UK visa priority to be given to Olympics travellers?

04 Jan 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Priority in UK visa processing at airports could be given to those involved in the 2012 Olympic Games if a new fast-track scheme is confirmed.

The vast majority of people travelling to the UK for the London Olympics later this year are due to pass through Heathrow Airport.

However, there can be significant queues at the airport even during normal operation as border control processes people from outside the European Union. With around 25,000 athletes, officials and coaches set to travel for the sports event, this could become a significant issue.

Indeed, a document from the UK Border Agency has warned that priority will be given to travellers connected to the Games, which could leave other UK visa holders delayed as the officers work to collect the new biometric data required from travellers.

In addition to the possibility of a fast-track system for those involved in the event, extra staff and UK immigration workers are due to be transferred from their normal duties to help process the large number of people passing through Heathrow.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, commented on the plans: “London 2012 will be Heathrow’s greatest challenge. Every part of the airport is working together so we can give the world’s greatest athletes the world’s greatest welcome.”