A new centre has been opened in Saudi Arabia to improve the processing of the rising number of Saudi applications for UK visas.
More than 100,000 Saudis visit the UK every year and the number has jumped by around 20 per cent in recent years, according to British Ambassador Sir John Jenkins. He said that almost half of that number was from the west of country, with the majority of applications from students seeking visas to study in the UK or tourists who want to take a holiday in Britain.
The new visa centre in Jeddah will handle applications from people in the west of the kingdom, who Sir John described as “our highly valued Saudi customers”. He said that the UK is becoming increasingly popular with Saudi visitors for business and leisure purposes.
The British Embassy said that around 16,000 to 20,000 Saudi students apply for UK visas to study at British universities each year. They face the same application process whether they are studying on a scholarship programme or their education is privately funded.
Different visa requirements exist for males guardians applying to accompany female Saudi students studying in the UK. Those applying to accompany female students who plan to study long-term in the UK need a dependent visa. Male chaperones of women on six-month study trips have to apply for visit visas to cover the period, Al Arabiya News reported.
British Embassy spokesman Steven Dick said there were no plans to change the current requirements for those applying to study in the UK or to accompany female students.