British ambassador visits Cebu, opens new visa application center

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Thursday, October 11, 2012


A SECOND UK visa application center has opened in Cebu, Philippines for the convenience of customers and in response to continued growth in tourism and business visitor demand.

Customers from Cebu and surrounding areas no longer have to go to Manila to lodge their UK Visa application.

The new application center was officially opened last October 10 by British Ambassador Stephen Lillie and Jonathan Sedgwick, the UK Border Agency’s International Operations and Visas director who is visiting from London.

British officials lead the opening of the second UK visa application center in the Philippines
British officials lead the opening of the second UK visa application center in the Philippines. (Contributed photo)

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The application center will be run by the UK Government’s commercial partner VFS Global and their Chief Executive Officer, Zubin Karkaria, was also in Cebu to oversee the official opening.

The initiative is part of a suite of additional optional services to enhance the customer experience of applying for a UK visa in the Philippines.

A Priority Visa Service for eligible visitors and seafarers was launched earlier this year along with Prime Time Saturday appointments at the Manila visa application center, which have both proved very popular with customers.

Customers can also opt for the VIP lounge service at available at both the Manila and Cebu application centers.

A growing number of Filipinos are choosing to visit the UK. In 2011, there was an eight percent growth on the number of visas issued to Filipinos wanting to visit the UK and 16 percent more than 2009 - and the new visa application centre in Cebu will help cater for this increase in demand.

This is the first “user-pays” UK visa application center to be launched globally. Those who pay an additional fee can now lodge their application in Cebu.

“The Cebu VAC and other new services offered by the UK Border Agency in Manila reflect the increasing strength of the relationship between the Philippines and the UK. We welcome the growing interest from the Philippines in the UK as a destination to visit and do business in, and I am very pleased to open this new visa application in Cebu to help support this growth. I hope that it will lead to an increase in visitors to the UK from the Visayas region,” British Ambassador Stephen Lillie said.

Jonathan Sedgwick, the UK Border Agency’s International Operations and Visas director, said: “We’re continually looking for ways to improve the service we offer our high value customers to ensure we meet their needs. The new VAC will be a more convenient and accessible service to those in Cebu and the surrounding region and will make the start of their journey to the UK an easier one.”

Zubin Karkaria, chief executive officer of the VFS Global Group, for his part, said: “It is with great pleasure we announce the opening of the new UK Visa Application Centre in Cebu. VFS Global is honored to be associated with the Government of UK in the Philippines since 2007, and also have the privilege to be their trusted partner in 33 other countries globally. We are committed to partner the UK Border Agency in offering convenient, comfortable and secure visa application services for UK visa applicants, and are sure the new centre in Cebu will significantly enhance the convenience for many applicants from Philippines.”

Applications lodged in Cebu will be sent to the British Embassy in Manila for processing and returned to Cebu for collection.

Details of the new Cebu City UK visa application center and other premium services are on the VFS website (www.vfs-ph-uk.com).

For UK visa guidance and information on how to make an application visit the UK Border Agency website at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/philippines. (PR)

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