Official figures released this week have demonstrated the UK’s continued attraction for visitors from the UAE. A record number of UAE nationals used the UK’s electronic visa waiver (EVW) scheme in the last year. There were more than 63,000 applications for EVWs in the year ending March 2016, up 39% on the previous year. And also breaking past records, Visit Britain announced this week that 77,000 visitors from the UAE had arrived in the UK during the first three months of 2016 – the strongest first quarter on record.
The EVW scheme has grown in popularity since it was introduced in 2014. EVWs are completed online, 48 hours before departure and are valid for a single entry into the UK. UAE nationals can apply for a new EVW each time they travel to the UK, and there is no limit on the number of times the system can be used. A new and improved version of the EVW system was introduced in the UAE in May 2016. Unlike the first version of the EVW system, which relied on passengers entering their personal information exactly as it appears on their passport, the new EVW form asks passengers to upload a copy of their passport biographic data page so that details can be checked for accuracy prior to travel. This means that the vast majority of input errors are picked up, significantly reducing the risk of issues when boarding or entering the UK. The revised system also features questions in both English and Arabic making it easier for users in the UAE.
In a further improvement to the system which will offer greater flexibility, EVW holders can now amend their flight details should they need to change them after making their original application. Changes will need to be made at least 48hrs before both the original and new travel dates.
UK Ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham said:
Record numbers of UAE nationals are visiting the UK and using our EVW system. We want everyone’s visit, from start to finish, to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. The introduction of the EVW system and its recent improvements have benefited tens of thousands of UAE nationals. It is also still possible to apply for multiple entry UK visas, with validity up to 10 years. Using our super priority visa service, these can be obtained on the same day as an application is submitted.
We look forward to welcoming more travellers from the UAE and beyond.
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