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Volume 705: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why they moved the place of issuing of visas to the United Kingdom for citizens of Equatorial Guinea from Abuja to Accra. [HL5549]

Abuja was not specified as the visa issuing post for Equatorial Guinea citizens. Yaounde in Cameroon was, and remains, the designated post for such applications, though UKBA advises that applications may be made at our posts in Nigeria, Ghana, or indeed any full service visa post if it is more convenient.

In July 2008 the visa office in Yaounde ceased to take decisions on visa applications with this work transferred to Accra. The office in Yaounde, however, remains open for the submission of visa applications. These are collected in Yaounde along with fees and biographic and biometric data, and are couriered to Accra where the application is considered. The decisions are returned to Yaounde for handing back to the applicant.

The hub and spoke method of working is well established in the overseas visa network with the majority of posts in southern Africa, for example, already working this way. The decision to move decision-making work to Accra from Yaounde was taken in order to ensure consistency in our decision-making, to provide greater management oversight, and to achieve cost savings.

No visa applicant is required to travel to Accra to lodge their application as decisions can be lodged in Yaounde or at any other convenient full service post.

During the 12-month period to date, a worldwide total of 223 UK visa applications made by Equatorial Guinea nationals were lodged in 12 different countries. Among these, the top three were Yaounde (109), Madrid (68) and Abuja (12).