UK to offer 24-hour visa service to Chinese visitors

22 Jul 14

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? The United Kingdom will begin offering 24-hour “super priority” visas to Chinese nationals.

What does the change mean? For a payment of £600, Chinese nationals may receive British travel visas in less than 24 hours.

  • Implementation timeframe: August and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Business visit and tourist visas.
  • Who is affected: Chinese nationals seeking to acquire same-day British visas.
  • Impact on processing times:24-hour processing.
  • Business impact: Chinese business travelers will have a faster option to obtain U.K. visas.

Background: The U.K. launched a same-day “super priority” visa service for Indian travelers in 2013 and will extend this service to Chinese travelers beginning in August. The number of Chinese nationals visiting the U.K. has risen sharply – last year, the U.K. issued 40 percent more visitor visas to Chinese nationals than in 2012.

The U.K. is also weighing a single application procedure that would allow Chinese visitors to apply for a Schengen visa at the same time. In addition, a new joint British/Irish visa scheme to begin this year will allow Chinese visitors to travel to both countries on either an Irish or British visa.

The £600 government fee for the “super priority” visa (about US $1,000) will be in addition to the standard application fee of £83 but does not assure a visa. Visitors must still meet all U.K. immigration rules.

BAL Analysis: Though expensive, same-day visa processing provides an option to Chinese business visitors who need to travel to the U.K. on short notice.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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