THE UK has announced measures to improve its visa services including expanding the same day, super-priority services to first-time visitors from India, one of Britain’s largest visa markets.
Britain’s Immigration Minister James Brokenshire, who is on a five-day visit to India, announced the new package for improving the visa services for Indian nationals during a visit to a Delhi visa application centre.
Improvements to the visa services include expanding the same day, super-priority visa services to first-time visitors and for work visas.
The three to five day priority visa service will also be expanded to visit, study and work routes, allowing more applicants in India to seek a faster visa decision.
Mr Brokenshire said: “India is one of the UK’s largest visa market and we continue to make improvements to the service here to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for our customers to apply for their visas.”
He said that more and more Indian visitors are choosing to come to the UK on holiday and for business. Last year, the UK saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of visit visas issued, he said.
“Indian holidaymakers are very welcome in the UK and thanks to our strong cultural and historic ties, I think they feel at home,” he said.
“We hope that this year we continue to see an increase in visitors from India and that these improvements prove useful to those applying for their visas.”
From the end of this month, Indian visit visa applicants will also be able to benefit from a new online application form, which the British High Commission says is quicker and easier.
Besides taking less time, the new online form will make it easier for customers going on holiday or for business to the UK and Europe, to apply for both UK and Schengen (allowing movement across European EU member states) visas.
Once the form has been filled out, customers will be able to download an auto-completed Schengen application form to print and apply with.
Initially the form will be launched in English but it will be translated into Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati.
Mr Bokenshire also announced the launch of a new visa application centre (VAC) in Lucknow, the first in Uttar Pradesh, India.