UK visa centre in Libya closed

23 Feb 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The UK visa centre in Tripoli has been closed due to the current security situation in Libya.

According to the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the decision has been taken to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

The moves comes amid a revolt in Libya, as the country's citizens are rioting to have rule Colonel Muammar Gaddafi removed from power.

Much of the east of Libya is effectively lost to protesters. But Col Gaddafi is struggling to retain control of the capital Tripoli and other areas in the west, even as senior figures have joined his opposition.

The UK has sent planes to collect British citizens as foreigners flee the violence and disruption.

The UKBA conducted a similar operation with its UK visa application centres in Cairo and Alexandria during the political unrest that recently gripped Egypt.

Then, as now, the agency reassured people with UK visas that are soon to expire, that the authorities are aware that "exceptional circumstances" are hindering many people's departure from Britain.

As such, the UKBA said that it will be lenient with those who are unable to leave ahead of the expiration date on their UK visa, but reminded them to keep proof of original travel plans as evidence of their intention to comply.