Belgium and UK launch single common visa scheme in China
24.6.2015 - Jeffrey Wouters
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Jan Jambon announced a new single common visa scheme put in place in China by the Belgian and British governments. It will further streamline visa application processes for Chinese visitors wanting to travel to Belgium, the wider Schengen area and the United Kingdom.
Under the new Belgian-UK Visitor Service, Chinese customers will be able to submit applications for both a Belgian (Schengen) and UK visa during a single visit to a UK visa application centre (VAC). The scheme is designed to provide the best possible service to Chinese visitors who plan to visit Belgium as their main destination, other countries within the Schengen area and the UK as part of the same trip. Chinese customers will benefit from the convenience of applying for two visas as part of a single process. Under Schengen visa rules, successful Belgian visa applicants can also travel freely within any of the 25 other member countries. The new process will be rolled out as a pilot at the UK's Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai VACs and will be available from 1 July.
This initiative allows the customer to apply and pay for their Belgian and UK visa applications online, then book a single UK VAC appointment at which they will complete the process. The applications will then be couriered to the UK decision making centre before being sent to the Belgian decision making centre. This allows two independent visa decisions to be made by two sovereign states in quick succession. Belgium and the UK will aim to make both decisions within 10 working days.
Source: Embassy of Belgium