The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) has reviewed its visa submission application system. From next week, Mauritians wanting to apply for visas for the UK will be required to submit their applications by appointment for internal processing. The British High Commission to Mauritius issued a communiqué yesterday to explain the changes, which will be applicable from June 13.
Applicants will now be required to call the British High Commission to arrange an appointment in order to submit their visa application forms and supporting documentation, pay the required fees and have their biometric data (fingerprints and facial picture) recorded. No application will be accepted without prior appointment.
The changes have been made to improve the structure and management of visa application processing and to enhance security procedures.
Deputy High Commissioner of the UK to Mauritius, Mrs Ewan Ormiston, said: “Submitting visa applications by appointment will improve our processing of applications and prepare us for the busy period ahead when many students start applying for the UK university year starting in September and we also deal with visa applications, not only from Mauritius, but also Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles.
“Levels of customer service will not be affected. The United Kingdom Border Agency’s customer service standard, to process 90% of non-settlement applications within three weeks of the application being submitted, will not change.”
Applicants should be aware that depending on the visa applied for and factors such as supporting documentation and travel history, the assessment of a visa application will take a minimum of 10 working days or 15 working days in some cases.
The High Commission therefore advises Mauritians to apply well in advance of the proposed date of travel. Members of public can continue to visit the visa section for general visa enquiries, collection of passports and visa decisions as per the previous timings of the British High Commission.
The High Commission Consular Service opening times remain unaffected and Mauritians travelling to the UK for family visits, holidays or business for a period not exceeding six months do not need to apply for a visa prior to travelling. They can however apply for an Entry Clearance at the British High Commission if they choose to do so.
By Nitesh Boodhoo