BRITISH VISAS

Disturbing reports from Dar es Salaam in the middle of last year told of queues of people spending all night outside the British High Commission in the hope of getting in early the next morning to obtain a visa. There were stories about the Commission issuing only a limited number of visas each day and that officials were taking bribes to allow people to enter the premises.

A High Commission spokesman told TA in November: ‘We did have some queues back in August/September, but these have now been eased by action that we have taken to unblock the logjam. One new development is that there is now a facility for online visa applications. Applying on line is by far the easiest way to apply. Applicants simply need to log-on to: www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/tanzania. On the homepage, they will find a link to online visa applications. Alternatively, they can log on directly to: www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. Full and easy to follow instructions on submitting an online visa application are provided on these sites. Online applicants then receive an e-mail giving an exact date and time when they can just walk in for their visa appointment, without having to queue.

We have been giving feedback forms to online visa applicants asking for their comments: Some of these are as follows:

“Frankly speaking to me this is the most convenient means ever experienced in Tanzania from a Diplomatic Mission, I really congratulate the initiative taken. ”
“…its a good system. Keep it up.”
” ..the online visa forms are easy to fill.”

Approximately 8,000 UK visa applications are received in Tanzania each year. About 86% of visa applicants were given the visas that they wanted over the last year. This is a better figure than the global average for successful UK visa applications which is about 81%. Over 95% of applications are processed on the day that they are received. For the month of September 2006 our records show that 38% of the documents on which we carried out checks were fake. The US Embassy in Tanzania now only takes online applications. We have no plans to move in this direction. We prefer to give applicants a choice of either applying in person or online.’

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