The United Kingdom has announced changes in its visa issuing process with the British High Commission in Nairobi expected to serve Rwanda and Burundi applicants under the new arrangement. The new arrangement comes into force today.
The change implies that Rwandans planning to travel to the UK will no longer process their visas from the High Commission in Kigali but through UK’s new commercial partner, Teleperformance (operating as FedEx), to deliver visa services in Kigali.
The British High Commissioner to Kigali, William Gelling OBE, said the changes are aimed at providing consistent services to travellers.
Once an applicant submits their visa application to FedEx, it will be forwarded to the Decision Making Centre in Nairobi by commercial courier, where it will be considered by Entry Clearance Officers.
Decisions will then be returned to the Visa Application Centre, or directly to the applicant.
The UK Deputy High Commissioner and Consul to Rwanda, Zoe Compston said the new changes are aimed at providing travellers with better service.
A statement posted on the UK government website indicates that the visa application desk at the British High Commission in Kigali will close with effect from today March 25, while the new visa Application Centre will be located at FedEx, Blue Star House, opposite Telecom Building in Kigali.
According to the new changes, customers will now have to pay a “User Pays charge” of £59.00 (approx Rwf66,900) in addition to the visa application fee.
“We recognise that customers currently applying for UK Visas in Rwanda do not pay an additional fee at the British High Commission. The charge being implemented is solely to cover the costs of operation and the cost of the return courier service,” reads the statement.
It adds that the old policy will continue to apply for diplomatic passport holders applying for visas for official visits, who will not need to visit the Visa Application Centre in person, as they continue to be exempted from submitting biometrics, nor will they be required to pay the Visa Application fee or the User Pays charge.