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Far East: Entry Clearances

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to change arrangements for applications for visas at British diplomatic posts in (a) Ulan Bator, (b) Hong Kong, (c) Singapore and (d) Shanghai. (160480)

UKvisas will be making some changes to the visa application process in the four cities referred to by my hon. Friend.

Following the launch of biometric data collection for UK visa applicants at our Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Singapore in June and at our Mission in Hong Kong in early October, this process will be implemented at our VACs in China (including Shanghai) and our Mission in Ulaanbataar by early November. All visa applicants will have to apply in person at our respective Missions or VACs to provide their fingerscans and a digital photograph in support of their application.

Applicants in Hong Kong and Ulaanbataar will continue to submit their applications and biometric data at our Missions in those cities, and applicants in Singapore and Shanghai will continue to submit their applications and biometric data at the VACs of our commercial partner, VFS Global Ltd.

It is planned to send the applications from Ulaanbataar and Singapore to Beijing and Kuala Lumpur respectively to be processed. This should have minimal impact on customers.