UK visa operations closed in Egypt

03 Feb 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK visa application centres have been closed in Cairo and Alexandria due to the ongoing violence and riots in the country.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) confirmed that its offices in the two Egyptian centres have been temporarily shut to "ensure the safety of customers and staff".

Egypt has been rioting over its presidency for the past week, with some sections of society to supporting Hosni Mubarak, while others are calling for him to step down. However there are fears that an abrupt end to his 30-year rule could lead to yet more violence.

In a bid to calm the situation, President Mubarak has promised to stand down at the next election in September and the vice president has also assured people that the current leader's son, Gamal Mubarak, will not stand.

But the violence has continued, with hundreds of people injured and a number dead as a result of the clashes between pro-government groups and protestors.

The UKBA warned that UK visa applications submitted in Sudan and Yemen could also be affected since some of these forms are usually processed in Cairo.

People already in the UK on a visa have also been experiencing problems, with some unable to leave the country by their UK visa expiration date due to the conflict.

However, the UKBA reassured any Egyptians or other nationalities with expired UK visas who have been unable to leave the country due to the situation in Egypt, that the agency "appreciates that this was due to exceptional circumstances".

It advised people to keep proof of their original travel plans and make arrangements to leave the country as soon as possible.