No change to UK visa procedures

Despite frosty relations between the Muslim world and the UK, the British government confirms that visa procedures for Middle East passengers will not change.

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By  John Irish Published  May 5, 2003

Officials at the British Embassy in Dubai confirmed yesterday (May 04) that visa procedures for passengers entering the UK from the Middle East had not changed following the war in Iraq.

This latest announcement follows increased speculation in the media that after 9/11 and the Iraqi conflict, the British government would adopt a similar stance to US authorities, who have made it increasingly difficult for Muslim and Arab travellers to enter America.

Speaking at the launch of the British tourism’s office new marketing strategy, Vicky Lee-Gordon, second secretary for political and media affairs, British embassy, stressed that the UK’s visa policy had not changed and would not alter without serious consideration of the impact it may have on inbound tourism.

“Our customers know the policy as it stands. We have no plans to change in the future. At present we offer same day service to visa applicants in the hope of creating an easier service for visitors,” said Lee-Gordon.

“Applicants can download forms, while frequent visitors to the UK can send representation and need not apply in person. Hopefully, these measures will reinforce the message that visa issuing is as clear as we can make it,” she added.

In a separate development, the British Foreign Office (FO) confirmed today (May 05) that diplomatic representation in Baghdad would resume for the first time since 1991. It hopes to reopen the embassy in the next few weeks, once a temporary flat-pack site is constructed.

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