UK speeds up visas for visitors from China and India

by Ray Clancy on May 16, 2013

UK speeds up visas for visitors from China and India

UK speeds up visas for visitors from China and India

The UK is making it easier and faster for people in Asian countries to get visas to travel and do business. Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration, said there have been a number of changes to ensure the visa process for Chinese visitors is even quicker and easier. These include the extension of the popular five day priority visa service and a new passport pass back service which allows customers to keep their passports whilst their visa is being processed.

‘China is a priority market for the UK and we have already made a number of improvements to the service we offer to legitimate Chinese visitors. The figures show that the UK gets its fair share of visitors, however we are ambitious to continue to improve our world class visa service and attract even more visitors to Britain,’ he explained.

For business travellers a new VIP mobile visa service has been introduced where applicants can apply for their visa and provide their biometric information to a visa officer who comes to their place of work. Also in the future the online application forms and guidance will be translated into Chinese to make the visa process even more accessible.

Quote from ExpatForum.com : “I don’t know whether I am in the correct forum as I am new here. I have been talking to my now girlfriend who lives in Harbin, China, on the internet since May 2011. I am a senior citizen in UK and she is 48. We met in Spain this year and we got on well together and are continuing to chat every day and would like to find a way to live together.”

Harper said that in China 96% of applicants get a visa and the vast majority are processed within 15 days. Chinese visitor numbers to the UK are at a record high and out of 27 possible EU countries, up to one fifth of Chinese visitors choose the UK. The Home Office has also launched a super priority, same day service for Indian visa applicants which was promised by Prime Minister David Cameron during his recent visit to India. It is the first service of its kind to be launched anywhere in the world by the Home Office and is available from this week.

The super priority service complements the UK’s existing fast track service, and is designed to allow those who need to travel urgently to do so. The new service is available to customers applying for a six month or two year multiple entry visitor visa. The service will initially be available in Delhi and Mumbai with plans to expand to Chennai in the near future. Applicants must attend an appointment between 08:00 and 09:30, Monday to Friday in order to be able to obtain their visa on the same day.

‘I am delighted to see the Super Priority Visa service being launched in India before any other country. For the first time, Indian visitors will now have the option of a same day visa to the UK. This underlines our strong commitment to make an already excellent visa service even better,’ said Sir James Bevan, the British High Commissioner to India. ‘We expect this new service to be particularly useful for business. Opportunities arise at short notice. We want Indian entrepreneurs and businessmen to be able to seize these. The UK and India are already on course to double bilateral trade by 2015. The new Super Priority Visa will help make sure that we hit this target,’ he added.

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