Launch of 24-hour visa service for Chinese nationals
On June 16 2014 Home Secretary Theresa May announced further improvements to the processing of visitor visas for Chinese nationals. From August 2014, a super-priority 24-hour visa service will be rolled out across China for all visitor applicants, for a fee of £600.
In the same speech, the home secretary confirmed that talks are ongoing between the United Kingdom and its European partners to enable a single application procedure for both a UK and Schengen visa, which allows travel to other EU countries at the same time. Those applying online will now be able to generate automatically a partially completed Schengen form at the same time as completing their UK application. This facility is presently available only to tour groups, but will soon be rolled out to independent travellers.
New British-Irish visa scheme for Indian and Chinese nationals
It was also announced that the Home Office, along with the Irish Department of Justice and Equality, will soon be introducing a British-Irish visa scheme between the United Kingdom and Ireland. This new scheme will apply to Chinese and Indian business and tourist visitors, allowing them to travel to and around the United Kingdom and Ireland on a single short-stay visa. Business and tourist visitors from India and China who wish to travel to both the United Kingdom and Ireland will no longer require separate UK and Irish visas.
This reciprocal visa arrangement is expected to commence in Autumn 2014. It is likely that applicants will need to apply for the visa through the embassy, consulate or high commission of the country of first arrival or maximum stay, as with Schengen visas. The visa will then allow the holder to travel freely around the Common Travel Area of the United Kingdom and Ireland for the duration of that visa.
This scheme applies only to business and tourist visitors and does not apply to individuals wishing to work in either the United Kingdom or Ireland. The UK and Irish authorities will continue to monitor the scheme and, as appropriate, will introduce other nationalities that require visas.
For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email (email@example.com). The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at www.kingsleynapley.co.uk.