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* UK announces new passport pass-back service for Sri Lanka
Thu, Aug 7, 2014, 07:32 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 07, Colombo: The British High Commission in Colombo today announced the launch of a passport pass-back service for Sri Lanka.

The service will be available for UK visa applicants applying at the visa application center in Colombo from 11 August, 2014, the High Commission release said.

Applicants who have already lodged an application before 11th August will not be able to retrospectively access this service.

Passport pass-back is an optional user-pay service that enables customers to retain their passport for the majority of the application processing period. Such an option will be useful for frequent travelers, particularly business visitors, holiday-makers planning tours around multiple countries, and settlement applicants.

The cost to applicants will be additional Rs. 9,400 (at current exchange rates); payable at the point they submit their application at the Visa Application Centre in Colombo. This is the first time such an option has been available to Sri Lankan travelers.

Customers applying for visit, employment or student visas will need to submit their passports within 10 working days of applying for their visa. Those customers applying under the settlement route will need to submit their passports within 4 weeks of notification.

This new service will not be available to applicants who want to apply under the UKs Priority Visa service or Business Express Program.

"The passport pass-back service will be welcomed by frequent travelers from Sri Lanka. This will help travelers to plan their itineraries and obtain other visas in a more efficient way. I am pleased that UK Visas have launched this traveler-friendly service in Sri Lanka, giving local travelers the opportunity to enjoy the same facilities as their other South Asian counterparts," John Rankin, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said.

"Following our continuous efforts of delivering better customer services, I am delighted that the passport pass-back service is now available in Sri Lanka. While we remain committed to offering the fastest possible delivery time, this service is being offered to enable our customers to have more flexibility when applying for their visa to the UK. This service will benefit some of our key business visitors and tourism customers," Thomas Greig, Regional Director Central Asia, South Asia and Turkey, UK Visas and Immigration said.

"We will continue to listen and respond to the needs of high-value Sri Lankan customers so that we can provide them with a service that supports economic growth, while at the same time maintain the security of our borders."

Further information about the fees, eligibility criteria and how to schedule an appointment are available at www.vfs-uk-sl.com (additional services).

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