Going to #London2012? Apply for visas early


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UK Border Agency expects high volume of visa applications in time for 2012 London Olympics.

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5A, Departures Hall, May 2010. Photo courtesy of BAA Airports Ltd.

MANILA, Philippines – Planning to travel to the United Kingdom in time for the 2012 Summer Games? Apply for your visa early, the British Embassy in Manila advised on Wednesday, May 9.

“As there is expected to be an increase in the number of applications in the lead up to the Olympics, those planning to travel at this time… are encouraged to apply as soon as possible,” the Embassy said in a statement.

All kinds of visa applications falling during this period leading to the Games – from tourist visas to student visas and everything in between – are recommended to be lodged early, the Embassy added.

Meanwhile, the UK Border Agency and VFS Global, its commercial partner in consular services, announced two new services that could help applicants expedite their applications.

Under the new priority visa service, people applying for a visit visa who fall under certain criteria can pay an additional fee of P4,200 to have their applications prioritized.

In this scheme, results can be known within 3 working days, the Embassy said.

On the other hand, visa applicants can avail of the prime time appointment service, where they can make an appointment for their visa application and biometrics capture on Saturdays, starting May 12.

In addition, the British Embassy said, “customers who have documents ready for collection will also be able to do so between 9 am and 12 noon on Saturdays at no charge.”

Filipinos traveling to the United Kingdom are up 8% in 2011. Around 22,000 visitor visas were issued to tourists, family visitors, and business travelers last year, said the Embassy.

“These high and growing numbers are a tribute to the thriving business and tourism links between the Philippines and the UK which the British Government and this Embassy continue to work hard to foster,” they added. – Rappler.com

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