UK Launches Campaign to Encourage Indians to Apply for Visitor Visas Earlier

The 'Beat the Peak' campaign aims to encourage Indian visitors to utilize UK's post-dated visa offer.


With its annual “Beat the Peak” campaign, the United Kingdom is encouraging Indian visitors to make use of the post-dated visa offer of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), the British High Commission in New Delhi said in a statement on Jan. 19.

The post-dated visa offer allows travelers to apply three months in advance and date their visa for when they wish to travel. It allows Indian visitors to the United Kingdom to start their visa on their intended date of travel. For instance, people who plan to travel in April can apply for their visas in January. This also helps to keep the full six-month validity for when they intend to travel.

“2017 was a record breaking year for the UK-India relationship, with more Indians travelling to the UK than ever before. In the year ending September 2017 well over half a million visas were issued to Indian nationals and visit visas alone were up by 11% year-on-year,” Dominic Asquith, the British High Commissioner to India, said.

Asquith added that thousands of Indians will travel to the United Kingdom in 2018 and can expect a quicker visa process if they apply up to three months early. This will help them beat the summer peak in April and May.

Asquith launched the 2018 BEAT the peak campaign and is set to kick-start a range of activities led by the British High Commission. These activities aim to engage with the Indian tourist market and encourage them to visit Britain and apply early for their visa to do so.

“UKVI will also be improving the application process during 2018, with new online forms and upgraded technology to make the experience smoother, easier and more customer-friendly,” said a statement.

The UKVI has also committed to extending the registered traveler service to Indian nationals. It is an optional membership scheme, which provides expedited crossing through the UK border. Registered travelers are entitled to use the European Economic Area (EEA) entry lanes, or if they hold an electronic passport, the e-Passport gates, and won’t need to routinely fill in a landing card.

In August last year, Britain decided to do away with landing cards that visitors from non-European countries, including India, were required to fill. The decision was taken as part of UK Border Force’s digitization process for border controls, and also to increase passenger comfort and reduce costs.

Tricia Warwick, the Interim Director of Visit Britain Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, said, “We want the UK to be a ‘must-go-now’ destination for visitors from India. Making it easy to travel here is an important part of our tourism offer. With our hotels, attractions and shops, all offering great value for Indian visitors right now, it is a great time to come to Britain.”

According to the British High Commission in New Delhi, there are more UK visa application centers in India than in any other country. The 18th Visa Application Center in India was inaugurated by British Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis in Bengaluru on Nov. 7, 2017.

The United Kingdom welcomed 3.1 million overseas visits in September 2017. Between July and September 2017, there were a record 11.0 million inbound visits to the United Kingdom, 4 per cent up on the same period last year, said data from Visit Britain.

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