PM announces China visitor visa reforms

21 Oct 2015 by GrahamSmith

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced visa reforms for Chinese travellers visiting the UK.

From January, a two-year multiple entry visa will cost £85, a hefty reduction on the current £324 charge and the price of a standard six-month visa.

A ten-year visa will also be much cheaper, dropping from £747 to £85, the same price as a two-year multiple-entry visa.

Elsewhere, out of hours visa application centre appointments will be available and the three-to-five day priority service will be extended. The 12 centres themselves will also be upgraded.

The reach of the on-demand visa service in China will be extended, allowing travellers to provide their biometric data at 17 locations instead of having to visit a visa application centre.

Travellers can apply for the UK and Schengen area visa at the same time, a new online application form will be simpler to complete, while premium service lounges will be introduced in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association (ETOA), said: "The industry has been pressing hard... for a reduction in the cost of UK visas to Chinese visitors. This shows that the government has been listening.

"What is really heartening is the fact that they are starting to tailor requirements for each market. Up until now it was 'one size fits all', whether you were Indian, Chinese or Russian. We are not at the stage where clients can fill in the forms in their own alphabet (let alone language), but this is a step in the right direction."

The reforms come as President Xi Jinping continues his state visit to the UK.

Graham Smith

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