News
July 27, 2007
Biometrics to add security to UK visas

The British Government is introducing biometric data collection as part of a world-wide biometric identification process, designed to protect an individual’s identity, facilitate future entry to the UK, combat visa fraud and abuse of the UK’s immigration and asylum systems.{{more}}

With effect from July 19 all applicants for a UK visa, irrespective of nationality, will have to provide ten fingerscans and a digital photograph at the British High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The requirement for UK visas has not changed. Vincentian passport holders travelling to the UK for any period of more than six months are required to obtain a visa in advance of travel. Vincentian passport holders travelling for less than six months do not normally require a visa, but must be prepared to satisfy the Immigration Officer in the United Kingdom of their intentions on arrival. Nationals of other countries should check whether they need a visa by using the “Do I need a visa” questionnaire on the UK Visas website www.ukvisas.gov.uk.

Visa applications should be made online at www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. After lodging their application, applicants should make an online appointment (www.visaappointments.fco.gov.uk) to attend the British High Commission in Bridgetown to provide biometric data in support of their application.

All visa applications will continue to be processed at the British High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Unless otherwise advised, all visa applicants must provide their biometric data. The visa application cannot be processed if an applicant refuses, or cannot provide, acceptable biometric data.

Fingerscans will be collected from each applicant by using an electronic scanner. No ink, liquid or chemical will be used. A digital photograph will be taken at the same time and the whole procedure should take no more than five minutes to complete.

Applicants will have to ensure that their fingertips are free from any forms of decoration (henna, for example), abrasions or other markings, and that any facial cuts and bruises have healed or disappeared prior to providing their biometric data as these may affect their ability to provide acceptable fingerscans and photographs. Digital photographs cannot be taken with applicants wearing head coverings that hide the face, dark glasses, face or neck coverings.

Non-Resident British Commissioner Sandra Tyler-Haywood said, “The collection of biometric data from all UK visa applicants is an integral part of the British Government’s Five-Year Asylum and Immigration Strategy, published in February 2005. We are committed to ensuring the integrity of our visa process. By fixing a person’s identity, the Biometrics Programme will both secure that identity to assist in preventing identity fraud and help strengthen control of our borders.”