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More Enhancements to the UK Visa Service in China
Continuing strong demand for visas underscores the UK's popularity amongst the Chinese as a place to visit and do business. Demand for visitor visas has increased almost 80% since 2009.

Updated:1355713181Source:Lifeofguangzhou.com

The UK Home Office has confirmed the importance of China as a priority growth market for tourism and business visitors with the introduction of a package of further enhancements to the UK visa service to meet the needs of these high value customers.

Continuing strong demand for visas underscores the UK's popularity amongst the Chinese as a place to visit and do business. Demand for visitor visas has increased almost 80% since 2009 and there is no sign of this growth slowing as the post-Olympic effect begins to take hold.

In response to this growth and feedback from Chinese customers a further, specially tailored, package of visa service enhancements will be introduced over the next 6 months including:

• Priority visa eligibility has been expanded to include Tier 4 students and across all eligible categories those with previous Schengen travel may also now use the service.

• A passport pass-back service for business travellers and ADS tourists which allows customers to keep their passport while their visa is being processed. This means they can travel or apply for another visa if they need to, reducing the time it takes to get two visas.

• A simplified ADS process, including shortened on-line application form and streamlined requirements.

• Launch of two new step-by-step Chinese language visa guides for Business Visitors and ADS agents and their customers.

• The establishment of a Business Network in China with dedicated Embassy staff to assist businesses with their UK visa requirements and to work more closely with the business community to ensure our service offer meets their needs.

• A new online visa training module for the Brit Agent network in China so they can better assist Chinese customers wanting to travel to the UK.

• A mobile biometric service which will be available to applicants who wish to have their biometrics taken at a location more convenient to them, rather than visiting a visa application centre.

• Improvements to the online application process including the introduction of optional online payments and translated application forms.

These improvements reflect the special importance placed on visitors and investors from China and will be rolled out over the next 6 months. They follow a visit from the UK Border Agency's Chief Executive, Rob Whiteman to China last week where he met a range of businesses and tour agents in Beijing and Shanghai to discuss the visa service. They also further complement a range of enhancements already implemented in the past 18 months such as the express visa service, online applications and the expansion and refurbishment of several visa application centres.

The UK visa service is already delivering well within its service standards, with 50% of visas processed within 5 days and 97% within 15 days. And, contrary to popular belief, it is not difficult to get a visitor visa to the UK with 95% of those who apply being successful.

UK Border Agency CEO, Rob Whiteman said: "We have already introduced a number of enhancements and our processing times show we provide amongst the fastest service of any country but we recognise that there is always more we can do. We're committed to making sure customers from China get the very best service possible at every step of the process and that is why we are introducing a further package of enhancements over the coming months."

British Embassy's Deputy Head of Mission, Andrew Key said: "China is already a key market for tourism and business travel to the UK, and is growing in importance by the day. We warmly welcome Chinese visitors to the UK for business, tourism, study and family visits. We are working continually to provide an ever better service to the growing number of Chinese travelers."

Editor:Jessie Huang
 
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