The United Kingdom on Tuesday announced that Guyanese would no longer require visas to travel to the United Kingdom from November 9.
United Kingdom High Commissioner Jane Miller made the announcement alongside President Irfaan Ali at her residence. “This visa lift is a real sign of the confidence that the UK has in the growth of our relationship and, together with the direct flight, at the end of March with British Airways, we believe that this change is going to be transformative to our already strong relationship,” she said.
She said Guyanese would no longer need visas for up to six months. However, those who would like to stay much longer, work or study would need a visa.
The UK envoy expects that the visa lift would be fillip for Guyanese businesses to “explore further opportunities”.
While Ms Miller said there would be no special security screening for Guyanese, the President urged nationals not to abuse the process but to be responsible. “Today, I am very pleased that Guyanese can travel with greater ease to the UK. However, I want to say to all Guyanese that with these waivers come an important responsibility to all of us. We have a responsibility to safeguard these decisions and they come with hard work and they take a long time and we’ll be working very closely with the UK in strengthening our systems to ensure there is proper monitoring and to ensure that there is no abuse of the system,” Dr Ali said.
He said a lot of hard work has gone into such a decision. The President said the Advanced Passenger Information System would be used to screen passengers like travellers from any other country, in addition to real time information sharing and monitoring.
With an increase in demand for Guyanese citizenship, the President said Guyana was working to ensure that Guyana’s system “is not abused.”
President Ali had raised the need for visa-free travel to the UK, as a “priority issue” in a meeting with then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He said Tuesday’s announcement “comes with very hard work too”
The High Commissioner said there would be no special security measures for Guyanese entering the UK. “There is no additional screening for Guyanese,” he said. A High Commission official added that immigration was still expected to ask the reasons for entering the UK.
A United Kingdom trade mission is due to visit Guyana in mid-November.
This story was first published by Demerara Waves