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Thursday , March 20 , 2014
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UK visa hub, now in Kasba

Scott Furssedonn-Wood (left), the British deputy high commissioner for eastern India, inaugurates the visa application centre in Rajdanga, Kasba, on Wednesday. Picture by Sanat Kr. Sinha

A smart UK visa application centre was unveiled in Kasba on Wednesday morning. The visa application centre on Royd Street has been closed. Here’s a guide to the new hub, inaugurated by the British deputy high commissioner for eastern India, Scott Furssedonn-Wood.

Where: Rene Tower, 5th Floor, Plot No. AA-I, Rajdanga Main Road, Kasba

Landmark: It is the same building on the Kasba connector to the EM Bypass that houses a KFC outlet.

What’s new: The Kasba centre is spacious. It has eight counters and the seating capacity has been increased by 25 per cent. There is also a premium lounge for priority visa applicants.

The centre does not have any cash counter as fees have to be paid online when a visa application date is booked. Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards are accepted for online payment.

Coming up: The UK visa application centre plans to offer a “passport passback” service for those who want to apply for visas of more than one country at a time. The service, which has been piloted in Chennai, allows the applicant to hold on to his passport till a decision is taken on his visa application. The applicant will have to hand over the passport later to get the visa. “Many applicants who want to apply for a Schengen visa or for a US visa during the same time period when they are applying for a UK visa can hold on to their passports,” said Ronnie Pattison, operations manager for North India, Nepal and Bhutan, UK Visas & Immigration.

Some common UK visa myths refuted:

-       UK Visa is hard to get and they don’t issue many visas — “Wrong. On the contrary, nine out of ten Indians who apply for a UK visa get one. We issue more visas to Indians than to any other nationality in the world: over 400,000 in 2013,” said Furssedonn-Wood.

-       It takes weeks to get a UK visa — “It takes on average only eight working days from the time an Indian applicant applies for a UK visa until we issue it. We have faster services available for those in a rush,” said Furssedonn-Wood.

-       The UK overcharges its visa — “A UK visit visa costs £80. A US visit visa costs around £100. A visa for France or Germany does cost a bit less than for the UK, about £60. But for that price you only get a single entry visa valid for three months. A UK visit visa is multiple entry and valid for six months,” said Furssedonn-Wood.

-       There are limits to the number of student visas — “We have set no limit on the numbers of Indian students who can come to Britain. If you have a place at a UK university and speak decent English, you will get your visa,” said Furssedonn-Wood.

-       You will not get a visa if it is refused once — “We give very clear reasons why a visa was refused. If you can address those issues there is no reason why you cannot reapply. The reapplication will be dealt with as a fresh application. We encourage people to reapply,” said Pattison.