Britain launches same-day visa service for Indians

Mumbai, May 14 (IANS) Britain's Home Office Tuesday announced launch of a same-day, "super priority" visa service for Indian travellers, an official announcement said here.

The first of its kind service launched anywhere in the world, it will be available to Indians from Wednesday.

The service is the fulfilment of a commitment by British Prime Minister David Cameron during his recent visit to India, a spokesperson for the British Deputy High Commision here said.

The Super Priority Visa Service (SPVS), which complements the existing Fast Track Service and the recent Online Payment Option, will be available to Indians, excluding students, intending to apply for a six-month or two-year multiple entry visit visa, and having previously travelled to Britain, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or a Schengen country within the last five years.

It is also available to visa applicants sponsored by companies who are members of the UK Business Express Programme. The service will initially be made available from Mumbai and New Delhi, and in the near future from Chennai.

"This underlines our strong commitment to make an already excellent visa service even better. We expect this new service to be particularly useful for business. Opportunities arise at short notice. We want Indian entrepreneurs and businessmen to be able to seize these. The UK and India are already on course to double bilateral trade by 2015. The new Super Priority Visa will help make sure that we hit this target", said British High Commissioner to India, Sir James Bevan.

The SPVS, an optional service, comes with an additional fee of Rs.51,000 besides the standard fee for the type of visa being applied for.

Applicants must complete an online form and submit their applications, by appointment, before 9.30 a.m. If an application is successful, the visa will be ready for collection by 5.30 p.m. the same day in New Delhi or by 6.30 pm the same day in Mumbai.