The FCA has published the application 'windows' during which various types of consumer credit and P2P lending firms can apply for full authorisation.
The dates are in Table on page 9. They vary by type of firm and may also vary by region for some types.
The FCA will write to all firms with interim permission by 1 May 2014 to confirm their application period. You should contact the FCA if you have not heard by 15 May 2014. In the meantime, you should register for an online account with the FCA.
In my experience it takes at least 3 months to prepare an application for authorisation, as there is a lot of information to gather and/or summarise at the same time as running a business. The FCA has published an authorisation application checklist, some sample forms and guidance on the supporting documentation required. Note that if you a P2P lending platform or your are offering high cost short term credit (payday loans) or a credit reference service, you will also need to complete a detailed description of your IT controls, which you can download here. There are a few FAQs here.
Top tip: make your application for authorisation a proper project and start the process of completing all forms and supporting documents on Day One - especially the application form, regulatory business plan and IT controls forms. Complete the forms in parallel, not one after another, as you may be waiting 3 months before each form is complete. I recommend nominating one person to oversee completion of the application documents and a separate person to gather and provide data.
Please note that the FCA has also published the relevant information sheets that must be sent to a consumer with any notice that they are in arrears or default (under section 86A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974).