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The Home Office has announced the following enhanced and streamlined services for processing UK visa applications in China:

  • A 24-hour visa service is to be introduced for regular and business visitor applicants by the summer of 2014. The new super priority visa service will be in addition to the current priority (three- to five-day) service, allowing visas to be processed in 24 hours. 
  • The VIP Mobile Visa Service is to be extended across China. The service was launched in April 2013, covering Beijing and Shanghai, and allows senior executives to arrange for their applications and biometric details to be taken by a Home Office team at their offices instead of attending a Visa Application Centre.
  • UK and Schengen visa application processes are to be further aligned. A pilot scheme was launched in November 2013 with selected travel agents for Approved Destination Status tour groups who are visiting both Schengen countries and the UK. These agents will able to make offline applications for tour groups, using Schengen visa application forms with a short addendum form. This is aimed at reducing duplication of the forms and supporting documents required for those traveling to the UK and within Europe.

This change will extend the elements of UK and Schengen processes, already aligned in China, including some application centers and the Passport Pass-Back service, which allow applications to be considered simultaneously.

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