By Sami Zaptia.
London, 4 November 2016:
The British authorities announced yesterday that Libyans applying for a British visa in Tunis can now retain their passports until they receive a decision.
British ambassador Peter Millett tweeted the news saying ‘‘Big improvement in visa service in Tunis for applicant from Libya. Passports can now be returned pending decision’’.
Previously, as is the case with many other visa application processes in other embassies, passports are retained until the application process is complete and a final decision is reached. This can mean a wait of 12-14 days.
This means that the beleaguered Libyan applicants who have to travel to Tunis to apply for most visas have to fork out more money for accommodation and board while they await a final decision on their visa applications.
Because they do not have their passports, Libyans did not use to have the option to either return home for the two weeks or travel elsewhere in the meanwhile.
It will be recalled that all embassies in Tripoli closed down and vacated Libya after the militia-GNC coup against the elected parliament and its government in the summer of 2014. Consequently, Libyans have to travel to Tunis to apply for visas.
However, there is a charge by the British visa processing centre in Tunis of £42 for applicants for the privilege of being able to keep your passport.