The long wait for your United Kingdom visa is about to be over – that’s the message from the country’s embassy in the Philippines.
The usual 15 working days for processing has been cut to three-to-five working days. It’s even possible to get one within 24 hours.
In a press conference at VFS Global in Makati, UK Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad presented the 24-hour Super Priority Visa Service to facilitate the most urgent travel needs. “What we are trying to do is to make our visa processes fast, efficient and flexible,” he said.
The UK aims to be the top destination for Filipinos in terms of education and business, and even for those who want to spend their vacation there, he added.
In 2014 more than 53,000 UK visas were issued to Filipinos; the total number of visit visas granted rose sharply (62 percent hike in tourist visas and an eight per cent rise in business visits).
Ahmad said that 89 percent of Filipinos who applied for visas in that period “were actually successful.”
The Philippines is one of the Asian countries where a super priority visa service was introduced by the UK government, along with China, Thailand and India.
The British embassy’s 24-hour UK Visa service will officially start on February 23, 2015.
With the quicker service comes high fees – an optional first-class visa service to visit the UK will create a higher fee depending on the degree of urgency with which the visa is required.
The regular 15-working day general visitor visa with a short-term period of six months requires an applicant to pay $129 or 5,676 peso.
On the other hand, £100 or 7,500 peso is required for the priority visa service that has a 3-5 working day process.
For the latest 24-hour super priority visa service, a person has to pay a £600 or 45,000 pesos to get an immediate decision from the embassy. “If someone is willing to pay a super priority visa fee they’ll be almost in their own minds pretty much certain they’re qualified anyway,” Ahmad said.
Other services the British embassy offers is the “Prime Time Service” which gives customers the flexibility of an appointment at a visa application center outside the usual working hours; this entails a service fee of 3,750 pesos.
The “Passport Passback Service” enables customers to retain their passport while their visa is being processed; for this, an additional 3,000 pesos is imposed.
For an additional 2,500 pesos, customers may enjoy the luxury of the “Premium Lounge” where they can have personalized service with refreshments and less time to wait.