The British High Commission has opened a new visa application centre in Mombasa to offer services to customers in the coastal region.
British High Commissioner Nic Hailey made the announcement in Mombasa as tourism officials requested the UK government to review its rules to enable frequent business travellers to get long-term visas.
Previously, people from the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Taita-Taveta, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu had to travel to Nairobi to seek UK visas.
Mr Hailey said the new facility at Nyali in Mombasa would supplement the visa application centre already operating in Nairobi.
“The new visa centre in Mombasa will extend the range of UK visa services offered to customers across Kenya,” he said.
Mr Hailey announced the launch of the facility in Mombasa at EnglishPoint Marina on Tuesday where he also officially inaugurated the Coast chapter of the British Chamber of Commerce Kenya.
Earlier, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chairman Jimi Kariuki had appealed to the UK government to review its visa rules for Kenyan business travellers and tourism officials to get long-term visas.
“To make it more convenient for Kenyan business travellers to travel to the UK, we would wish that the UK government consider giving us long-term visas,” the KTB boss said.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho welcomed the launch of the visa application centre in the county, saying it would help UK visa seekers from across the region.
“The opening of the visa centre in Mombasa is a huge relief to travellers at the Coast as they used to incur transport and accommodation costs when travelling to Nairobi to seek UK visas,” he said.
Kenya Coast Tourism Association chairman Mohamed Hersi said the the centre is a step in the right direction as the region has a sizeable number of UK visa seekers.
He added that the centre would make it easier for tourism players in the region who want to travel to the UK to market the region to potential tourists.
“The visa centre will save us time and money as we will no longer travel to Nairobi to seek such services,” he said.
Over the years, tourism players and business travellers from the region had been lobbying the British High Commission to open a visa centre in Mombasa to cater for visa applicants from the region.