The British High Commission has opened a new visa application centre in Mombasa to offer services to customers at the Coast.
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 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 visas to travel to the UK.
Mr Hailey said the centre at Nyali in Mombasa would be an additional option to 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 visa centre in Mombasa at English Point Marina on Tuesday where he also officially inaugurated the British Chamber of Commerce, Coast chapter.
Earlier, Kenya Tourism Board 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 supported the launch of the visa application centre in the county, saying it would come handy to 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 opening of the visa centre in Mombasa was a step in the right direction as the region has a sizeable number of UK visa seekers.
The KCTA official added that the centre would make it easier for tourism players in the region to seek visas to travel to the UK for marketing.
“The visa centre will save us time and money as we would 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.