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Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why, having regard to the penultimate paragraph of section 4.6 of UKvisas: Best Practice Entry Clearance Work of 8 March, the British consulate-general in Hong Kong is advising applicants that it can no longer issue visitor visas valid for more than two years; whether this two-year limit applies only in Hong Kong; and, if so, why it applies only to Hong Kong. [HL4205]

Following guidance issued to all posts on 24 August 2006 our consulate-general in Hong Kong suspended the issue of five-year and 10-year multiple entry visit visas. This was in preparation for the introduction of a world-wide biometric identification process, designed to protect an individual's identity, facilitate future entry to the UK, combat visa fraud and abuse of the UK's immigration and asylum systems. The suspension was designed to limit the number of long-term, non-biometrically enabled visas which would have validity beyond the introduction of biometrics.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether a person who is issued a two-year visit visa by the British consulate-general in Hong Kong rather than a visit visa for the period he wished to apply for will be entitled to receive a discount on a subsequent visa application on the grounds that he applied for a reduced duration visa solely because he was told to do so by the British consulate. [HL4206]

The cost of all long-term visit visas is the same irrespective of the length of validity. A person issued a two-year visit visa in the circumstances described will not be entitled to a free extension of their visa or a discount on a subsequent application.