The British High Commission yesterday issued a statement about the UK visa application process, including the current processing times, and a warning about the activities of unscrupulous agents.
“We decided to make this announcement because we are aware that unscrupulous agents are exploiting some applicants and giving them misleading visa information. These agents are taking money to arrange appointments at the visa application centres and encouraging applicants to submit fraudulent applications. It is important that our customers know that there is no charge for appointments and fraudulent applications will be refused and mean longer processing times for everyone” said Director of Visa Services, Peter Chaplin.
“We have taken a number of measures to improve the service to customers and prevent abuse of the visa system.”
“All applicants must obtain an appointment to submit their visa applications. They do this by telephoning Gerry’s on 0900 10411 or 8865 from a mobile phone. Gerry’s have taken on more staff to respond to the increased number of calls and requests for appointments.”
“We are seeing more fraudulent visa applications. As a result, genuine applicants wait longer for their visas, as visa officers are required to carry out extensive anti-fraud checks. We would ask applicants not to listen to agents who say that they can guarantee them a visa and that it is easy to do so using forged documents. Agents have no power to guarantee visas. We will detect false documents and, through the biometrics process, we will detect all false identities. This kind of abuse of the visa process will result in the visa application being refused and the applicant risking a ban on travel to the UK for the next 10 years.”
“We would like to remind customers that visa application forms are free of charge and available from the Gerry’s website: www.ukvacpk.com. It is important that these application forms are completed fully.”
“Currently, customers need to allow the following number of weeks for end to end processing: approximately 4 weeks if the application is made at Mirpur Visa Application Centre (VAC), 5 weeks at the Islamabad VAC and 6 weeks at Lahore and Karachi VACs. The processing times are available and regularly updated on Gerry’s website, www.ukvacpk.com”
“We welcome genuine visitors to the UK and are working hard to make the waiting times shorter. We would ask our customers to make their visa applications in very good time before they intend to travel and not to take up the services of unscrupulous agents”