I hate situations where I don’t know what’s coming.
Trying out a new restaurant is great but walking into an important appointment with no idea what’s coming drives me nuts.
Attending my Biometrics Appointment was no different. I couldn’t find a lot of details about the procedure online so here’s my experiences in case you find yourself dreading the same appointment. Please remember this is just my personal experience!
A Biometrics appointment is one of the last steps in getting my Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa for the UK.
My Biometrics appointment was in Toronto and you must arrive around 10 minutes early. Doing that in Toronto traffic is horrific, so I left with plenty of extra time. In the end, I still only got there about 10 minutes before my booked time. Panic!
My Dad dropped me off at the door while he went to find parking. Because he didn’t enter the office with me, he wasn’t allowed in because he couldn’t prove he was with me. I was left to sit there alone.
Entering the Office
At the door to the office, I had to provide documentation of my appointment (you’ll get this once you book online). Make sure to bring this with you (along with your documents, passport, new passport photos, etc)! I wasn’t allowed to bring in certain electronics (even a memory stick) so I had to place my stuff in a free locker with the “door-guard.” He then gave me a clipboard with some details like the order they want my paperwork in. I was finally allowed into the office waiting room.
Pick Up or Deliver?
The office was a small room with 2-3 clerks. When I was finally called up, I handed over my paperwork. Immediently he asked if I wanted my visa mailed to my house (for a fee) or if I’d pick it up in Toronto. Mail, please! He stopped my appointment, gave all my stuff back and told me I had to print off shipping labels from a little terminal in the corner before we could continue. I did that, while he saw someone else, and I continued waiting.
Finally I was called back to the desk. He went through my documents, making sure everything was completed and asked a few questions. I was given my stuff back and had to wait (again) for the second portion. My number was called and I entered a different tiny room. Here the clerk took my photos (including holding my numbered application) took my fingerprints and my digital signature. They compiled everything together (including my passport) and shipped it off!
I was notified by email a day or so later that my application had arrived at the consulate in New York. Maybe three days later, I was emailed that my visa was approved. A day later, my documents and passport arrived at my house! This was all in November so it seems it wasn’t a busy time of year for visas.
In your passport, you’ll have a giant temporary visa sticker. This shows that you’ve been approved but do not have your Biometrics Residence Permit yet. You’ll need to pick that up in the UK within a week or so of arriving. You can either pick it up in London or have it mailed to your local post office (if you already know where you’ll be staying).
Now you’re set to get on the plane! Good luck!