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UK visa processing time in India back to within 15 days: Alex Ellis

NEW DELHI: The United Kingdom has become among the first major western destination for desi globetrotters to bring back visa adjudication back to pre-pandemic time of within a fortnight. Other countries, especially the US, and Schengen states still have high visa processing wait periods here. Except for sky-high fares with one-way ticket now costing more than a return before 2020, travel between the two countries is now back to normal as India had recently restored e-visas for Britishers. British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis on Friday said: “Good news for those travelling from India to UK. Visit visas now within standard time of 15 working days (with a small number of trickier cases taking longer). Great work by the visa teams across the world.” “Two month ago, I (had) said our aim was to turn around visit visas from India to the UK to our standard time of 15 working days by the end of this year. The great news is the team has now achieved that through fantastic work here in Delhi and across the whole visa network. There are still a few cases which take longer, very complex ones and that’s right that they do. This enables now people to move to India and the UK with much greater ease. This is good news for the living bridge alongside the welcome return of e-visas for Brits coming to India. You can, of course, use the priority visa channel if you still want. We’re turning that around within five days.” “And finally, we have a big intake of student visas for the student session starting in January of next year. Please apply as quickly as you can because there’s a lot of demand. And for everyone applying for visas, make sure that you provide the right information. Look, check what information we’re asking for and make sure you provide it. This is great news for everyone,” the high commissioner added. India had earlier this month resumed e-visa facility for UK citizens. This service was restored for almost all countries earlier this year barring a handful of nations, including the UK and Canada. The number of international arrivals in India in pre-Covid 2019 was 1.7 crore, that included 1.1 crore foreign tourists and remaining NRIs coming home for visiting friends and relatives purpose. Government data for 2018 shows the top five source countries for foreign tourist arrivals in India were: Bangladesh (21.4%), US (13.8%), UK (9.7%), Sri Lanka (3.35%) and Canada (3.32%). With e-visas not allowed for some of these top source markets, the tourism industry has been seeking resumption of the same. The Travel Agents Association of India, an umbrella organisation representing over 2,500 travel firms, had this summer requested the government to reinstate e-visas for all countries to boost inbound tourism.

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