Britain’s top diplomat to the Philippines dispelled misconceptions Wednesday that it is difficult for Filipinos to get a visa to the United Kingdom, saying nearly 90 percent of applications are “successful.”
British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said only less than eight percent of applications in the Philippines are denied mostly because visa seekers fail to provide the required documents or they declare false information.
“I think the biggest misconception here in the Philippines is that our criteria is so strict that most people are disqualified,” Ahmad told reporters in a briefing. “You’re talking about a small portion or seven or eight percent of applications that don’t meet the criteria.”
As of September 2014, Ahmad said over 53,000 UK visa were issued to Filipino nationals.
“The total number of visit visas granted rose sharply to almost 32,000 including a 62 percent rise in tourist visas and an 8 percent rise in business visits,” he said.
The British diplomat advised Filipinos to be clear about the purpose of their visit and to submit correct documents to support their application.
“The best way to deal with that is to simply apply on a factual basis,” he said. “The truth often is the best advocate rather than trying to pretend what you think is the answer we are looking for.”
“If you are visiting family, say so. If you’re visiting as a tourist, say so. If you think you will do a little business on the side say so. We don’t mind as long as you are upfront and straightforward.”
The growth in visitors from the Philippines, Ahmad said, demonstrates the strong interest of Filipinos to explore the UK for tourism, education and business.
Britain’s active tourism campaign showcasing UK as a destination that offers a diverse range of attractions from historical sites to modern architectural designs, world class universities and inspiring commercial enterprises also contributed to the increase of Filipino visitors, he said.