RIYADH: The UK electronic visa waiver assistance service was now available to travelers in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, it has been announced.
VFS Global, an outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions, revealed that it had recently extended the service to the two countries.
“Nationals of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain can now apply for an EVW when traveling to the UK. Travelers can apply in advance from the comfort of their home, anywhere between three months and 48 hours prior to their intended date of travel, for the purposes of tourism, business, study, or medical treatment,” VFS Global told Arab News.
The latest country additions mean the company now helps in all six Gulf Cooperation Council member states, which also include Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and the UAE.
With the new scheme, travelers visiting the UK for up to six months need no longer apply for a visit visa, enroll biometrics at the Visa Application Center, or hand in their passports in advance for processing.
Customers can provide their information, upload their travel documents, and make fee payments online, and VFS Global can provide assistance in completing the electronic visa waiver application.
Atul Marwah, VFS Global head for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “VFS Global is excited to roll out the EVW service in a further two countries in the Middle East, and we thank UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) for their continued faith in us.
“Bahrain and Saudi Arabia remain key source markets for the UK, and this service is ideal for travelers looking to visit the country for a short term, while providing them an easier, more cost-effective, and convenient visa application journey.”
On June 2, British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton told Arab News that the UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme had been made available to Saudi citizens and pointed out that the initiative would help to deepen economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.
“Saudi nationals can now apply to travel to the UK (for tourism, business, study, or medical treatment) for up to six months using the system. This is a wonderful moment which will strengthen ties between the two countries,” the envoy said.
He noted that the online process was “quick, very straightforward, and not expensive.”
Crompton added: “It’s a big improvement in our service, which is consistent with the desire of both our governments to improve the bilateral relationship, and in particular to increase the people-to-people links between our two countries. It’s very exciting news, and we look forward to seeing more Saudis in the UK.”