Pre-Approval Visit with the Home Office
What To Expect
Within about one month of submitting your application, the Home Office will contact you about arranging a 'pre-approval visit' with your Group.
This is nothing to worry about, and certainly isn't a grilling by officials. Instead, it is an opportunity for members of the Home Office Community Sponsorship Team to meet you and go through your application. They are a friendly team who want you to succeed, and are not trying to "catch you out".
You probably want about 4-6 key members of the Group to be present for this meeting, along with a representative from the Lead Sponsor Organisation. Someone from the Local Authority will also be invited.
Setting Up The Visit
During the pandemic, these "visits" will be conducted through an online video call.
In "normal times" the Home Office will ask the Group to suggest a suitable venue for this meeting. It can happen in a local community centre or church, in a Group member's house or at council offices - wherever seems most suitable. It will need to be a relatively quiet space and big enough to accommodate around 7-8 people.
You are not required do lot of preparation for this meeting, just ensure that you are familiar with all aspects of your application. The Home Office usually make just a handful of suggestions for amendments for the Application Form or supporting documents. Please take notes so that you can make these amendments easily and quickly before re-submitting your Application through your Lead Sponsor.
They will ask you 1-2 "situational" questions. For example - "What would you do if a family member was refusing to attend ESOL classes?"
This is also an opportunity to ask any questions you might have for the local council and the Home Office so it is worth considering these in advance.
Provided everything is in order you can expect to get approval in principle within about a month or six weeks.