via Britain introduces stringent visa conditions April 4, 2014 in NewsDay
ZIMBABWEANS intending to secure visas to the United Kingdom will now find it cumbersome following the announcement of a new application process by the British Embassy that would require applicants to pay application fees on line.
The British Embassy in Harare on Monday announced that visa applications would now be done online and payment made by debit cards.
Most Zimbabweans use hard cash and have no access to MasterCards, credit or debit cards.
“With this change, it is now mandatory that UK visa customers pay for their visa fee online by MasterCard or visa credit or debit card,” said the embassy in a statement on its website.
“The move to online application and payments will deliver a streamlined application process and is consistent with a wider global trend to online transactions and payments. This brings our application process in Zimbabwe in line with the rest of southern Africa, where online applications have been in place for some time.”
According to the statement, Zimbabweans will no longer have to queue at the embassy to apply for a visa as they would now be required to visit the www.Visa4UK.fco.gov.uk website, to apply online and for an appointment time.
However, the embassy also introduced a priority visa that would be processed within five working days, unlike the 15 working days required to process a normal visa, a move that will impact positively on Zimbabwean businessmen who intend to visit Britain.
“The Priority Visa Service will take five working days to process at a cost of £100 ($170) compared to the 15 working days processing of the normal visa. It is hoped that this will impact positively on our business customers.”
Previously, people had to wait for more than three weeks to get visas to go the UK, where most Zimbabweans live after fleeing the economic hardships back home a decade ago.
The new application system, according to the statement, would meet the requirements of the UK government’s Digital by Default initiative, help cut costs in the management of the visa operation, and help in keeping the fees down.