Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: His Excellency Mr Rashid Mattar Al Siri Al Qamzi, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dubai and Paul Fox, HM Consul General, British Embassy Dubai today unveiled two brand new top tier services to offer a ‘platinum experience’ for UK visa applicants in the UAE.

The new services have been designed specifically for customers who want to sit back and relax while their visa application is taken care of, whether at the application centre, or in their own office or home. Both services can be used to obtain long term UK visas, popular with frequent travellers.

The first of these, offering the ultimate in convenience is the ‘on demand mobile biometric service’, which gives applicants across the UAE the option to complete their visa application, including biometric enrolment, from the comfort of their home, office or any location of choice.

The ‘on demand’ service is available to individuals and groups, such as corporate employees, or families, who prefer not to travel to the visa application centres to apply. Instead, a small team will travel to the applicant’s chosen location to complete the biometric enrolment process (capturing fingerscans and a photograph).

The cost of the service starts at £750 / AED 4500 for an individual, with discounted bespoke pricing for groups, depending on size. To find out more about this service, or to book please write to UKvisaondemandGulf@vfshelpline.com.

A brand new ‘Platinum Lounge’ also opened its doors to customers today at the visa application centre in Wafi Mall, Dubai. The lounge is the first of its kind that the UK has introduced anywhere in the world, and is available exclusively to UK visa applicants.

The lounge offers privacy and comfort, away from the hustle and bustle of the main application centre. Customers can relax in their own private booth within the tranquil and modern lounge, while VFS staff take care of the entire process, from a personalised chauffer service to and from the VAC, to completion of the application form and payment.

Faster processing, of course, comes as standard, and customers who choose to enjoy the lounge can expect to receive their documents, hand delivered to their door, just 3-5 days after they apply, or within 24 hours if they choose to upgrade to the super priority visa service.

The service costs an additional £435 / AED 2600 and is available to customers applying at the UK Visa Application Centre in Dubai only.

Key features of the Platinum Lounge include:
Priority Visa Service as standard for visa processing within 3-5 days
Chauffer Service – offering pick-up and drop-off from anywhere in Dubai
Privacy and comfort, in a dedicated space away from the main application centre.
Secure Wi-Fi connectivity, not available anywhere else within the application centre
Complete one to one assistance with filling in application forms and making online payments
SMS alert service for visa application updates
Personalised courier for return of passports and documents to your door
Drinks and snacks
A free Oyster Card to top up and use on the London public transport system

The introduction of the new services marks a further step forward in the UK’s efforts to provide a bespoke visa offering for customers in the UAE. In addition to excellent standard processing, customers can now request a tailored package of additional premium and platinum services to suit their individual needs.

Emirati visitors to the UK can still take advantage of the popular electronic visa waiver service, for short trips, of up to six months at a time. There were more than 54,600 EVW registrations from Emiratis in the last year. A single entry EVW can be obtained online, without having to attend a visa application centre. However, UAE passport holders who travel regularly or at short notice, may find it more convenient to obtain a multi-entry visa, as EVWs must be obtained at least 48 hours before departure. In the last year, visa applications from Emiratis were processed in under four days on average.

Speaking about the new services at the launch, Paul Fox, HM Consul General British Embassy Dubai said, “I am delighted to introduce two new world leading services today, that will offer the next level of luxury for our highly valued customers in the UAE. Whether speed, convenience or comfort is the priority, these additions to our excellent visa service promise to provide our customers with a truly GREAT British welcome from the very start of the journey to the UK.”

Added Srinarayan Sankaran – COO, Middle East, VFS Global, “We have been offering visa services in the UAE since 2002, and are continuously exploring and customizing services according to the needs and requirements of applicants in this region. We believe the on-demand mobile visa service and Platinum Lounge redefine flexibility and convenience for UK-bound travellers, and we are confident of providing high levels of satisfaction for applicants who choose these services.”