15 May 2012 #Immigration
The UK Border Agency had to turn hundreds of people away from their appointments at the Croydon Public Enquiry Office (PEO) at the start of May, after the foreign national identity card computer system crashed. The system records those legally living in the UK meaning some applicants attending a premium service appointment were unable to provide their biometric information (fingerprints and facial scans). The problem stems from a new rule introduced in February 2012 requiring all non-EEA nationals applying for a visa to have biometric permits.
A UKBA statement confirmed that they have been experiencing IT problems which had affected approximately 1,000 applicants, mostly at the Croydon PEO. For those who have been affected, the UKBA will offer them new appointments before 18 May at one of the other PEOs in the UK.
Applicants looking to extend their stay in the UK by submitting their application in person will find it difficult to book an appointment in the immediate future. The UKBA have confirmed that there will be a restricted number of appointments available until 18 May 2012 to deal with the backlog. However some media reports are stating that there will no appointments available in Croydon for the next eight weeks. This will leave applicants with the alternative of applying by post, which can take between two to six months to process a visa application, during which time applicants must surrender their passports to the UKBA.