British Embassy in Lisbon to close Visa Section

The visa section of the British Embassy in Lisbon will be permanently closed to the public from March 4, with services being moved to the British Embassy in Madrid.

Although the section will close in March, the final applications for residents in Portugal who require a visa to the UK must be made by February 24.

In a statement sent to the Algarve Resident, the Embassy cites the decision to close the section as being due to “wider efforts across the British Government aimed at reducing the UK’s public deficit”.

However, the Embassy assures people that the decision will “not affect the way we provide services to British nationals in Portugal”.

The statement continues: “As part of this efficiency programme the UK is reducing the number of overseas visa posts and repatriating more visa work to the UK.”

Within Europe, these changes will take place at the British Embassies in Lisbon, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Brussels and Geneva.

For visa applicants who are unable to travel to Madrid, the UK Border Agency is currently assessing the feasibility of opening a mobile Visa Application Centre in Lisbon to be run by CSC WorldBridge, with the centre planned to be open by the end of March.

Those using the mobile centre will, however, be required to pay an additional fee to submit their applications in Lisbon rather than travelling to Madrid for the service.

If applying in Madrid for a visa, the process will remain the same as it was in Portugal.

Applicants will not need to make a second journey to Madrid as they will be offered a courier return service to their address in Portugal at a cost of €14.

It is hoped that by posting decisions to applicants that the processing time for visas will be reduced as they will not need to be returned to the British Embassy in Lisbon first.

Information about how to apply for a visa to the UK can be found by visiting www.visainfoservices.com with applicants required to select Portugal as the country that they will be travelling from.