It's summer and the number of people wanting to travel is reaching a peak.  That's great, particularly for those of you travelling to the United Kingdom - we're looking forward to seeing you.

The fact that there are lots of people travelling means that here in Kyiv we're processing more visas than at any other time of year.  That makes it harder for us to issue visas quickly.  To help ensure we provide the best possible service, the UK Border Agency has a set of customer service standards, the most important of which is to complete 90% of routine visa applications in not more than three weeks.  UKBA even goes one step further, and publishes comprehensive information on how well each of its teams worldwide is doing in meeting those standards - a good example of open government. You can find the full details for Kyiv here (click on the drop-down menu at "Please select a location", hit "Ukraine, Kiev" - apologies for the spelling of Kyiv, which we'll try and fix - and hit "Find out").  The figures for May 2010, for example, show that in that month in Kyiv for the most popular category of visa (a general visit for six months or less) 90% of all visas were processed within 10 days and 96% within 15 days, but only 5% within 5 days.  Our team makes a big effort to process all visa applications as quickly as possible; and during less busy times of the year we are able to process most visas well within the targets.  But as the numbers of travellers rise in summer our resources are stretched.   

What this means for you, if you are living in Ukraine and need a visa to travel to the UK  for a visit, is that at all times of year, but especially in the busy summer months from May-September, you should if at all possible start the visa application process 5-10 weeks before you are due to travel.  This should allow you enough time to complete your online application form, submit your biometric data and prepare your supporting documents, and for the UK Border Agency to process your visa application.  I know that sounds a long way ahead, but it's the best way to minimise the risk of disappointment and maximise the likelihood of your visa being processed smoothly and on time.  The visa site also makes clear that you can apply up to three months ahead of your intended travel date.  

As I've blogged before, this is all difficult stuff and our hard-working visa staff in Kyiv are constantly striving to provide the best possible service.  Do help us - and help yourself - by making sure you apply in good time.

Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

NOTE:  You can read all of Ambassador Turner's blogs by visiting:

Ukrayinska Dumka


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