Lunar House is a 20-storey office block in Croydon, in South London. It is situated at 40 Wellesley Road, on its east side, and houses the headquarters of UK Visas and Immigration, a division of the Home Office in the United Kingdom.
The building was completed in 1970. In common with a neighbouring building Apollo House and others developed by Harry Hyams, the building's name was inspired by the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon in 1969. During the 1970s and 1980s the building housed some offices of the Property Services Agency.
The building's name has become synonymous with the Immigration function of the Home Office, and is perceived by the British public as the front line of Britain's immigration service as the main Public Enquiry Office (PEO) is based here.
Services and facilities at Lunar House have been criticised in the past. In the summer of 2004, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons conducted unannounced inspections of short-term holding facilities attached to immigration reporting centres, and found particular problems at Lunar House: "Lunar House is the main route through which families are detained at Oakington Reception Centre. In spite of this, it had inadequate child protection procedures, and staff were not alert to the need to ensure that agreed safeguards on the detention of children were implemented."
In 2005, a report by the South London Citizens enquiry into service provision by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate found that "It was perceived that minimum standards of comfort afforded to British citizens do not apply to migrants waiting for services at Lunar House. Areas of immediate concern include the quality of facilities for applicants, the quality and fairness of transactions, the quality of IT and record keeping and the working conditions of staff." Lunar House was subsequently refurbished in 2005. At present access to the building requires Airport-style security checks.
Public Enquiry Office
The Public Enquiry Offices offer a same-day service, at a premium fee, for considering straightforward applications for permission to extend one's stay in the United Kingdom or stay in the country permanently (known as 'leave to remain' and 'settlement'). They cannot consider complex applications.
Most applications can be considered and decided on the same day in a process that normally lasts approximately two and a half hours. Most applications are granted on Biometric Residence Permit cards which are not produced at the office, but generated separately and sent to customers by courier. Some applications cannot be considered on the same day due to complications which may arise.
It also provides a number of services including Return of Documents and general enquiry for the public.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- Border and Immigration Agency
- 2005 Report - A Humane Service for Global Citizens - by South London Citizens Enquiry into Service Provision by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate at Lunar House.
- Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons Report on Communications House, Lunar House, Electric House and Dallas Court (June–October 2004.