On 23rd May the UK government introduced a new version of the electronic visa waiver (EVW) for passport holders from Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates travelling to the UK.
The original EVW scheme was introduced in early 2014, allowing passport holders from Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirate
s to travel to the UK for a visit of up to 6 months by completing an online form at least 48 hours before departure. The scheme removed the need to give biometrics, attend a visa application centre or hand in passports in advance of travel.
Unlike the original version of EVW, which relied on passengers entering their personal information exactly as it appears on their passport, the new EVW form additionally asks passengers to upload a copy of their passport biographic data page so that details can be checked for accuracy before they travel. This has already been introduced for passport holders of Kuwait.
The new EVW also features a simpler set of questions in both English and Arabic, making it easier for users to understand the process.
To cover the costs of developing and running the new system, an administrative fee of £15 has been introduced, which is significantly lower than the cost of a UK visit visa.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said: “Since the introduction of the scheme in 2014, tens of thousands of travellers have benefited from using an electronic visa waiver to come to the UK, which reflects the growing importance of our relationship with the region. The new EVW is quicker and easier to complete, while remaining secure. We know that visitor numbers from Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are continuing to rise, and we look forward to welcoming more travellers to the UK for business and tourism.”