More Filipinos traveling to UK, embassy says
MANILA, Philippines–The United Kingdom is becoming a more popular travel destination for Filipinos as the British Embassy in Manila recorded a 16-percent growth in the total number of visas issued for the year ending September 2014.
This underscored the strong and growing ties between the UK and the Philippines, the embassy said in a statement issued Thursday.
Data from the British Embassy showed that it had issued a total of 53,000 visas from October 2013 to September 2014, up from the 45,835 visas issued the previous year.
Of the 53,000 visas, 60 percent, or 32,000, were issued under the Visit category, which included those for tourists (17,949 visas); business visitor (5,418 visas); student visitor (150 visas); family visitor (5,415 visas); and other visitor (3,003 visas).
The embassy also noted a 62-percent increase in the issuance of the tourist visas as of end-September 2014, and an 8 percent increase in business visits.
Meanwhile, the remaining 40 percent or the 21,000 visas issued for the same period were classified as points-based (work and student visas), and settlement visa applications.
Given these developments, the British Embassy in Manila has decided to expand its menu of premium services to “provide greater choice to our rapidly growing customer base in the Philippines.”
Starting February 23, the UK Visas and Immigration office will launch a new 24-hour “Super Priority Visa Service” in the country.
According to the embassy, the Super Priority Visa Service (SPVS) is an optional first class visa service to facilitate the most urgent travel needs and will be available to all visitor visa applicants and some work visa categories.
SPVS complements the efficient standard service and the existing three- to five-day Priority Visa Service, an option which will also be made available to more customers including visitors.
“I am delighted to see the Super Priority Visa service being launched in The Philippines. This underlines our strong commitment to make an already excellent visa service even better. We expect this new service to be particularly useful for business where opportunities can arise at very short notice. We want entrepreneurs and businessmen to be able to seize these,” noted British Ambassador Asif Ahmad.
“The extension of our three to five day priority service to include all visitors without exception, will also be welcome to those wanting to take advantage of any last minute holiday deals,” Ahmad added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.