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Volume 712: debated on Tuesday 14 July 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average waiting time for biometric appointments for foreign students; and how that varies between offices used for that purpose. [HL4536]

Appointments in the United Kingdom are currently available within our agreed standard of 15 days for applicants who are prepared to attend at any of our sites. The average waiting time for a premium single appointment is eight days, based on a range of seven to 10 days between regional offices across the country. In the case of postal applications, the average waiting time for a single appointment is eight days, based on a range of two—28 days across the offices. A walk-in service for those with an urgent need to travel is available from the UK Border Agency office in Croydon.

Information on waiting times for students overseas applying for visas is not available because the UK Border Agency is unable to distinguish appointment times by type of visa. I am able to give figures for all appointments—of our 328 application points around the world, 110 allow walk-in appointments and there is no waiting period. These sites handle approximately 60 to 70 per cent of all applications. Of the 218 sites that require appointments, only 10 per cent currently report average waiting times from inquiry to the next available appointment, which is 1.08 days.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the new Passport Office in Armagh City has any signage at its external elevation at the public footway. [HL4835]

The IPS office in Armagh does not have external signage. The office provides an interview facility for first-time adult passport applicants by appointment. It delivers no other passport service. Applicants using the office are provided written or verbal directions to site when selecting their preferred interview date. Applicants are additionally able to reference detailed location maps via IPS' web portal. When introducing its revised application process IPS sought to distinguish between “interview only” and “regional issuing” offices so as not to mislead other applicant types into believing emergency travel documents or related services could be delivered from offices such as Armagh.