Indefinite Leave to Remain appointment in Croydon

September 26, 2011 8pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (38)

Finally after being in the UK for five years, I get to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Actually, I’ve been here five and a half years, but the first half a year was on a Working Holiday visa and so didn’t count.

A month ago I booked an appointment for 3:30pm for today’s date at the Croydon Public Enquiry Office (PEO), and the big day has finally arrived. So I left my house in Tower Hamlets at 2pm, with my 276 pages of documents, plus two photos and two passports (current passport and last expired one):

My indefinite leave to remain application

Arriving in West Croydon there was even a sign pointing towards the Home Office, so I followed it, but that was the last of the signs. Lucky I had maps on my phone, although I wasn’t very happy using my phone in Croydon because it’s not the nicest part of London.

It wasn’t long before I spotted the Home Office’s beautiful building known as Lunar House in Croydon:

Lunar House in West Croydon Lunar House in West Croydon

I had arrived at 2:55pm for my 3:30pm appointment, about right given that they ask you to get there half an hour early to get through security. Well, security was the first step, it was just like being at an airport with an xray with conveyer belt and a metal detector. That took all of about 2 minutes.

Then, I went up to window 6 and talked to a woman who asked me for various bits of my application, including the application itself (known as SET(O)), three months of payslips and my passports (current one and expired one). When I suggested that she take all my documents, I got told “please just give me what I ask for”. Oops. She sent me up to the payment area, and I hoped that that was it. But I knew it probably wasn’t.

The next bit was the easy bit, I put my credit card into the chip-n-pin machine and paid my £1,350. Ouch!

UKBA Indefinite Leave To Remain Receipt

At least the UK Border Agency admit that the extortionate fees go purely to the government, and don’t pretend that it’s to administer the scheme or anything like that. Apparently, Indefinite Leave to Remain was free before 2003.

So by now it was 3:10pm. I was directed to a waiting room with a heap of other people. I sat there for what felt like ages, not playing on my phone because I am a good boy who observed the “turn your mobile phones off” sign, although nobody else did.

A lot of time passed, it was 4:45pm after a while, and absolutely nothing had happened. I was sure the kids nearby would have stopped screaming by now but no, they still had plenty of air in their lungs. I was getting very agitated. The worst bit was that the interview booths were in the waiting room, I figured you would get called to a separate area but no, you have to have your interview in the same room as screaming kids, people talking on cellphones and just general noise. I think that’s totally unfair, and I was sure to mention that on the customer feedback form!

I didn’t take the following picture, I found it on another website which you can get to by clicking the picture. That’s where everybody sits waiting for their interview, but when you’re called, you have your interview in the front row of seats there – the interview booths are there but you can’t really see them in the picture.

Lunar house waiting area

I still hadn’t been called by 5pm, and I noticed that when the staff were finishing with their applicants, they were closing their booths. This of course got me worried that they’d forgotten about me, because the number of people in the room was dwindling. So I asked at the customer service desk, but they assured me that my turn was coming. Really, what’s the point of booking an appointment if you just have to take a number?

Well at 5:15pm I did finally get up there. The woman asked me for some of my documents, and then asked me why I’d spent a lot of time out of the country. I’d been out of the country for around 240 days in five years, but only 81 of those days were not Annual Paid Leave. I pointed to the guidance notes and showed where it clearly stated that absences from of the country consistent with Annual Paid Leave may be disregarded, but she didn’t seem to believe me. After she went and discussed the absences with her supervisor, she returned and told me that everything was fine and that I would be granted the visa.

So I just had to wait another 10 minutes for them to put the visa in my passport and then I was out of there, thank god! I never had to show all the bank statements I had prepared, nor anything over a year old, the checking was overall a lot less thorough than I expected.

EDIT: A bit of further information for people who have googled this story, I came to UK on 19 April 2006 on Working Holiday, changed on 23 October 2006 to Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) – you were allowed to switch while in the UK at that time. 13 October 2008 I renewed my visa under Tier 1 (General) for three years and on 26 September 2011 I applied for Indefinite Leave To Remain. I was not subject to the Life In The UK Test because my five-year period started before 7 November 2006, nor was I subjected to do the points assessment again for the same reason.

38 Responses to “Indefinite Leave to Remain appointment in Croydon”

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  1. Comment by Hannah — September 27, 2011 10am  

    I remember Lunar House and that accursed waiting room!!!!!

  2. Comment by MumSeptember 28, 2011 9am  

    I hope you don’t get hate mail from anyone in Croydon. Good story.

