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UK launches Emirati visa campaign.

Dubai: Ahead of the Eid travel season, the British Embassy has launched a new campaign to help guide Emiratis through an electronic visa waiver (EVW) system making visa-free entry into the United Kingdom possible since January 1, 2014.

After experiencing some growing pains, the new system is running more smoothly but UK officials wanted to boost awareness of the programme.

The campaign is up and running, said British diplomatic officials, "to ensure a smooth and hassle free entrance into the UK".

Emiratis planning travel to the UK can find details of the new campaign in the British Embassies' Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts until mid-August.

Basic rules for visa entry are listed, including absolute accuracy of names and passport numbers and the electronic visa waiver must be registered 48 hours in advance of planned travel time. An estimated 50,000 Emiratis visit the UK every year.

Officials are working to avoid glitches experienced last year such as Emiratis being turned away from boarding aircraft because of clerical errors on waiver applications forms.

Last year, at least one Emirati was turned away from boarding a London-bound aircraft when the personal name details typed on the printed online waiver form did not precisely match the name on the passport.

Other Emiratis complained last year that there should be some form of confirmation from the UK government after the waiver form is submitted to confirm that the waiver application is correct and accepted in the system.

In an earlier interview with Gulf News, Nick Jariwalla, UK Visas and Immigration Regional Manager for the Middle East and Pakistan, said the key for Emiratis using the waiver system to gain up to a six-month stay in the UK is to ensure absolute accuracy.

"The Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) scheme allows UAE, Omani and Qatari passport holders to visit the UK without obtaining a visa before they travel. However, in order to be able to travel to the UK it is vital that visitors fill out the EVW accurately and that their details are correct. If travellers fail to do this at least 48 hours in advance, or do not fill the EVW in line with instructions, they will not be able to travel," Jariwalla said. "Eligible passport-holders who complete the form correctly will be considered for entry at the border in the same way as all other nationalities who do not normally require a visa to visit the UK."

He also pointed out that the waiver system isn't a sure-fire way to enter the UK.

"An EVW does not guarantee entry to the UK. The EVW scheme means that an eligible passport-holder will be considered for entry clearance at the border in the same way as other non-visa nationals. All those travelling under the EVW scheme will be subject to the same checks as other non-visa nationals at the UK border," he said.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 14, 2015
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