The British government has announced recently a plan to roll out the Super Priority Visa Service to a number of new countries, beginning in April next year.
The service is currently only available to business travellers applying for visit visas from India and China, and offers a visa decision within 24 hours. The scheme currently receives around 150 applications per month.
The countries which are to be added to the service are:
- South Africa
- The United Arab Emirates
- Visa processing centres in Paris and New York
The announcement that G20 members Turkey and South Africa would be included in the list of Countries on the Super Priority Visa Service list was made at about the same time that Prime Minister David Cameron's arrived at the G20 summit in Australia.
The cities of Paris and New York have also been picked due to high demand for visa services from business travellers in those cities. Until recently the visa processing centre in New York was also processing UK Tier 2 visa applications for a fee of $170 for a 24 hour service. It is hoped that this will be reinstated along with introduction of the super priority visit visa service.
The cost for the Super Priority 24 hour service will be £600 on top of the normal visa application fees. It is hoped that allowing more Countries to come under the scheme will attract more business visitors, investors and tourists to the UK.
The UK government have recently taken additional steps to encourage travel to the UK, including opening more visa processing centres worldwide, and extending opening hours at these centres. They have also offered priority services in over 100 countries, allowing visas to be processed in under a week.
David Cameron said 'we've got to keep listening to business about what more we can do to support them. And this new 24 hour service is another way we can help – it will persuade more business travellers, investors and tourists to visit Britain, to trade with Britain and to expand in Britain.'
To qualify for this new priority scheme, applicants must still meet the usual visa requirements; applying for the priority scheme does not guarantee that your visa will be approved.
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