After passing the Life in the UK Test I had to go online to book an appointment at the Public Enquiry Office in Croydon (my closest centre) for an in person application for my Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain). It was more expensive (£1,350 compared to £972) but I had plane tickets to go home for Christmas and I was told the postal application could take weeks. As I was leaving on December 16th I didn’t have that time!
You can apply:
- in person through the settlement checking service, (I read this at first and thought- sounds great! I can just go to a local authority near me and put in my application there. I was mistaken. The local authority only checks to make sure you have all your documents and then simply posts it off anyway- so you still have the normal waiting time of a postal application. And not all local authorities offer this service. The closest local authority for me that does these checks is Cambridge. To check your documents and post off your application for you, the local authority in Cambridge charges £55. This is actually on the cheaper side, some of the local authorities charge close to £100 for this service.) For more information about the settlement checking services, visit: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/settlement/applicationtypes/applicationformset(m)/scs/
- by post; or (This costs £972, but can take weeks to decide and you have to mail off important documents like your passport. If you need your passport to travel, and you ask for your passport back, and they haven’t decided your application, you have to start all over again and they don’t refund your money!!!)
- in person at one of our public enquiry offices. (This costs £1,350, but should only take a day and you get your passport back in that day) To find out about applying in person, visit: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/applyinginperson/
To book an appointment online for the premium one day service, I had to set up an online UKBA online account.
I could have also called to book an appointment, but booking online allowed me to see what appointments were available at different PEO’s. I have called up before and sometimes you are on hold for a while.
I booked an appointment for my Settlement application on 26 November 2011 at the Croydon PEO (my closest centre).