ABU DHABI — The visa section in the British embassy in Abu Dhabi has introduced a tracking system for applications.
According to the embassy officials, anyone who has applied for a British visa at the new Visa Application Centre (VAC) will be able to track the application online and receive updates by SMS on the progress of their application.
The online tracking system is available free via VAC's web site at <http://www.vfs-uk-ae.com/>www.vfs-uk-ae.com and needs just the application reference number and date of birth.
It will offer information such as which stage the application has reached or when would the visa be ready for collection.
Applicants can also sign up for automatic SMS updates to their mobile phone at each key stage. The charge for this service is Dh5, payable at the time of application.
In addition, VAC's web site has now developed an Arabic link that contains translated versions of all the British visa guidelines, instructions and checklists.
Introducing the new services, British Ambassador to the UAE Edward Oakden said: "The services we offer to visa applicants continue to grow and to improve. Our Visa Application Centre is proving very popular with people who appreciate the longer opening hours and easier access.
“The centre is open Sunday to Thursday between 9am and 4pm for the submission of applications and 4pm to 5pm for the collection of passports and appointments only. The online application system, Visa4uk, (<http://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/>www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk) is a quick and convenient way to apply, which also offers priority service at the VAC.
“Our premium five-year visas offer unparalleled flexibility, as well as value for money at Dh1,640. Also, the biometric data is helping us to secure the identity of those visitors we know and trust, as well as to secure the UK's borders against those seeking to enter the country fraudulently or illegitimately (we have now taken over a million sets of fingerprints in 120 countries since our Biometrics Programme began in 2005," he added.