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UK to hike visa fee by 2% from April, to make getting visas easier

DELHI

Indians will have to pay more for the UK visa starting April 2016 when the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will increase the visitor, work and study visa fees by 2%. At the same time, it may get easier to get the visa.

James Brokenshire, Immigration Minister, UK said, “Improvements to the service include expanding the same day, super-priority visa services to first time visitors and work visas. The 3 to 5 day priority visa service will also be expanded to visit, study and work routes allowing more customers in India, the opportunity to get a visa decision faster.”

Starting late February, Indian applicants will also be able to file for a visa online for quicker and easier service. The same will initially be available in English but will soon be available in Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati as well. Once the form has been filled out, customers will be able to download an auto-completed Schengen application form to print and apply with, said Brokenshire.

Business visitors will also see some new changes to make the visa process easier. As per a new MICE scheme, a dedicated person will be appointed at UKVI centres to discuss the needs of the groups and assist them as per requirements. Around 50 preferred agents will also be appointed pan India to certify applicants on behalf of UKVI.

The Minister also told the media that it the UK will launch its 16th new visa application centre (VAC) in India at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh later this year. 360,000 business visas were issued for Indians to UK from January to September 2015, recording a 17% increase year on year.

Musafir Namah Bureau

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