Problems over visas have been a significant obstacle to normal contact between Britain and Libya. Since the British Embassy was burnt out last year Libyans have usually had to travel to Tunis to get a British visa.
So it is good news that the UK announced today the re-opening of a full visa service in Libya, after the service closed in February 2011. Libyans are now able to apply for their UK visa at the Visa Application Centre in Tripoli. From today they will be able to apply for the full range of visas – including for business, education, family visits or tourism. Libyans who wish to transit at a UK airport need to apply for a Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV), unless they are travelling to or from the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
Welcoming this the British Minister for North Africa Alistair Burt said this would further enhance the growing relationship between our two countries and promote stronger political, economic and cultural ties.
The visa problem has been one of the reasons why British Airways and BMI have been slower than other European carriers to resume flights to Libya, so it is significant that the Minister added “Better transportation is an important driver of this, and I look forward to the resumption of direct flights between the UK and Libyan as soon as possible.”
By Oliver Miles, Director, MEC International Ltd. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Libya Business News.