  3. Comment by Dani — December 21, 2011 11am  

    Nice story – very useful – and how did you ‘prove’ which days were your annual leave and which were not? I have a situation where I have been outside the UK a lot but this was mainly for business and the rest for holiday, but I do not know how to prove this (although I have had the same job for all that time without any terminations). My employer can of course write me a letter about this but not sure whether that would be enough…

  4. Comment by matt — December 22, 2011 3am  

    I had payslips which showed that I was still getting paid during that time, but they never actually looked at the payslips, they just looked at my employer’s reference which showed the dates I was employed there. I think the employer writing a letter would probably be enough.

  5. Comment by Ali — May 7, 2012 8am  

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for this. I’m also a kiwi applying for Indefinite leave soon and I was very worried about my amount of time out of the country (292 days in 6 years). I feel a lot better after reading about absences from the country tied to annual paid leave being disregarded.
    Your description of lunar house is spot on too! I’ll be happy when I don’t have to go back there again.

  6. Comment by Ashley — November 5, 2012 12pm  


    I am applying for my IDL in December; I am taking my test this weekend and am trying to get an appointment in Croydon (and any where else in the UK) but at this point there are no appoinments available according to the website.

    How long did you have to wait until you were able to get an appointment? I am starting to worry because I dont want to have to send my application by post.

    Any advice would be great.


  7. Comment by matt — November 5, 2012 7pm  

    I had no problems booking an appointment, I booked six weeks in advance I think. But I have read lots of people having the same problem as you.

    I’d suggest posting your question on – They really seem to know what they’re talking about there.

  8. Comment by Douglas — November 9, 2012 12pm  

    Give me Croydon anyday over New Zealand . Nothing wrong with the pace . May you should enter it from East Croydon instead of the ghettos of West Croydon and you might not have such a low opinion of the place

  9. Comment by silvana — January 14, 2013 3pm  

    Is there any telephone number one can call the Croydon office? I’ve been trying for months to book an appointment online for BR1 but sad to say everytime I try, they have none available and the next page says – I quote “If you have been unsuccessful in finding an avaliable appointment, please do not call our contact centres. They do not have any additional appointments avaliable to them.” It takes within 6 months to get the certificate or a reply from them if you need to send the form/s by post….

  10. Comment by jayceeJanuary 18, 2013 12am  

    hi yea… can u help me.. well im planning to get my annual leave which is 28 days and 20 unpaid days leave.. all 48 days out of the country… is this fine ? or i might get in trouble.. this is my 4yrs here and my 1st time going out of the country

  11. Comment by Ella — February 8, 2013 1pm  

    I have the same problem as Silvana.I have been trying since December to book a March appointment for a SET(O)application. Anybody out there with advice?

  12. Comment by Tiffany — February 20, 2013 1pm  

    Just keep trying, normally i found that there is appointment between 12.30-1pm and just before 5pm but those time is race against time to book as i guess many people trying to book the same slot and in many occasion i been unsucessful. i got my appointment for tomorrow last week about 10.30pm. hope this help

  13. Comment by JackieApril 15, 2013 11am  


    Hi there,

    This is just a note to everyone who is looking to use a visa agency – don’t use Capital Visas to do your visa if you have anything less than a straightforward application.

    They included 3 errors within my application and it was so close to not being accepted. They did accept grant me my visa on the basis of my banking transactions, but my paperwork was not correct.

    What is the worst part (and the reason I am now writing this review), I spoke to them about 3 times to try and gain a minimal compensation for their errors; however, they first didn’t feel it was their responsibility to check my accounting paper work (if that is the case, then what did I pay them for!?) and since I got my visa they didn’t think it was their fault.

    I obviously got my visa because I qualified; however, my application was not very good. Even further still, the process of collating the information was not very concise or informative – multiple emails to get across a single message.

    It has been 4 weeks now and they still haven’t had the decency to call me to apologise for their errors. It has left me no choice, but to share my experience with everyone. Getting your visa is a very stressful situation, and I wouldn’t make it worse by hiring Capital Visas.

    Good luck!

