What to expect at your UK Biometrics Appointment

If you’re looking to move to the UK, attending a Biometrics Appointment is a vital part of the visa process. However, it seems like no one talks about what actually happens at your appointment! Here’s everything you need to know before attending your Biometrics Appointment, plus all my previous mistakes in hope that you can avoid them!

First you need to book your appointment (and pay!)

As you submit your UK visa application, whichever one that may be, you should be prompted to book your Biometrics Appointment. The location of this appointment will be in the country that you’re applying for. For instance:

  • I recently renewed my visa in the UK, so I want to a UK Service Point in London for the appointment
  • Before that I applied for my UK visa in Canada, so I went to a Service Point in Toronto

As you book, you’ll also need to pay. For my most recent appointment in the UK, for the basic service it was £139. If you want extra services, that’ll cost more.

What to expect at your UK Biometrics Appointment

Should I pay for extra services?

In addition to paying for a standard Biometrics appointment, you can also pay for extra services if you want to. The biggest “extra” cost that you might want to consider is getting the Biometrics people to scan and upload your documents, rather than you doing it yourself at home.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother. I can see this service being helpful for those who are not computer-savy and wouldn’t feel confident scanning and uploading documents – maybe for those who are older or English is a second language.

But for me, it would be a waste of money. If you feel confident scanning a document onto your computer and uploading a PDF file, you should be fine!

What do I need to bring to my Biometrics appointment?

  1. Passport! Depending on the visa, they may submit your passport or give it back to you.
  2. Confirmation of your appointment. When you book your appointment, you’ll be emailed a confirmation PDF attachment, typically with a big QR code at the top. Print this off and bring it with you. Without it, they won’t let you in.

I also brought my old Biometrics Card but that wasn’t needed.

You must bring all your documents if you are paying for them to upload them. If you have already uploaded your documents through the portal, you don’t need to bring them to your appointment.

What happens at a Biometrics appointment

Once you arrive at the service point location, your details and appointment will be verified.

Then, they’ll make sure your mandatory documents are verified – basically that you are who you say who are and they’ve been uploaded properly.

The Biometrics people will NOT approve any of your documents, that’s for the Home Office to do. Instead they simply check that things can be opened, you’ve signed the proper spots, etc.

After that’s done, they’ll take your biometrics which are your fingerprints, your photo (unsmiling like a passport photo) and your digital signature.

Then you’re good to go! They should confirm that they’ve submitted your application formally and there’s nothing let to do but what. Please note that the Biometrics people do not approve your visa and they will not provide any updates or your final result, so there’s no point in contacting them after your appointment for updates.

How I messed up my Biometric Appointment

As a Canadian who’s been living in the UK for the last 7 years, I’ve had my fair share of issues at Biometric appointments over the years and wanted to share that so you can avoid them yourself.

I’ve missed uploading the Checklist

When you submit your application, you’re emailed a UK Visa Checklist from the Home Office. I didn’t realise that they need you to upload this alongside all your other documents.

It felt weird to me – they were the ones sending it to me, why upload it again? But it’s required son’t miss it!

I missed adding my name on one page

With the amount of documents you upload, it can be easy to miss something and I did – one of my printed name on one page. They couldn’t upload my application without it.

What I did: I made sure my partner was at home and ready during my appointment. I had my laptop unlocked and ready for him to use. I had to call him, explain what happened, get him to re-print off that document. I had him write my name on it, then scan it into my computer and upload it so the woman at my appointment could see it and submit it for me. It’s a simple fix but it’s actually quite long and complicated. If you can, make sure someone is at home and ready to help you if you’ve messed up a page.

My biggest tips for a smooth Biometric Appointment

  • It’s better to arrive early than late. Make sure to plan your journey ahead of time carefully. These centres can be really picky and if you’re late by a certain amount of time, they will cancel your appointment.
  • Typically, you have to go alone. That doesn’t mean your partner, family member or friend couldn’t travel there with you – but typically they aren’t allowed in the appointment so just be aware.
  • Make sure to have someone at home at your computer ready to help if you need it
  • Take a deep breath. My last two Biometrics women were extremely understanding and kind – they know it’s stressful but you can do it

How long does an appointment take?

My latest Biometrics appointment in London for my visa renewal took about 30 minutes. This was even with a mistake that I needed to fix. If you are paying for the scan/upload service, expect that your appointment will take longer.

Next steps

After your Biometrics, you’ll need to wait until you receive a decision on your visa. Make sure to check out my article all about UK visa processing times and how long you’ll be waiting until you receive a result.