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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

World

UK to introduce VIP mobile visa service in India
Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times
London, November 06, 2013
First Published: 16:23 IST(6/11/2013)
Last Updated: 16:32 IST(6/11/2013)

The UK on Wednesday announced plans to introduce a VIP mobile visa service in India and to pilot a 'passport pass-back' service in south India besides launching a 'Great Club', a visa initiative aimed at 100 global business leaders.

A home office spokesperson told HT: "Over the next 12 months, additional improvements (to the visa system) will include introducing a VIP mobile visa service to India and piloting our passport pass-back service in southern India with a view to expanding countrtwide if successful."

Passport pass-back is a service for business travellers and some tourists that allows customers to keep their passport while their visa is being processed. This means they can travel or apply for another visa if they need to, reducing the time it takes to get two visas.

The spokesperson said that Great Club is an invitation-only service from 1 January that will provide personalised support to 100 global business leaders who use the visa service and have strong links to the UK.

While members of the Club will still be subject to the same visa checks as any other applicant, it aims to provide Club members with 'exceptional service' from when they first apply for their visas to arrival in the UK.

They will be provided with an account manager to ensure their journey through the visa and immigration service is swift and smooth. The account manager will also be able to arrange visa services tailored to each individual's needs at no extra cost during the pilot.

The government also plans to expand the same-day visa service, currently available in India and soon to be available in China, to several more key locations by the end of 2014.

Home secretary Theresa May said: "These changes will allow us to maintain a world class, competitive visa system… We will continue to listen and respond to the needs of high-value and high-priority businesses so that we can provide them with a service that supports economic growth, while at the same time maintains the security of our borders."


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