Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India under new UK visa regime

By Shamindra Ferdinando

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are among countries which have been brought under an unprecedented visa regime to pave the way for all visa applicants to be charged online in US dollars with effect from Monday (Dec 16).

British High Commission spokesperson said that online application and payments for visas to the UK was a global change undertaken by UK Visas and Immigration.

The operation was being rolled out in UK visa application centres around the world, including in India, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other parts of South Asia.

The spokesperson was responding to a query by The Island.

The HC said that applicants would have to use Visa or MasterCard debit or credit cards or e-wallet (Skrill).

The HC said that the new procedures would help cut costs in the management of the visas operation, which in turn helps to keep visa fees down.

"As is the current practice, applications will also continue to be completed online with printed copies submitted to the Visa Application Centre in Colombo, along with biometric data. Appointments to hand in the documents will also continue to be made online."

The HC quoted UK Visas and Immigration Regional Director Thomas Greig as having said: "The move to online applications and payments is a regional practice that will deliver a streamlined application process and is consistent with a wider global trend to online transactions and payments. This is part of our on-going commitment to offer the best service to our Sri Lankan customers and reduces the risk associated with cash payment. It is also part of the Home Office’s programme of modernisation."

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