I was granted ILR today!
Thanks to all the advice in this forum, I was able to navigate through the application process successfully and avoid the potential pitfalls. I would like to share my experience for the benefit of future ILR applicants.
Initial Tier 2 (General) visa issue date: 07/10/2014
Online application date: 10/09/2019
Appointment at Croydon core centre: 11/09/2019 (0900)
Email confirmation (ILR approved): 11/09/2019 (1335)
Prior to the appointment, I have uploaded a photocopy (in colour) of the following documents to the UKVCAS portal:
1.) Consent form for Home Office to verify applicant information
2.) Old and current passports (scanned every single page, including blank ones)
3.) Current Biometric residence permit
4.) 3 months salary slips which were printed online and a cover letter to confirm that these are authentic. The payslips and cover letter were signed and stamped by my company's CFO.
5.) 3 months bank statements (the latest statement was printed at a branch office)
6.) Life in the UK test
7.) Letter from employer to cover: all absences from the UK, SOC code, confirmation I am still required for the employment for the foreseeable future, salary is above the appropriate rate, annual salary, and weekly working hours. This letter was signed by an HR employee.
8.) UK degree certificate
Experience at Croydon core centre:
I paid £100 to secure a next day appointment at 0900. I would rather pay it than wait for a free appointment slot and to give myself peace of mind asap.
I arrived at 0810 and was allowed entry at 0820. After security checks, I was directed to a room and waited until 0830 before proceeding to a counter to enrol my biometric details, have my documents checked, and photo taken. Everything was done by 0845, which is ahead of my scheduled time (0900)!
I can't speak highly enough of the staff at Croydon core centre. They were friendly, professional, efficient, and know what they are doing. This is by far the most pleasant experience I had at an immigration centre.
Once I've have reached home, I logged on to https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work
, and checked my status regularly. At around 1320, my status changed from something like "You can work in the UK until ddmmyyyy" to "There is no limit on how long you can stay in the UK." Then around 1335, I received an email with the message: "I’m pleased to confirm that your application for leave has now been granted. You will receive your decision letter in due course which will explain your leave in more detail...".
Overall, I am really pleased with the services provided by Sopra Steria at Croydon!