The British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the intention to launch this scheme during his visit to India last month.
This is the first type of this service to be launched in India and will initially be available to all visa applicants applying at our visa application centre in Chennai from 9 December 2013. Should the pilot prove successful among customers we will expand this service to the rest of South India early in the New Year with a view to further roll-out across the rest of India over the course of 2014.
Passport pass-back is a user-paid service that enables customers to retain their passport for the majority of the application processing period. We anticipate take up by frequent travellers, particularly business visitors, holiday-makers planning tours around multiple countries and settlement applicants.
Customers applying for a visit, employment or student visas will need to submit their passports within 10 days of applying. Those customers applying under the settlement route will need to submit their passports within 4 weeks of notification.
This new service will not be available to applicants who want to apply under the UK’s Super Priority Visa service, Fast Track service or Business Express Program.
Bharat Joshi, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Chennai said:
I am delighted to see the passport pass-back service being launched in South India. For the first time, South Indian visitors will now have the option of retaining their passports until a decision has been made. This underlines the British Government’s strong commitment to continue offering increased customer choice within our visa services and the growing importance of South India to the UK .
Thomas Greig, UK Visas and Immigration Regional Director for Central Asia, South Asia and Turkey said:
Following our continuous efforts of delivering better customer services, I am delighted that the passport pass-back service is being piloted in South India. While we remain committed to offering the fastest possible delivery time, this service is being offered to enable our customers to have more flexibility when applying for their visa to the UK. This service will benefit some of our key business visitors and tourism customers.
We will continue to listen and respond to the needs of high-value customers so that we can provide them with a service that supports economic growth, while at the same time maintain the security of our borders.
- The passport pass-back service is an optional service and incurs an additional fee.
- The fee for the passport pass-back is 5250 INR (£50 including taxes) plus the standard fee for the type of visa being applied for.
- Further information about the fees, eligibility criteria and how to schedule an appointment are available at www.vfs-uk-in.com (additional services)
- This new service is not available to applicants who have already applied under the Super Priority Visa service, Fast Track service or Business Express Program as the turnaround time for these categories is very short.
- Applicants who have already lodged an application with the British High Commission in Chennai before 9 December will not be able to access this service.
For media enquiries please contact: Anita Mawdsley, British Deputy High Commission, Chennai, mobile: +91 9600199956.
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