The British Embassy in Manila announced on Monday a number of enhancements in its visa processing procedures in the country.
According to a news release, the embassy said the improvements are meant to cater to the growing demand for UK visa applications as the UK wanted to welcome even more Filipino visitors in the coming months. These enhancements include a new international visa enquiry center, an optional priority visa service that returns visa decisions within three to five working days, and a Prime Time service for those who couldn’t attend appointments within the usual office hours.
The improvements apply to application centers in Manila and Cebu.
Between March 2013 and March 2014, more than 49,000 tourist and business visas were issued to Philippine passport holders, the embassy said while dispelling conventional wisdom that it is difficult for Filipino travelers to obtain a UK visa.
For frequent visitors to the UK, the British embassy announced that it was also offering long-term visit visas, which would be valid for one to 10 years.
The embassy said such a long-term visa runs under “the same conditions as a regular six months visit visa,” but may be more convenient for those travelling in and out of the UK since “you will only need to make one application and provide biometrics once for the entire duration of the visa.”
Asif Ahmad, the British ambassador to the Philippines said the embassy was encouraging those who wish to apply for a tourist or business visit visa “to apply early and have with you all the necessary documents when you go for your appointment.”
Applicants should also “be clear about the purpose” of their visit, he added.