This post is also available in: Vietnamese
When I first arrived in Vietnam, the complaint I heard more than any other was about our visa service. This struck home to me, not least because we want to make a good, happy (and efficient) first impression on visitors to Britain.
In fact the complaints turned out mostly to stem from unhappiness about moving our visa processing operation to Bangkok. That is part of a worldwide move to process visas in a much smaller number of places, and that won’t change, because it’s a more efficient way of doing the job.
We have since then worked hard to provide a reliable and prompt service, despite a rapid increase in applications. We process more than 14,000 visas a year, rising by over 10% every year.
We want to see even more Vietnamese business people explore Britain’s welcoming business environment, Vietnamese students learn from our great universities, and Vietnamese tourists enjoy our vibrant culture.
So we will keep looking for ways to deal efficiently with all the applications, and today I opened a new visa application centre in Ho Chi Minh City. If you live in Ho Chi Minh City or elsewhere in South Vietnam, I hope this will be more convenient than traveling all the way to Hanoi (although you can still do that if you prefer).
You have to pay to use the new centre: that is how we make it viable. Our commercial partner, VFS Global, have done a good job setting it up. Their own website www.vfsglobal.com/uk/Vietnam explains more about their services and gives the address of the centre (it’s in the center of town).
Many people ask me for help in getting a visa. I have three pieces of advice.
1. Apply at least three weeks in advance. (The official line is that we aim to process 90% of non-settlement applications within 15 working days.)
2. Follow the instructions: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/Vietnam
3. Be honest in your application.
Nine out of ten applicants get a visa.
I don’t think we will ever completely eliminate complaints, but we have a friendly and professional team committed to supporting more, easier travel to Britain. I hope you have a great time there.