British High Commission
PRESS NOTICE ISSUED IN MARCH 2009:
Global Restructuring of UK Visa Service reduces the number of Visa-issuing posts world-wide by more than half, to around fifty.
Freetown, March 2009: The British High Commission is giving advance notice of administrative changes to its visa service. As before, applicants should start the application process at least 2 weeks before they plan to travel. But the British High Commission will no longer be able to arrange visas at short notice. From 6th April 2009, visa applications will be handled as follows.
Step One: Apply On-line & Make an Appointment
All applicants must make an application on-line at www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. As part of this on-line process, the applicant chooses a date and time for his/her appointment at the British High Commission in Freetown.
Step Two: Appointment at the British High Commission
All applicants must come to the British High Commission in Freetown at the set appointment time. At the appointment, the applicant
· submits his/her passports, a hard copy of the application, and originals and photocopies of supporting documents and his/her passport;
· provides fingerprints;
· pays the non-refundable fee.
The High Commission tells the applicant when to return to pick up the passport.
Step Three: Assessment of the Application
The application will be assessed by a UK Border Agency Entry Clearance Officer in Banjul, Gambia.
Step Four: Collect Decision
The applicant returns to collect their decision at the British High Commission in Freetown on the agreed date.
The British High Commission would like to reassure travellers that the British Government remains committed to improving its service to the people of Sierra Leone, and to Guinean citizens as well as others wishing to travel to the UK.
1. These changes are part of a restructuring of the UK’s global visa operation, known as "Hub & Spoke visa processing". This will reduce the number of visa-issuing posts world-wide by more than half, to around fifty. In Africa, for example, visa applications from Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe are already processed in Pretoria. Nairobi already processes applications from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania as well as Kenya. Applications submitted in Dakar are assessed in Banjul. In Europe, the Americas and Asia, visa operations have been moved from over fifty British Diplomatic Missions to regional processing centres.
2. UK visa fees are determined by the world-wide cost of processing a visa. Consolidating visa operations will help keep processing costs down, which in turn helps keep visa fees down.
3. There will be no change to the range of visa services available in Freetown. We will continue to do our very best to offer a fair, high quality visa service.
4. If an applicant needs to be interviewed, arrangements will be made for this to happen at the British High Commission in Freetown or by telephone. Interviews will be arranged as quickly as possible. Applicants will not be required to travel to Banjul for interviews.
5. In any case, we now interview visa applicants only rarely. Applications are judged by the details provided on the application form, the supporting documents and any previous UK immigration history. It is therefore essential that applicants submit full details to support their application, including e.g. evidence of funds available to cover costs of travel and living in the UK.
6. If an applicant presents a fake document, or makes a false statement, he/she will be refused a visa, and could be subject to a ten-year ban.