The British Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, officially opened the new Visa Application Centre in Baghdad today with the Foreign Minister of Iraq, His Excellency Hoshyar Zebari. For the first time, members of the Iraqi public are now able to apply for UK visas from Baghdad.
In comments made at the opening ceremony, Lord Green, said:
“For a very long time we have not been able to offer the range of services to Iraqi citizens that we would wish. To visit the UK for tourism, to meet friends and family or to do business has meant that for most it has been necessary to travel to Amman or elsewhere. This can be time consuming and costly, so for some time now the UK Government has been seeking to provide a facility for applications in Iraq itself.”
Lord Green continued: “This application centre is important to both you and us as we work together to build our trading relationship and deliver growth and prosperity to both countries. It’s a significant development in the normalisation of our relationship.”
Lord Green’s visit is part of a programme of high level visits which focuses on strengthening UK-Iraq relations across a range of fields. The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, visited Baghdad in September 2012 and the British Minister for International Energy visited Iraq in January 2013.
All applications for a UK visa must be made online through the UK Visas website where applicants can also make an appointment at the Baghdad Visa Application Centre which is operated by GulfBridge.
Applicants must pay an application fee of $400 per person in addition to the visa fee which varies depending on the type of visa being applied for. Visas currently take around 15 working days to be processed.
Further guidance on the visa application process is available on the UKBA website.
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