As many as 3,500 Indians are applying for a United Kingdom (UK) visa daily in the run up to the 12th edition of ICC World Cup 2019 scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales from May 30 to July 14 2019. The surge in visa applications is higher than usual, according to the British High Commission (BHC).
The BHC is also anticipating 80,000 Indians to travel to the UK during summer. This is more than the regular traffic to the country basis the past India-UK travel trends as well as the number of Indians touring for previous games.
The High Commission also said that it is "extremely likely" that India will report the highest number of people travelling to the UK for the ICC World Cup 2019 considering the "size of the market, passion for the sport in India, and the flight connections between India and the UK," according to a report in The Hindu.
A BHC spokesperson told the news daily that besides the seasonal increase in travel to the UK during the peak summertime, the demand for visas is "even higher due to the cricket this year." The peak travel season (April to July) generally witnesses 100%-150% visa requests which is higher than the off-peak season (November to January) demand.
"Our visa services partner (VFS Global) processed over 200,000 visa applications in India during January to April 2019. In March and April of 2019 alone, over 1,32,000 visa applications were submitted at VFS Global, which accounted for around 65% of the overall U.K. visa application count from January to April 2019," the spokesperson said.
More Indians are being targeted through campaigns running since February to travel to the UK for the ICC World Cup 2019 matches. Whereas, the second leg of the same will focus on the people who book late by encouraging them to go for the 'priority visa' option. The applicants who go for this option get to learn about their application status within five days instead of 15.
There are other alternatives too which have been introduced particularly for the UK, for instance, a 'self-upload option' which facilitates the uploading of documents digitally and a 'keep my passport when applying' option, allowing applicants to keep their passports as the UK Visas and Immigration considers their applications.