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UK welcomes record 77,000 visitors from the UAE in Q1

UK welcomes record 77,000 visitors from the UAE in Q1

Officials say growing number of Emiratis making use of the UK’s electronic visa waiver system

A record 77,000 visitors from the United Arab Emirates visited the United Kingdom in the first quarter of the year, according to official figures from Visit Britain.

A report issued by the UK Home Office also found that a record number of UAE nationals used the UK’s electronic visa waiver (EVW) scheme in the last year.

Up to 63,000 applicants registered for EVWs in the year ending March 2016, up 39 per cent on the previous year.

The EVW scheme, introduced in 2014, allows UAE nationals to complete all the visa formalities online, 48 hours before departure. It is valid for a single entry into the UK.

Emiratis can apply for a new EVW each time they travel to the UK and there is no limit on the number of times the system can be used.

A new and improved version of the EVW system was also launched in the UAE in May 2016.

While the first version of the system relied on passengers entering their personal information from their passports, the new EVW form asks passengers to upload a copy of their passport biographic data page so that details can be checked for accuracy prior to travel.

“This means that the vast majority of input errors are picked up, significantly reducing the risk of issues when boarding or entering the UK,” a statement said.

The revised system also features questions in both English and Arabic.

EVW holders can now also amend their flight details after making their original application. Changes will need to be made at least 48 hours before both the original and new travel dates.

UK ambassador to the UAE Philip Parham said: “Record numbers of UAE nationals are visiting the UK and using our EVW system. We want everyone’s visit, from start to finish, to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. The introduction of the EVW system and its recent improvements have benefited tens of thousands of UAE nationals.

“It is also still possible to apply for multiple entry UK visas, with validity up to 10 years. Using our super priority visa service, these can be obtained on the same day as an application is submitted,” he added.

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