The United Kingdom announced on Wednesday that it will require entry visas from El Salvador due to the increase in the past five years of asylum applications from citizens of the Central American country upon arrival in its territory.
“With immediate effect, all Salvadorans will require a visa before traveling to the UK, including for a visit,” the British Embassy in San Salvador said in a statement.
The UK did not require a visa for Salvadorans traveling for short periods for tourism, work or academic study, among other short-term reasons.
The decision to impose the visa regime “was taken because of the continuous and significant increase over the past five years in the number of Salvadorans who do not intend to make a short visit, but rather to apply for asylum upon arrival in the United Kingdom.” , added the diplomatic headquarters.
The embassy noted that Salvadorans are already “obligated” to obtain a visa for purposes other than a visit, including work.
According to figures disclosed by the embassy, before 2017, the UK received “less than 40” asylum applications per year from Salvadorans, but in 2021 this number increased to 703.
This makes El Salvador the source of more asylum applications in 2021 than any other country whose citizens can visit the UK without a visa.
The United Kingdom clarified that although the imposition of a visitor visa would become effective immediately, there would be a four-week “transition period” ending on Wednesday 8 June, which would enable an issuance center in San Salvador.
During this period, Salvadorans who bought a ticket before 3:00pm GMT on Wednesday, when visa requirements come into effect, will be able to enter the UK without the document.
“The changes announced today place El Salvador with many other visa-requiring countries with which the UK has strong and friendly relations. Visas allow access to the UK, while helping to protect its borders,” the statement said. British Ambassador to San Salvador, David Lilliot.
Ob / fma / gm