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25% rise in number of Dubai residents applying for UK visas

posted on 24/11/2006: 1438 views


More and more Dubai residents are applying to visit the United Kingdom, according to figures released by the British Embassy.



Over the past year there has been a nearly one quarter increase in the number of applications to the British Embassy in Dubai for UK visas.



The rise comes in the wake of the introduction by the embassy earlier this year of online visa applications.



Between January and October last year, the British Embassy in Dubai received a total of 32,704 applications for UK visas.



During the same period this year, 40,256 applications were received - representing an increase of more than 23 per cent.



Simon Goldsmith, second secretary for political and media affairs at the embassy, said officials were pleased to see the increase.



"We're delighted that the number of those travelling to the UK has increased significantly. We hope that the UK is a destination of choice for people.



"We have a long history of friendship and close relations and we welcome all visitors to the UK, be they tourists, business people or students - this exchange of people is in all of our interests," he said.



The online visa application service was introduced in April this year, making the UAE the first country in the Middle East to get the hi-tech facility.



Prospective UK visitors can submit all the information required by the embassy electronically.



Officials say this cuts down on queuing at the embassy when applicants or their representatives later visit to hand in a hard copy of the form plus the other required documentation. There are specified visiting times for online applicants.



Goldsmith said interest from UAE residents in visiting the UK was also boosted by the fact that the visa service offered by the British Embassies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was a same-day system.



"We provide a quick and efficient same-day visa service and we are always looking for opportunities to improve the service further," he told Gulf News.

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