Dear Mr Bassie,
I read your column and recently you mentioned that the British authorities have a premium service. Could you please advise me as to what types of application can be made using this service?
Various types of applications can normally be submitted in person by using the 'premium service' at the public enquiry offices in the United Kingdom. However, there are some public enquiry offices that cannot handle all types of application.
It should be noted that the public enquiry offices (PEO) cannot consider a person's application if he or she has been given discretionary leave to remain or humanitarian protection, or is a person with a poor immigration history; also, if he or she is applying for permanent residence on the basis of 10 or 14 years' residence; or is a business person, innovator, sole representative or investor, or a seaman, a Gurkha or an elderly dependant.
Also, the offices will not be able to consider an application from a parent of a child who is settled in the United Kingdom, a parent exercising access rights and/or any application outside of the immigration rules.
It should also be noted that a PEO cannot consider an application if the applicant's case is complex, or if the applicant's sponsor is a staff member of the Home Office or the United Kingdom Border Agency.
In order to protect the confidentiality of a person's sponsor and to prevent any possibility of corrupt behaviour, these applications must be made by post. A person should send his or her application to the address on the application form, with a note stating, if that is so, that the sponsor is a serving member of staff at the Home Office or the United Kingdom Border Agency.
Also, a PEO cannot consider an application if the person has applied for settlement in the following categories where the continuous residence period includes time spent in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and these categories are the points-based system; work outside the points-based system (work permit holder, overseas domestic worker in a private household, UK ancestry); or a business person, innovator, investor, or sole representative.
A PEO can accept applications for permission to extend a person's stay, known as 'limited leave to remain', or to settle permanently, known as 'indefinite leave to remain', in the United Kingdom, in the following categories:
The general category includes husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner - forms FLR(M), SET(M); children - forms FLR(O) for non points-based system cases under the Immigration Rules, SET(O) and SET(F), and that is only if the child entered the United Kingdom with the correct entry clearance.
Also included in this category are visitors - form FLR(O), for medical visitors, academic visitors and parents accompanying children under 12 years of age who are receiving private education in the United Kingdom.
It should be noted that only some PEO's are able to do the transfer of conditions (TOC) and no time limit (NTL), transferring indefinite leave to remain, and for transferring temporary permission to stay into new passports.
If a person is applying to extend his or her stay or settle in the United Kingdom as the spouse or partner of a person who is settled there, both the applicant and his or her partner must attend the appointment.
If the applicant's partner cannot go, then the applicant must take a letter to say that he or she supports the application. That person must sign and date the letter and give the authorities a daytime phone number, so that contact can be made, if necessary. However, the spouse or partner who is settled in the United Kingdom must be present in the United Kingdom at the time of the application.
The points-based system, including Tier 1 (post-study work), Tier 1 (general), Tier 1 (investor) - leave to remain (super premium only), Tier 2 (general), Tier 2 (intra-company transfer), Tier 2 (minister of religion), Tier 2 (sportsperson), Tier 4 (general), Tier 4 (child), Tier 5 (Temporary worker - creative and sporting), Tier 5 (temporary worker - charity worker), Tier 5 (temporary worker - religious worker), Tier 5 (temporary worker - government authorised exchange), Tier 5 (temporary worker - international agreement), and dependants of migrants under the points-based system - form PBS (dependant).
Another category includes work outside the points-based system such as domestic worker in a private household - forms FLR(O) and SET(O), offshore worker - form FLR(O), UK ancestry - forms FLR(O) and SET(O), applying for an extension of visa on the highly skilled migrant programme - form FLR HSMP (leave to remain).
Then there is the government and military category, which includes the armed forces indefinite leave to remain following discharge - form SET(O); the armed forces dependants - extensions and indefinite leave to remain - form FLR(O) and SET (O), and civilian employee of armed forces (civilian component) - form FLR(O).
There is also a category for medical studies specifically including Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test - form FLR(O) and clinical attachment - form FLR(O).
The following should be noted: the PEO's do not accept applications for travel documents, these applications should be made by post.
The PEOs are for applicants applying in person. However, in exceptional circumstances, a person can submit an application on another person's behalf if he or she is the husband, wife, sister, brother, parent or legal guardian. That person must carry a letter of authorisation signed by the applicant.
It should also be noted that the legal representatives cannot use the PEO service on behalf of clients, unless they are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, and have sent the authorities a written request.
Another service offered by the PEO is that if a person's travel documents are currently with the United Kingdom Border Agency, but the applicant urgently requires them for travel, Croydon PEO offers a service that can return those documents to the applicant, unless they have been sent to the authorities with an application for British citizenship.
The authorities will need to find and retrieve the documents before the applicant can collect them, so the PEO can only offer this service if the applicant contacts the PEO in advance, by completing a return of document request form.
Once the documents have been located, the PEO will tell the applicant that his or her documents are ready for collection. Usually, the documents can be collected from the 'return of documents' desk at the public enquiry office between 9 a.m. and 12 noon Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
I hope this helps.
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.