Easier visas for Chinese visitors


Passport control at Gatwick Airport

A new streamlined visa service is to be offered to all Chinese visitors to the UK, the Home Office has announced.

A pilot programme was launched last year for tour operators, which allowed them to work from a single form in processing UK visa applications and will now be extended to all Chinese visitors applying to come to the UK.

In addition, the UK offer to Chinese visitors of a new 24-hour visa service will be launched in August.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The number of Chinese people coming to Britain to visit and do business is soaring.

"They already enjoy a first-rate visa service and these changes will ensure it is easier than ever before to visit the UK and see first-hand everything this great country has to offer."

From the autumn, Chinese visitors will be able to use an Irish visitor visa to travel to the UK, without the need for a separate UK visa, and vice-versa. The British Irish Visa Scheme will also be launched in India.

Other changes include opening 12 visa application centres across China - more than any other country - and the introduction of premium service lounges in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou visa application centres, reducing waiting times for applicants.

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