As part of its drive to encourage more visitors from China, the Home Office has launched a range of new premium and priority visa services for visa applicants from China. From 29 April 2013, those applying to visit the UK from China for either business or pleasure are now able to benefit from the following new services:

Priority visa service

For an additional fee applicants can apply for a five working day priority visa service, which will be available at the visa application centres in Wuhan, Jinan, Shenyang, Chongqing and Chengdu.

Passport Passback (PPB)

The new PPB service allows applicants to retain their passport whilst the Home Office considers their visa application. This means applicants will be able to travel to another country whilst their visa application is being considered.

VIP mobile visa service

The new VIP mobile visa service allows applicants to apply for a UK visa without the need to visit a visa application centre. The service will initially be available in Beijing and Shanghai. The Home Office will visit the applicant's place of work to take their visa application and biometric information (finger scan and digital photograph). This service is available to eligible organisations for up to 30 members of staff on any one visit.

Extension of priority visa service to PBS Tier 2 applications

The priority visa service, previously only available to General Visit, Business Visit and ADS (Approved Destination Status) group tour visit visas, has now been extended to include points based system (PBS) Tier 2 visa applications (main applicants as well as any dependants). For an additional fee applications under the priority visa service can be processed within five working days.

For full details of the changes, please click here.