x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

How to apply for a visa to go to the UK

How to in the UAE: The UK is a popular destination for UAE residents but the prospect of applying for a visa can be daunting.

In Dubai, a visa office has been opened on the second floor of the Wafi Mall.
In Dubai, a visa office has been opened on the second floor of the Wafi Mall.

DUBAI // The UK is a popular destination for UAE residents but the prospect of applying for a visa can be daunting.

More than 18,000 visa applications are handled by the UK's Abu Dhabi section each month.

In Dubai, an office has been opened on the second floor of the Wafi Mall.

"The summer months are very busy but there's no quiet time for the visa section," said a spokesman for the UK Border Agency.

"It does help us and our customers if applications are made outside our busy months from April to August. UK visas can be valid for up to 10 years, so our advice would always be to apply outside our busy times."

The centre aims to process 90 per cent of non-settlement visas within three weeks and 95 per cent of settlement applications within 12 weeks.

Although in many cases visas are processed much quicker, people are advised to apply with plenty of time to spare.

"The Abu Dhabi visa section deals with applications from Pakistan and Bahrain, as well as the UAE," the spokesman said. "But we very much welcome Emirati applications and applications from those living in UAE."

Those applying are urged to make sure they have the correct documents. A new online application and payment system for UAE residents has also been extended to priority visas that can be processed within 48 hours.

nhanif@thenational.ae