In our last PSC post we wrote about the services and facilities available to you at the Croydon Premium Service Centre. As far as interior facilities go, Solihull is very similar to Croydon. However, they offer quite a few more visa services than the London sister location does.
Making the appointment
Once again, you must have an appointment to be seen at the PSC; the best method of booking one is to go online. You will have to apply for whichever visa you need an extension for, then you will be provided with the instructions to book your biometrics appointment. As with most of the visa and passport offices the phones seem to be unmanned, so it's best to call in as a last resort. Before the appointment you should have your online application, certified translations of documents not in English or Welsh, confirmation of payment and IHS confirmation printed and ready to present to the receptionist.
Inside the Centre
You should arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to ensure that you make it through security in time. It should be obvious, but do not bring any sharp objects, flammable liquids or contraband into a government building. You will not pass go, you will not collect £200 and most importantly (depending on what you stash) you might go to jail. Once you've passed security, follow the signs to the reception area. Occasionally, they may be very busy and will call your name to verify your document checklist and give you a ticket. if you don't receive one within 10 minutes go up to reception and ask again.
You may wait a while before being called again to submit your documents to an officer; be patient. When you're summoned make sure you have all your documents and photocopies ready to hand over. Make sure that the phone number on your application is one that you will have in and around the centre because at this point you may leave and they will call you when it is time to file your biometrics.
An officer will lead you through a glass door where they will take your fingerprints, signature and photos. They will then check these against immigration and police databases to make sure you’re not a criminal. After this short stage, the biometrics officer will take your documents and pass them over to the immigration caseworker and you will have to wait for the decision once more. Hopefully, your case is approved and your BRP is ordered on the spot (10 working days to arrive). Occasionally, the caseworkers won’t be able to make an immediate decision for reasons that don’t necessarily have to do with you. While incredibly annoying, it’s still fine; you will receive an update via email and if approved they will send your BRP and it will arrive within 10 working days.
What services and facilities do they have?
Nearly all immigrants can use the Solihull centre to extend their stays. This PSC is likely to cater to those with families or special circumstances (refugees). If you've applied with forms FLR (IR), FLR (M), SET(O) or SET (M) you will have no issues at this centre. You can find a more extensive list here but ultimately after filing your application online if this centre does not appear as an option then that answers the question for you.
Let us talk about the facilities in and around the building available to you on your journey. For your entertainment, the Home Office has provided a television, radio and photograph booth. For the daily necessities, they have toilets, a baby changing and mothers' room and a multi-faith prayer room. There are not any cafeterias though there is a vending machine for drinks in the building and they provide potable water. If you start to feel peckish during your wait you may bring some snacks or venture out to The White Swan. If you plan on leaving the building be sure to hand your mobile number over to the reception.
What should I bring?
Again, you’re paying a lot of money (£500-£800) to get this sorted, you needed to make an appointment to get in, so don’t make a pig's ear of it. Remember your checklist for all of the documents that you need, including that certified translation of your birth certificate that you just ordered.
As stated above, there is not much entertainment on the telly and it is unlikely that everyone will find interest in what is being broadcasted. You should bring a fully charged mobile with a backup portable charger. If you have young children with you, bring a few books or games to keep them entertained throughout the 2-5 hours you will spend there (the telly is not likely to be broadcasting BBC Kids). For sustenance, you might find that the prices are too high at the Paramo Lounge or you just don't feel like eating out; I suggest you bring your own meals.
And that’s it! You’ve reached the end of our rather comprehensive guide of Birmingham's Premium Service Centre. Hopefully, we’ve provided enough information for those considering using this service at this particular location and you all can be prepared for all the hurdles there.
Thanks for reading!