The U.K. will expand its fast-track 24-hour visa service to include New York City, the United Arab Emirates and Paris, Prime Minister David Cameron announced.
The expansion of the service, which is already available in China and India, will help to boost investment and tourism to Britain, Cameron said in a statement as he traveled to Australia for the Group of 20 summit in Brisbane.
“We are determined to do everything we can to back business, support investment and create jobs,” Cameron said. “This new 24-hour service is another way we can help — it will persuade more business travelers, investors and tourists to visit Britain, to trade with Britain and to expand in Britain.”
The program, which will also include Thailand, Turkey, South Africa and the Philippines, will give people an answer on their visa application in 24 hours on payment of a 600-pound ($950) fee, Cameron’s office said. The processing center in Paris will enable the 25,000 third-country nationals who apply in the French capital each year to fast-track the process.
Companies have warned the government that lengthy bureaucracy around visa applications is deterring investors, business travelers and wealthy tourists. About 40 percent of visa applications in New York already use the priority visa service, which turns applications around in three to five days, indicating there will be demand for the new service, Cameron’s office said.
Cameron is scheduled to meet with around 30 chief executive officers on Nov. 14 at the B-20 for businesses that runs alongside the G20 meeting.
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