The United Kingdom yesterday introduced a new service in Qatar which allows visa applicants (citizens) to keep their passports while their applications are considered.
The British embassy said the service is ideal for applicants who need to travel, or apply for other visas at the same time as applying for visa to visit the country.
The service costs £40/$64 in addition to the visa fee, the embassy said in a statement.
Those using the service will need to show their passports at the time of application, but can submit copies. Once the decision to issue a visa is made by Visas and Immigration, the applicant will need to resubmit passport for a short period so that visa can be placed in.
The embassy has also launched a digital campaign, offering guidance on visa requirements and processes for those travelling to the UK during Eid and the busy summer period. The campaign aims to make visitors feel welcome in the UK, raise awareness of Electronic Visa Waiver ((EVW) service and help travellers avoid simple errors a small number of users make when filling in the EVW form, which could lead to travel delays.
The campaign offers tips on the EVW system, applying for visit visas, including for domestic workers, and provides more information on additional premium and priority services provided by the UK visa service in Qatar. The UK has operated a free EVW system for Qataris since the beginning of 2014, making Qatari one of three nationalities in the world able to benefit from it.
Almost 30,000 Qataris have used EVW, which allows access to the UK without a visa, provided details are registered at least 48 hours before departure, last year.
Registering for EVW is a straightforward online process, and the vast majority of Qataris who use the service without any issue. There is no requirement for users to go to a visa application centre or give fingerprints and the whole process can be completed at home.
While EVW is perfect for Qataris planning short trips, the UK also offers a service for those choosing to apply for a visa. Last month, visa applications in Qatar were processed on average in less than seven days, and in four days for those using Priority Visa Service.
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