  14. Comment by Binki — October 10, 2013 9pm  

    I very recently went Croydon PEO office for getting my settlement ASAP, as I have already planed to travel out side the UK next month ,I booked and paid off £3752 for my self and two dependents in advance It is so called Premium Service and also is known as one day service ,
    As usual I was waiting in the waiting room while looking the screen display ,suddenly I seen my file No has moved on processing ,I haven’t received any letters from them last 4 weeks time ,still I am awaiting??
    1)How the UKBA charging like this high amount for the premium service while they are doing nothing ??
    2)On their UKBA website , they haven’t mentioned about this premium service delay ( they say 95% on the same day, what is going to happen rest of 5%? , what is their Max processing time?( I would say 5% on the same day )
    3) I well knew most of the SET(0) applicants ,still waiting for reply specially from Croydon office.
    4) I personally think ,This is kind of method to steal the money,
    5) I am very unlucky person because If I seen this article before , I never went through Croydon Office

  15. Comment by Thasan — April 14, 2014 9am  

    Hi I am Tier1(General) migrant. Which forms should i fill?
    Am I want to fill separate forms for each dependents ?
    or a single form ?
    pl advice

  16. Comment by Sera — May 20, 2014 4pm  

    Hi All,

    I will be applying this week for ILR and i am so nervous. For all those trying to get appointments and not being able to – it is because appointments come up only 6 weeks in advance. if you try earlier, you will get “no appointments available” message. the best way is to book exactly 6 weeks ahead of time, this way you get there first in line.

    yes, i’ve been to croydon before and there is no guarantee that they will give you the visa on the same day. they may say they need to do further inquiries and send you back. but at least you get the opportunity to clarify any queries they have or provide further documentation if required. so i guess its worth paying the extra rather than having you application rejected and losing the entire fee. hope this helps. wish me luck!!

  17. Comment by Pamela — June 2, 2014 6pm  

    Gosh I aso wanted to book an appointment and on Sunday, 1 June I went online to book a personal appointment at Croydon indicated that I wanted an appointment between 9 June and 23 June at any time and any day and up came 9 June and any time from 8.30 so perhaps I was lucky. Had to pay immediately for ILR and £400 so now just have to go to appointment.

  18. Comment by chez — June 17, 2014 5pm  

    Hi….my husband applied for ILA 2 days ago and I must say I was very impressed with the service. I found it stress free..and proffesional. Our appointment was 10 am we arrived 30 min early. .Make sure you bring a print out of your appoinment or the email on your phone and DONT arrive too early or they will not allow you to access the building. After going through secruity we went to the 3rd floor… where we had to show the payment slip, passports and application..We then went to waiting soon as we sat down we were called to the desk to present pictures and passports again. We were then told to take a seat and wait to be called for the biometrics..again as so as we sat down we were called for biometrics. After that we were told the decision will b made in 90 minutes. The waiting seemed for ever as we anxiously awaited our number to be called. What was good u can see on the screens in the waiting area where u stood for example it told you your application us bring considered. .Finally I’m our number came up for collection it had taken under an hour. And thank u God it was successful. I was told they now run a new system and it works Good luck all. O

  19. Comment by Khan — June 24, 2014 10am  


    I would like to drop off this short note for you guys if you help me. I had my ILR in Oct 2011 but my pass port had expired and I had renewed new passport but my ILR is still in old expired passport. So do I need to transferred to new passport or still valid with carrying 2 passports.

    Please I will be waiting for your suggestions on this matter and will be greatly appreciated.


    Mr R Khan

  20. Comment by jkhan — August 1, 2014 4pm  

    Mr R khan simply send both passport with your Application.

  21. Comment by Chris — August 8, 2014 4pm  

    Just did the process up in Croydon with my US-born wife today — premium service FTW. Literally 20 minutes once we got past security — she checked in, then someone registered her, then a few minutes’ wait, then biometrics, and bam, we were out the door. The agent stays to get the results and to address any issues that might come up.

    The application was prepared and checked by an excellent legal firm in London (who work with this agency). We’d read a lot of horror stories online about what happens when you go for the application, and every person who moaned that they were turned down, if you read their account, it’s because they were sloppy or ill-prepared. You *don’t* need an agent or a lawyer, but you need to be damned well sure that you have all of the correct paperwork and have filled out everything exactly as the HM wants it.

    My wife’s fee was paid in advance, so we were spared that queue as well.

    The waiting room we were in looks nothing like the one pictured above; very few people — there was an enormous queue waiting to get in, but the premium service allows you to bypass all of that. If you can afford it, do it.

    On the other hand, you can’t avoid obnoxious kids; the waiting room we were in was clean and quiet, except for the yummy mummy and her four screaming, Anglo-American kids.

    There was no interview, and the desks in which her papers were processed and registered were private and discreet.

  22. Comment by shaheen laeeqAugust 15, 2014 7am  

    kindly let me know my status of indefinate stay in uk my date of birth is 22/oct 1953 and you are requested to provide all relevent refrences and oblidge

  23. Comment by shaheen laeeqAugust 15, 2014 7am  

    kindly let me know the status of my indefinate stay in uk granted to me my date of birth is 22/10/1953 along with detail and your sugustion the case number if posible

  24. Comment by Happy house — November 2, 2014 7pm  

    Can I just add to a post that was written above,
    Do NOT use Capital visas to do your vid application.
    I paid them £700 and they never did my Husband
    Visa and I have never heard from them again.
    Tried every way to get my money back. Had to
    Pay out to get it done with another company.

