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Friday, April 6, 2012

UKBA Launches Priority Visa Services for Thai Visitors

The UK Embassy in Bangkok made an announcement on April 03, 2012 about the introduction of two new premium visa services offered by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and its commercial partner for visitors wishing to enter the UK in 2012 – the year of the London Olympics.

As indicated in the announcement, UKBA launched a priority visa service that allows visitor visa applicants to have their UK visa application placed at the front of the processing queue if they meet certain criteria and pay an additional fee. Applicants have to pay 3,000 baht for the new priority service at the time the application is submitted. The UKBA aims to turn around priority applications within three working days.

In addition, to bring more convenience to applicants, the UKBA also introduced a Prime Time appointment service that allows applicants to make an appointment to lodge their visa application and provide biometrics at the visa application centre on Saturdays. Prime Time appointments must be made online, as stated in the announcement. Customers can also collect their documents between 9am and midday on Saturdays at no charge.

The introduction of the two premium visa services with greater choice and flexibility for Thai applicants is in response to the highly growing demand for UK visitor visas. According to the announcement, the UK is welcoming unprecedented numbers of Thai visitors. Last year, more than 50,000 visitor visas were issued to tourists, family visitors and business travellers from Thailand, a 16 percent increase in comparison with the same period in 2010. 94 percent of all UK visitor visa applications filed in Thailand in 2011 were successful.

"It is great to see that even more Thai people are choosing the UK as the ideal destination to travel and do business. The UK offers a wonderfully diverse range of attractions, from historical sites to modern architectural designs, and some of the best business event and conference facilities in the world," said British Ambassador to Thailand, Asif Ahmad. "We hope to welcome even more visitors in 2012, the year of the London Olympics, where the world can see the best of what Britain has to offer," he added.

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