From 1 January 2008, those applying worldwide for visas for the UK will need to provide biometric information, in the form of digital finger-scans and photographs, as part of the application process. As a result UK visas will no longer be issued in the Falkland Islands, according to a release from the Islands' Customs and Immigration Department.
The purpose is to increase the security of UK immigration control by linking the biometric information provided in the application to the visa applicant's unique biometric identity, so as to avoid identity theft and the use of multiple identities. In order to issue these new biometric visas for the UK, complex and expensive equipment has been developed and is being installed at UK visa issuing offices around the world. For some years the Falkland Islands Customs and Immigration Department has issued visas for the UK by special arrangement. However, the very small number of UK visas issued does not make the installation of biometric UK visa issuing equipment in the Falkland Islands cost-effective. Furthermore, the extremely limited demand for UK visas here does not justify the holding of mobile UK visa-issuing clinics as in several other Overseas Territories. As a result, UK visas will no longer be issued in the Falkland Islands after 31 December 2007. From 1 January 2008, those wishing to apply for a visa for the UK will have to do so outside the Falkland Islands. The most practical option would appear to be to visit the Visa Section of the British Embassy in Santiago, Chile. UK Visa information can be sought from Santiago by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The telephone is (00) (56) (2) 370 4100 and Fax is (00) (56) (2) 370 4170). The UK visa issuing authority has also entered into a commercial partnership with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). Information services on whether a visa is required and how to apply for one can be obtained free of charge from CSC on www.visainfoservices.comThe visa issuing authority in the UK is currently considering new arrangements to deal with emergency UK visa issuing cases. Should you fall into this category, please contact the Falkland Islands Customs and Immigration Department on 27340.