BY Author IN immigration law
If you would like to come to the UK as a tourist, to see family or carry out any business related matters then, depending on your circumstance, there are multiple categories of Visitor Visas available to apply for. This allows you to stay in the UK as a visitor for around 6 to 12 months.
The purpose of the visit visa is meant to attract applicants outside the EEA to see the historical and cultural sites the UK has to offer, or carry out activities relating to their job that do not require a full visa application. On average the process should take around 3 weeks for the applicant to gain the visit visa.
However, the Government has introduced measures which make it easier for Chinese nationals to visit the UK as tourists and immerse themselves into the UK culture. The process now involves a single form for ADS tourist operators which reduces the hassle of having lengthy requirements and speeds up the stages for tourists planning their trip in the UK.
Since this change was implemented, there has been a huge influx of Chinese nationals gaining the visitor visa with a 96% acceptance rate in the past year. Even though the UK is not involved in the Schengen agreement, it still maintains its open doors, especially to Chinese nationals with an increase of 290,000 Chinese tourists in 2013 from 2012. This shows that the number of visit visas the UK are granting have been massively increased and have grown faster than most of the Schengen countries. The UK Government wants a firm alignment with the Schengen countries whilst maintaining their border control checks to ensure migrants have not got the chance to abuse the system. This allows Chinese tourists to make one application for both UK and Schengen visas while maintaining separate processing system.
Furthermore, the Government has also implemented a simpler and easier form for applicants who wish to travel independently. This features more questions on how to apply and guidance on visa applications translated into Chinese.
Due to these changes, most Chinese nationals gain their visit visa within 7 days and 98% of applicants gaining it within the 15 working day target. Even more so, Chinese applicants who want their visa even quicker can choose the 3 to 5 day priority service available which in July last year, 11,000 applicants choose this facility.
In addition to all these conveniences, there is now a joint British and Irish visa scheme which allows Chinese visitors to travel between the countries without needing an additional and separate visa.
Therefore, Britain has created and is furthering the intuitive to invite Chinese tourists and business travellers into the UK. Its message is one of hospitable value; that Chinese nationals are most welcome in the UK.
If you would like any other information of how to access these forms or how the whole process works, feel free to contact one of our trained and experienced immigration lawyers at Westkin Associates.