Pilot “UK-Belgian” Visitor Service introduced for Chinese visitors for joint UK and Schengen visa applications

22 June 2015

The Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, has announced plans to make it easier for Chinese nationals to visit the UK and the Schengen area.

With effect from 1 July 2015 onwards, Chinese visitors to the United Kingdom will be able to apply simultaneously for both UK visitor visas and Schengen short-stay visas. The pilot “UK-Belgian Visitor Service” will allow Chinese visitors to obtain a visa for Britain and the Schengen area through a single visit to one of three application hubs, which will be located in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. At the application hubs, Chinese visitors will be able to apply and pay for both UK and Belgian visas online using just one set of documents and then book a single visa appointment to complete the process.

Under Schengen visa regime, successful Belgian visa applicants are able to travel freely within the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any 180 day period. The full list of Schengen area member states can be found by clicking here

UK visitor visas permit travel to the UK for up to six months for a temporary purpose. Visitors cannot work or study in the UK, unless this is allowed by the permitted activities that are set out in Appendix V of the UK Immigration Rules.

For further details on how to take advantage of this pilot scheme, please contact a member of our immigration team.

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