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Richard Moore

FCO Political Director

Part of UK in Turkey

17th April 2014 London, UK

More than 90 % of visa applications are are successful

It’s the time of year when many Turkish travelers are planning their summer holiday. You won’t be surprised to hear that I hope many of you will choose the UK. Whether it’s for the buzz of one of the world’s great capital cities, the rich and varied history, the tolerance and diversity of its people or the magnificent scenery, I think my country has a huge amount to offer the visitor. Even the food is excellent these days!  There is something to suit all tastes, from gourmet French cordon bleu, through South Asian curries and Chinese dishes to some fine Turkish restaurants if you need the taste of home.

London telephone box

I’m also conscious that many Turks worry about our visa system and that it will frustrate their travel plans. I can assure you that this is the last thing we would want to do. We welcome visits from Turkish tourists, business people and students. People to people contact between our countries is the lifeblood of our relationship and we have seen a 23% increase in the number of UK visas issued to Turks since 2009.

Many Turkish students who go to the UK return with a huge affinity for our country. We want that to continue.

Over the next few months, my visa team in Istanbul will be working flat out to provide the best possible service to you, the Turkish public. There are an awful lot of urban myths about the UK and visas.  So here are a few facts:

  • over 90% of all visa applications by Turks are successful;
  • we aim to process all visitor, student and work applications within 15 working days;
  • Turks can now apply for a UK visa from seven different cities in Turkey: Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara, Izmir, Gaziantep, Adana and Antalya;
  • we offer a transparent service: the Home Office publishes information on how well the Turkey team is doing in meeting these standards. You can find full data for Istanbul here (go to ‘guide to processing times’ and insert ‘Turkey, Istanbul’) along with all our other application points in Turkey.

So if you are thinking of travelling to the UK this year, my message to you is please press on with your plans. And please think about applying for your visa well in advance. You can normally secure an appointment at one of our application centres within five working days.

Of course not everyone can apply well in advance, particularly those in business who often need to travel to the UK in a hurry to conclude a deal.  If so, please consider using our priority service. For an additional TL355, this allows you to have your visa application placed at the front of the queue. And, please, if you are a regular traveller consider applying for a 5 year or 10 year multiple entry visa.

We have a visa system to ensure that only bona fide visitors travel to the UK.  The UK has a real problem with illegal immigration (including from third country nationals travelling visa-free to Turkey who then move on into the EU) .  That means that we do require detailed applications supported by biometrics and documents.  And, even with a valid visa, an immigration officer will probably ask you a handful of questions at the UK border.  But we are  polite, efficient and fair.  We aim to strike the difficult balance between keeping the UK secure and giving a warm welcome to our guests.  It is not easy, and I am sure we make the occasional mistake, but I believe that we mostly succeed in that aim.

The UK in the summer is a wonderful place to be. The weather might let you down. Bu the historical attractions and our landscape won’t. Just over 98,000 Turks were issued visas to come to our shores last year to find out for themselves. I hope you will join them.

3 comments on “More than 90 % of visa applications are are successful

  1. It’s a game for UK government to scam. People out of cash and giving them false hope to get a tourist visa they don’t want ANYBODY here from non EU as a tourist. Is a discrimination policy when you show all your evidence they still deny that the evidence is accuratec

  2. After reading this blog recently I was hopeful for a Turkish friend of mine and my husband to obtain a visitor visa… how wrong was I.. The first application made was refused due to them not reviewing all the different banks statements from 3 accounts I his name. we were also sponsoring with accomdation and expenses paid. I am professional person working as an account director earning over 90K per annuum and a British Citizen. The bank account they over looked had the main funds as his savings account 2,500 GBP which had been built up over time. but they said he didn’t have enough funds. He is also in full time employment not just the summer season working as a hotel Manager which is open all year. He gave evidence of this with payslips and letter from his manager approving holiday and confirming salary and length of employment 3 years. But still the ECO stated they didn’t believe his intentions for the visit and doubted that he would return.

    We then reapplied the next day doing a priority service so in total my friend has spent nearly £1000 for applications icluding courier services and medical insurance to cover his stay to show he was only coming for a holiday. İ even spent 4 hours on video link to support my friend in doing the supporting documentation and application ensuring all points covered. This time so they didn’t miss his funds he transferred from the savings account into his main account. Both statements we highlighted to show the transaction and this was also explained in a cover letter, also he got another letter from his boss saying how much time he could have off and the date he had to return to work which was 30th December due to New year being busy. He also explained that he had to return as his father had passed away in 2012 and that he had to return due to being the carer for his mother who is elderly and his lives with. The 2nd application was refused as they said they didnt belive the addional funds that went in to his bank account were his to use, both banks accounts are in his name clearly statement main account and savings account, so how can they say this as we gave the reason for why it was transferred. Also yet again saying they didnt believe he would return at the end of the visit. He supplied other evidence the only thing he didnt put in was being a home owner as he lives with his mother. He wanted to come for 3 weeks but now he can’t and has spent money on 2 visitor applications and time travelling to visa centres. what I want to know is what does a person have to do get a visitor visa. İ believe that the evidence supplied was enough and showed ties to his country. My friend is unable to appeal or ask for a review due to NO process in place for visitor visa all he can do is reapply… where is one to go..

    No one made contact asking for verification and this time noone contacted myself as his sponsor for clarification, so it looks like the documentation and covering letter was ignored. Also not all documentation was returned even though he paid for courier service.He is now unable to reapply again due to the costs as you can imagine and there he will now miss out on coming to UK.

    So your blog gives false hope and it is far from easy obtaining a visitor visa to our country and I belive that the documentation is overlooked. I even put in my letter the reason for the invite as I wanted to reciprocate the kind hospitality he has given to me and my family when we go to turkey twice a year. He now believes that he shouldn’t reapply has the ECO will find other reasons and they just don’t want him in the countr because he is a single man age 37, which in my eyes is discrimation. I find this so sad as we are so welcomed when we go to Turkey. I would appreciate a response as to what he has to do, after 5 weeks of stress on both myself and my friend and hopes being dashed re reading you blog I believe this give false hope. I would therefore welcome a response as to what we can do and how can you prove that he will return as we have supplied everything. I look forward to hearing from you. You say we want Turkish people to come to our country so therefore I would appreciate any guidance you can give… to restore my faith in my country and our processes?

    1. Samantha Cox – I couldn’t agree with you more !! My partner’s first ever visit visa was refused last month with the only reason being due to his bank statement, which the reason they quoted for refusal was incorrect. They’ve let him resend all the docs again as it was their error & it’s now just a waiting game to see what the next outcome for the second application will be. In the meantime we had to meet in Istanbul last week – my 6th visit this year to see him & he can’t even get granted just one visit.
      Good to see Richard Moore’s post though & at least we have a name we can contact directly ?

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