Personal Immigration

Visas for Chinese nationals - the facts

The United Kingdom is open for business and tourism and China is one of the UK's priority markets.

The UK has seen continual growth in visitor numbers from China, with the vast majority of those who apply not only getting a visa, but speaking highly of the service they receive when they do.

From 2010 to 2011 the UK saw 28 per cent growth in visit visas issued compared to France, which saw 19 per cent growth for the same period.

In 2011, the UKBA processed more than 283,000 visas from Chinese nationals worldwide.

These statistics show that visitors from China want to come to Britain and that the door is open for those legitimate visitors who wish to do so.

Key facts:

  • 94 per cent of Chinese visitors who apply for a visa get one;
  • 96 per cent of applicants surveyed who have applied for a visa said that they were satisfied with the service they received (UK Border Agency customer satisfaction surveys October – December 2012);
  • 97 per cent of non-settlement visas from Chinese nationals are processed within 15 days (and 54 per cent within 5 days). 99 per cent of business visit visas are decided within 15 days (75 per cent within 5 days).

The UKBA is committed to providing an ever improving service, listening and acting on feedback from their customers.

The UKBA has shortened application forms for tourists, simplified documents required to make an application, and started accepting photocopies of key documents. For businesses, they have set up a dedicated network of staff to support them with the visa application process.

Key facts:

  • The average length of a visa application form is 6 pages (including the disclaimer);
  • The average UK visa costs £81, which is multiple entry for 6 months to 5 years. The Schengen visa is only single entry and lasts for 3 months;
  • A visa to travel to China costs a UK citizen around £126;
  • The UKBA's website and application forms are translated into Chinese and applicants have access to a Chinese language phone and email service;
  • The UK has around twice as many visa application centres in China than Schengen (European) countries;
  • The UKBA's application system allows applicants to fill in forms and book appointments online;
  • For businesses, the UKBA has set up a dedicated network of staff to support them with the visa application process;
  • From spring this year, the UKBA will offer a service to some businesses where they will go to them to capture fingerprints of their employees travelling to the UK, to help speed up the system even further.

This article contains information that is publicly available on the website of the UKBA.

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