eSSL Biometric Secuwatch

August 12, 2008

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September 15, 2007

UK Requires Compulsory Fingerprints from Visa Applicants

BANGALORE: Every person seeking to enter the UK from countries outside the European Union, including India, will be fingerprinted prior to being issued a visa, if a proposed law that aims to tighten UK’s borders is passed by British MPs.

A Bill stipulating this and other immigration reforms — the UK Border Bill — is pending before the British Parliament and there’s an urgency now to clear it after the botched terror strikes in London and Glasgow involving foreign nationals.

When it’s in place, the fingerprint of anyone seeking to enter the UK — for work or as a tourist — will be scanned at visa issuing offices and put through criminal/terrorist databases, before clearance.

“UK has introduced biometric fingerprinting as identification in passports to make immigration at entry points easy. Now, plans are to extend it to those applying for visas,” sources said. But there is a silver lining: There has been no knee-jerk reaction or official slowdown on Indian citizens getting UK visas, so far.

Despite UK PM Gordon Brown’s statements over background checks, a British high commission source said: “No changes have been brought in following the recent events in the UK.” On average, 700 to 1,000 visa applications from India are being processed and cleared every day.

Sources said if the applicant has the specified documents outlining purpose of travel, financial position of the person/sponsor and so on, there is no need for even a personal interview for visa. In most cases, if documents are in order, the visa is issued.


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