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New UK visa services launched in the UAE

posted on 20/10/2015: 1002 views

The UK has yesterday officially launched a brand new range of premium visa services at its application centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which will make it even easier, and more convenient to apply for a UK visa.

Visa applicants can now pay an additional fee to walk in without an appointment, receive assistance with applying or paying online, or receive help with checking that their application form has been completed correctly.

The UK already offers visa free travel for UAE nationals, provided they register for an electronic visa waiver (EVW) prior to travelling to the UK. There were almost 50,000 EVW registrations in the last year, with record numbers of registrations in July. For Emiratis who choose to apply for visas, and those who require longer-term study or work visas, the UK provides fast processing, with an average turnaround time in the last year of just under 4 working days.

In March, a super priority visa service was introduced in the UAE, and more than 1,800 applicants have already used the service to receive their visa decision the same day, or within 24 hours. The new range of options complement the existing services, providing applicants with access to help and support with completing their application at the VAC, for a small additional fee.

UK Visas and Immigration International Director, Simon Hayes, launched the new services yesterday in Abu Dhabi. He said, "The UK welcomes visitors from the UAE, and we provide a fast and efficient service for those who need a visa. The new services have been introduced in response to feedback from customers and are designed to provide additional flexibility, as well as support with the application process for those who need it."

A new scheme for multinational companies based in the UAE who send staff to the UK on a regular basis has also been introduced yesterday. The scheme, which companies can apply to join, will offer a streamlined visa service and a dedicated account manager from UK Visas and Immigration.

In addition, a new Mobile Biometric service is currently being developed, which offers the option to complete the biometric enrolment (finger-scan and photo capture) part of the process from the applicant's home or office. The service will be introduced in the UAE in the coming weeks, and will be open to all nationalities.

Philip Parham, British Ambassador to the UAE, said, "The UK already offers an excellent and innovative visa service in the UAE. Over the busy summer months we continued to process visas in under 4 days on average, with more and more UAE nationals and residents taking advantage of the ‘same day' super priority service. And in July we saw record numbers of Emiratis travelling visa free using our electronic visa waiver service. The introduction of this new range of services demonstrates our commitment to making the visa service we provide not only as fast, but also as flexible as possible. These improvements will help to ensure that the UK remains a top business and leisure destination." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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