visas and Immigration you will have several steps throughout the day which covers:
- Case Registration
- Biometric Enrolment
- Case Allocation and Consideration
- Return of Documents
Arrival at Premium (same day) Service Centre
The Visas and Immigration have tight security and they request that you arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to go through all the checks. The guard will ask to check your appointment date and time, once confirmed you will head through security. It’s exactly like going to the airport you take belts off, take out anything in your pockets, pull your laptop out of your bag and whatever else.
After the security checks you need to head to the reception area, the guard will advise you where you need to go.
I arrived 20 minutes earlier than my appointment but as reception doesn’t open until 8 am I couldn’t check in. I wasn’t aware that when reception opens at that everyone runs there to get their appointment first.
Top tip, if your appointment is at 8.10am make sure you are at
If your appointment is at any other time then it is recommended to report to the reception desk not earlier than 10 minutes before the time of your appointment.
The receptionist will check all your documents, mainly it is general checks like ensuring that your application form is valid and matches your visa/passport and you’ve paid.
After the receptionist is happy you are given a ticket number and asked to wait in the waiting area. The waiting area will have TVs showing ticket numbers and where your ticket is in the process.
Now that you have your ticket number you will be called up to have your case registered. This will be announced over the PA system and display your ticket number on the screen with
This stage the officer will add your application to their database and prepare a folder for your documents. Just provide all the supporting documentation for your application and the photocopies
At this stage, the officers will upload your application onto immigration databases and you will be asked to arrange your supporting documentation for your application/photocopies in preparation for the Immigration c
They handed me back the prepared file to take to the Biometric Enrolment phase. The same process will happen again with your ticket number.
Once completed, you will be asked to take a seat and listen out for your ticket number to be called again.
Yet again your number will be called,
Then it’s a few finger prints, a photo (with no smile ☹) and a signature
Once finished the officer will add your case in the queue for consideration and decision making.
They say that at this stage you can leave the building for a short time or wait in the waiting area. If you wish to go outside, please make sure
Case Allocation and Consideration
This is the longest part of the process is where your application and supporting documents are being allocated to an Immigration Caseworker and you are waiting for a decision. With the premium
Mine thankfully was made on the day and the whole decision time took 2 hours. During that time I was nervously stressing in the waiting room wondering if I would get the approval to stay. I couldn’t find all my employment history so I thought this might impact my application although I had
Another tip, make sure that you bring something along to keep you entertained. The waiting rooms are pretty boring….
Return of Documents
The moment of truth… Once a decision has been made, you will be called to collect your documents and application decision letter.
The BRP card should arrive in 10 working days, there are details in the letter of what to do if your BRP card doesn’t arrive.
If your application has been refused, the Immigration Caseworker will explain the reasons why.
Video Summarising the
Any questions let me know in the comments below!