16 May 2022 12:41

British diplomats explain visa delays with prioritizing applications from Ukrainian refugees

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) - The British visa and immigration service is still processing applications for all types of visas yet the priority is given to applications filed within the program of assistance to families in Ukraine, given the humanitarian situation in that country, the British embassy in Moscow said on Monday.

"The British visa and immigration service continues to process applications for all types of visas," the embassy said on Telegram.

"The British visa and immigration service prioritizes applications filed under Ukraine Family Scheme in response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine," it said.

"As a result, applications for standard, transit, study, work and family visas are being processed longer than usual in all countries. We are working to cut the delays but recommend filing visa applications in advance and not booking tickets and hotel rooms until the visa is issued," the embassy said, adding, "Fast-track visa application processing has been suspended worldwide since March 2022."

Late last week the Russian Foreign Ministry recommended that Russians do not travel to the United Kingdom and abstain from filing British visa applications.

The ministry said it had been receiving numerous complaints from Russian citizens about the practical impossibility of receiving British visas.

It described as unacceptable the embassy explanations that the British visa service prioritizes the processing of visa applications from Ukrainian refugees, which causes delays in the processing of applications from Russia.

"The mandatory cashless payment of a consular fee payable upon filling out the e-questionnaire also adds to the problem. The anti-Russian sanctions imposed by London prevent payment from being done by means of Visa and MasterCard cards issued by Russian banks, considering that the payment must be made on a British website. We have made it clear to the Britons that this kind of attitude coming from London aimed at average citizens of our country contravenes every earlier consular agreement between Russia and the UK," the ministry said

The British embassy said that Visa and Mastercard suspended support to cards issued by Russian banks, and it was no longer possible to use them for payments.

"This is not a decision of the British government," the embassy said.