FLR with biometrics - 7 weeks in total
For anybody wondering about the process for obtaining Further Leave to Remain with biometric information via a postal application, I thought I'd share our recent experience.
It took exactly 7 weeks from posting the application to receiving the residence permit/Identity Card for Foreign Nationals. With this kind of thing I'm always a little bit nervous just in case things don't run smoothly and there were a couple of moments for potential confusion along the way. This is the sequence of events: -
13/01/10 Posted Application to Durham.
14/01/10 Credit Card charged with application fee (they don't mess around do they!)
19/01/10 Acknowledgement Received
17/02/10 Invitation to book a biometric appointment received.
We booked the appointment on line. You first of all have to register with the site. The process asks you to enter your "Reference ID". However, The letter has two references; "Our Reference" and "Case Reference Number". It turns out that it's the case reference number you use - it would have been helpful if the terminology on the web site matched that used in the letter.
After registering you get an email saying "We are now processing your details and will send you an email confirming your logon details soon." it implies that this might take 24 hours to process. However, in practice the email with the logon details was received about 15 minutes later. You then logon and select an appointment at the biometric enrolment centre most convenient to you. In our case it was Sheffield. There were a number of appointment slots available the earliest being only 2 days later, which wasn't convenient for us so we booked one for the following Monday - 22/02/10. You only have 15 working days from the date of the letter to complete the biometric enrolment and the invitation letter itself took 6 days to arrive. So, make sure you've got plenty of flexibility around the time you need to make the appointment.
When the appointment has been fixed you get a web page confirming this with details of the booking and instructions on what to do on the day of the appointment. The next point of confusion here is that on the appointment letter there is a box which requires you to write the Booking Reference Number (BRN) in it. Nowhere on the booking confirmation page is there any mention of the BRN. The appointment letter makes it clear that you should write the mysterious number on the letter and you MUST bring the letter with you on the appointment or the appointment might not proceed. I fretted about this thinking I'd done something wrong or overlooked something and feared that the whole process might collapse because I didn't have the number. Exactly 24 hours later I received an email with the magic number - I really wish they'd mentioned that was going to happen on the booking confirmation page - it would have saved a little bit of anxiety on my part!
22/02/10 - The day of the biometric appointment.
When you book you are informed that you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the appointment in order to clear security. They're not wrong! In practice this meant standing in a depressingly long queue outside in the snow on a bitterly cold day. There were people of all nationalities in the queue, some of whom were not entirely acquainted with British etiquette of standing in line. I spent most of the time defending my position from one lady who seemed intent on executing a flanking manoeuvre to gain a couple of places! The security guards were taking around 2 minutes to process each person and seemed quite satisfied at the discomfort of those shivering outside. I'd recommend anyone attending Sheffield to be suitably attired for the prevailing conditions (my wife still hasn't got the hang of dressing for the weather!).
Once inside though the staff were very friendly and helpful. We had to wait for about 20 minutes to be called. The biometric enrolment process involved answering a few questions to check identity, name, date of birth, whether there'd been an application for a visa in any other name etc. Then a scan of the fingers of each hand, then the thumbs of both hands together, followed by a photograph. We were then told to go back to the waiting area whilst everything was checked. This took around 30 minutes after which we were told that it was OK to leave. I think they do this because previously some people have had to return for a second appointment because the scans were not correct. The wait is definitely preferable to having to repeat the whole experience. I asked a member of staff how long the process would take after this and he said 4-6 weeks. This caused some concern for my wife who suddenly realised that she might not make it home for Songkran if her passport wasn't back in time! The whole appointment from queuing outside to leaving took around 1 & 1/2 hours.
03/03/10 The postman arrives with a recorded delivery package containing our passports and supporting documentation.
Much quicker than we'd been lead to believe. The Missus is delighted and immediately tells me to start looking for flights to Thailand for Songkran! The letter returning the documents says that an Identity Card for Foreign Nationals (ICFN) will be issued and should be received within 7 days. I breathe a sigh of relief.
About 20 minutes later, there's another knock on the door. This time it's a courier with a letter for my wife. He wants to see proof of identity for her - it's just as well the postman had arrived first with her passport as we wouldn't have been able to satisfy that request! It also coincided with me having a day off work which was a stroke of luck. In the letter is ICFN - Process completed.
So all's well that ends well.
I hope that this tale might give some comfort to anybody else about to go through the same experience.
heard nothing yet !!! FLR (M)
please can anyone tell me what is the normal time scale for getting flr(m), sent wife`s off DEC 12 th 2009 all we have had so far is is an acknowledgment AND NO PAYMENT TAKEN !!! also the bio metric testing what is it ? she had fingerprints taken in bangkok will we have to repeat ?
many thanks alan & tom
Originally Posted by eyesi
My wifes FLR(M) also arrived on the 3 March. I think we posted the application about a week before you posted yours. So, there appears to be consistancy in the timings you have submitted and our own experience! Thanks very much for the posting.
Sounds a bit odd to me - I'd chase them up. Taking payment seems to be the first thing they normally do! If your wife has already given biometrics then I believe you don't have to do it again
Originally Posted by alanr
I spoke to someone today who told me that his wife (recently married in the UK on fiance visa) had to have fingerprints taken again along with the retina scan when applying for the FLR + id, he was "surprised" that they were required again.
Originally Posted by eyesi
I have no idea if visa applicants have retina scans in Bangkok, thankfully we have avoided the current id requirements.
I also pointed him to this site as it appears he was doing most of the work via agencies.
Tags for this Thread