The opportunity to get a visa within 24 hours for emergency travel to the United Kingdom is possible for Sri Lankans from today but it comes at a premium.
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI),together with VFS Global, last week announced that Sri Lanka had been included for the ‘Super Priority Visa’ service from 9 April 2018 in recognition of its importance as a source market for visitors. This service was first introduced by the UK in May 2013.
The 24-hour Super Priority Visa service fee costs Sterling Pounds 600 (around Rs. 132,000) in addition to the price of the applicable visa category sought. The UK is the only European country to offer a visa decision in 24 hours.
The new service is available to customers applying for a six-month or two-year multiple entry visit visa (excluding student visitor) who have previously travelled to the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or a Schengen country within the last five years.
The existing available five-day Priority (fast track) Visa Service fee is Rs. 37,720 whilst the standard service takes three weeks.
UKVI along with VFS also launched another convenient ‘On Demand Mobile Visa’ service enabling an individual or a group to apply for a visa in the comfort of their home or office. A VFS Global representative will visit the location of the applicant’s choice to complete the entire visa submission process including biometric enrollment.
This service is ideal for corporate groups, incentive groups, cultural and sports groups and available on any working day of the week. Passports will be delivered to your home or office.
British High Commissioner James Daurissaid last year that there has been a sharp rise in Sri Lankans travelling to the UK. Visit visas issued grew by 12% and student visas rose by 31% with the latter attributed by Dauris to the UK’s policy of inviting Sri Lanka’s “best and brightest young talent”.
“Launch of these new convenient services is a testimony that Sri Lanka is as valuable as some of the big economies which enjoy the same privilege,” the High Commissioner emphasised.
UKVI Regional Director, South and Southeast Asia, Nick Crouch said contrary to negative perceptions, four out of five Lankans who applied for a visa in Sri Lanka last year have been successful. There had been over 20,000 UK visa applications by Sri Lankans last year.
He said the launch of the Super Priority Visa and ODMV were significant steps forwardand took the experience of a prospective visitor to the UK to a new level.
“Sri Lanka is an important market for the UK,” he added.