The government's new online Visa application service has passed its Digital by Default Service Standard assessment and is ready to go live. In public beta since June last year, the service makes it easier for people in China to apply for a Visa to visit the UK for a limited time.
Here's a short film we've made about the service:
This service is a great example of our fourth design principle: do the hard work to make it simple.
The team at Home Office has done the hard work; user research, translating the application form into simplified Chinese, and improving the service every week based on comments received. Customers are finding the service simple to use, and providing positive feedback.
This improved service should help boost the UK economy by encouraging tourists from China to come here instead of going somewhere else.
The good work being done by this team is part of a wider initiative to provide the technology and information to support the immigration service now and in the future.
Here's the service link: Apply for a UK visa - mainland China only
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Visas: a simpler way to apply for a Visa to visit the UK
Sam Worby Policy Lead, Visas Service, Home Office
The visa service lets you apply for visit visas, overseas, in China, and it’s a new service that’s much easier for applicants than the ones we’ve had before.
Rob Hettrick, Technical Architect, Visas Service, Home Office
The new service is better than the old digital service because it allows people to complete their form more speedily, more accurately. It asks them less questions.
Milan Bogunovic, Service Manager, Visas Service, Home Office
Why is this better? It’s because it is shorter, it takes less time to fill it out, you don’t have to create an account at the beginning, but you can also return to your application when you want.
Nell Mathams, User Researcher, Visas Service, Home Office
For people in China who speak moderate English or no English at all, we’ve produced a lot of help and guidance along the way and we’ve translated each question.
Right at the end of the journey, there's a declaration section, and that declaration section was a bit of standard text. It was about 700 words, and it's now been rationalised down to about 70.
The typical transaction time we've got for the user is around 20 minutes.
One of the applicants said, “This is far better to use than Visa4UK. They took me two and a half days to do it there, only took me 30 minutes to do it on the application service.”
China is a massive growth area for the UK. By having a simple way for people who have applied for visas, more tourists will come to the UK and, ultimately, it benefits the UK PLC as a whole.