THE UK has debuted same-day visa application services at its high commissions in India, with plans to make the facility available in a handful of other countries in the near future.
Now in operation at the UK embassies in New Delhi, Mumbai and soon, Chennai, the same-day visa costs 600 pounds (US$912) more than that of a regular visa.
Applicants who complete an online application by 09.30 and receive approval can collect their visas by 17.30 the same day in New Delhi and 18.30 in Mumbai.
The UK government revealed that the service would also be available to travellers applying for a six-month or two-year multiple-entry visitor visa (excluding student visas) and who have previously travelled to the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or a Schengen country within the last five years.
Employees of companies that are members of the Business Express Programme who are travelling for business, may also apply.
Said Mark Harper, the UK’s immigration minister: “Using the ‘super priority’ visa service does not imply or guarantee in any way that your visa application will be successful. All applicants must meet the requirements of UK immigration rules.”
The UK's biggest visa operation is located in India, processing about 400,000 applications each year and issuing 70,000 business visas annually in the last five years.
However, Rakesh Lamba, managing director, Prakriti Holidays, said: “Most regular business visitors to the UK already hold a medium-term multiple-entry visa. What purpose will a same-day visa issuance at an enormous cost serve? This will have marginal impact, as only a few people (who need to travel urgently) will use it.”
The same-day visa service will soon be offered in China, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.