Heavy rush for visit visas to UK

DUBAI - The British Consulate here is witnessing a heavy rush for visas by those seeking to go to the United Kingdom on a holiday. Long queues are forming outside the consulate's premises, despite the searing heat. Consulate staff are doing their best to cope with the situation.

By Prerna Suri

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Published: Fri 13 Aug 2004, 11:27 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:13 PM

Applicants are required to submit their documents for their visas from the outside. After this, they are called in for their final interview. With no provision of shade or any facilities for water, applicants are facing some difficulties.

Kapil, a businessman, called for improvements in their visa application procedures. "I was wearing my best suit for the interview and did not realise that I would have to wait for more than an hour outside here. I can understand that there may be security concerns at the mission, but I hope the consulate will do something to help applicants," he said. In view of the heavy rush for visas, the waiting time is getting lengthy, before the final interview.

"I waited for about 45 minutes outside the premises to submit my documents. Finally, after nearly an hour and a half of waiting, I was called in for the interview," said Sheza. H., a teacher.

Heather Reynolds, Her Majesty's Consul, said that the consulate was aware of the difficulties being faced by the applicants.

"We regret the fact that applicants are queuing outside in the heat, and agree that this is unsatisfactory. We have already made considerable changes to speed up the security procedures to ensure any wait is kept to an absolute minimum. Our Visa Section is currently under heavy pressure because of the flood of applications for travel at this popular holiday time," said Ms. Reynolds.

Another applicant, who did not wish to be named, said that the visa application processing should be conducted electronically to ease the applicants' burden.

"Other diplomatic missions have begun to accept visa applications online and I'm sure the British Consulate can also look into a similar arrangement," she said.

Ms. Reynolds, however, stressed that measures were currently being undertaken by the embassy to ease the applicants' discomfiture.

"To cope with the increase in applications this summer, we have brought in more officers from the United Kingdom and recruited additional staff locally. We have also extended our opening times. But the only certain way to avoid the inconvenience of the summer rush is this: applicants plan their schedules in advance, and apply for visas a little early, rather than doing it at the last minute," she said.

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