Laos To Launch Mobile UK Visa Application Service
A mobile UK visa application service will start in Laos, 26 September, to serve residents in Laos and end the need for them to travel to Bangkok to apply for a tourist visa to the UK.
British Ambassador to Lao PDR, Philip Malone, confirmed the visa service would be available for just one day every three months at the British Embassy in Vientiane.
“The new service reflects the importance we place on strengthening the relationships and our desire to see more people from Lao PDR visit, do business, invest and study in the UK,” he said.
He added: “It also underscores our commitment to improve the visa service we offer our customers.”
Lao residents applying for a UK visa previously had to travel to Bangkok to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and digital photograph) and submit their documents.
However, the new service still requires them to apply for an appointment to use it and its role is simply to process the application so it can be sent to Bangkok for screening.
It takes a considerable time to process. A non-settlement visa takes at least 15 working days and a settlement application 12 weeks.
Customers have to pay a non -refundable fee of £75 to start the process. This includes the cost of sending the application by courier to Bangkok and returning it to their nominated address in Laos once processed.
Then entire process is outsourced to a private company to ensure British embassy staff has minimum contact at the processing level, although they screen and approve all applications.
The scheme saves the cost of travel to Bangkok, but if the appointments are full for the mobile service the would-be traveler to the UK still needs to go to Bangkok to process the visa.
The new service is run by the UK Visas and Immigration’s commercial partner in Southeast Asia, VFS Global.
Those wanting to take advantage of the service should first complete an online application form, and pay for the service online via the VFS payment portal using Mastercard or Visacard before making an appointment by emailing VFS Global firstname.lastname@example.org.
They can apply for a visa to travel to the UK up to three months in advance.
Further information about the mobile visa clinics in Vientiane and how to apply for a UK visa can be found on the Thai pages of the UK Visas and Immigration website.
The Mobile Visa Clinic will be set up at the British Embassy, rue J Nehru, Ban Phonexay, Saysettha district, Vientiane.
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