  25. Comment by Ad — December 4, 2014 11pm  

    Hi Chris,
    Which agency did u use?

  26. Comment by Tamara — December 23, 2014 1pm  

    What number do you call to make an appointment at the Home Office? Thank you

  27. Comment by Ali — January 5, 2015 11pm  

    I applied for ILR Set(M) application on 23/12/2014
    my wife is brithish n i got 1 daughter she is 2 year old. we went for ILR to croydon but after 90 mints wiat they gave me one latter on latter it was written you have to wait we will do further enquires n we will send you decition.
    any one can tell me how much time they will take more please. because we plan holiday so if they cant issue me visa then i have to cancil my holidays.

  28. Comment by David — January 7, 2015 10am  

    Congrats and thanks for sharing. I have lost confidence in the whole system. I hate migrant like me treating me like he/she is better than me cos they have job at the Home Office. UK is not the best place in the world to live and work.
    Thank D

  29. Comment by Imran — March 8, 2015 4pm  

    Hi I had an interview with my wife last week in liver pool for ILR interview they asked me really detail questions some answers were contradicted and my wife is quite older than me but its a genuine marriage so my question is how long will it take to make their decision and if Some of the answers are wrong so what is the probablity of acceptance?

  30. Comment by Heather — April 30, 2015 11am  

    Thanks for writing your experience. It helped calm me about the application process.
    Does anyone know, if your ILR is approved, can you leave the country the next day to go on holiday or do you have to wait?

  31. Comment by Susa — May 26, 2015 11am  

    What agency did you use Chris ?

  32. Comment by KJ — November 7, 2015 10pm  

    Hi there,please can you advise if I can do a face to face application using earnings from abroad?I will like same day decision but am not sure if they will be able to decide that very day because of earnings from abroad

  33. Comment by Nazrul — December 3, 2015 4pm  

    I am settled person and applied for my naturalization last couple of months before and waiting for the HO decision, my wife got two years settled person dependent visa and I have 14 years old daughter, My question is , do I need to apply for my daughter’s separate ILR or can apply for her registration directly using MN1 from. Although she born in abroad.
    Any help please….

  34. Comment by Gina — January 11, 2016 9am  

    I applied as a returning resident for indefinite leave to remain from jordan last february but i was refused it as i had been out of uk too long. Then i made an appeal.
    I came to the uk on a visit visa which i had since the previous two years and thought i could attend my appeal hearing as well.
    I received an email last month from the visa and immigration section in jordan saying they have revoked their decision about the refusal of my indefinite leave to remain and will grant it to me.
    As i am still in the uk im worried to return to jordan and want to continue the procedure from here. Do you know if this is possible?
    I still havent heard back from them and its been a month and every email i send to any department in the uk or jordan no one seems to know anything about my case.
    I have a temporary leave to remIn until may 2016 which my lawyer got for me as an extension of the visit visa.
    Any advice about who i should contact regarding my situation?

  35. Comment by yasin — January 18, 2016 8pm  

    i am a returning resident to the UK, and i have already taken fingerprint in biometric resident card, i am wish to settle in the UK, as a highly skill migrant or indefinite leaving to remain, personally i cant return to my home country, due to the fact many factor, I would like to get a right information before i am applying in any settlement forum categories. please can you provide advise regarding my situation.

  36. Comment by lennyFebruary 22, 2016 2pm  

    Pease send me the phone number of the office in Croydon inorder to take an appointment Because i tried contacting this number i.e 08706067766 frantically but i am not getting any reply
    thanking you
    Lenny Quinn

  37. Comment by Ambrish ajinkya — February 27, 2016 11pm  

    List of documents required and appointment website is not easily accessible. We would like to take psc or same day service appointment apparently it’s not giving us any options for booking one please help us

  38. Comment by S Malik — April 28, 2016 7am  

    Hi, I booked my appointment online for set (o) application. My solicitor told me I am eligible to book an appointment because I spent more than 6 years on discretionary leave since I got my first 3 years visa.
    But when I went on interview they told me I applied 3 weeks early and they kept my all documents.In letter is mentioned they are satisfied with my circumstances and extending leave to remain visa. But did not offer me indefinite officer told me I do not need to pay any thing coz I paid fee allready. But letter tells me I have to pay. Do I need to pay? And what will be next. Do I need to book again and pay again fee for indefinite visa?

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