This morning, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and State Secretary for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification Theo Francken announced that, from 1 July 2015, Belgium and the United Kingdom propose a new visa service to Chinese citizens wanting to travel to Belgium, the wider Schengen area and the United Kingdom during the same trip.
Currently, a Chinese citizen who visits Belgium and the United Kingdom during the same trip must submit applications for two visas at two different places.
The new service offered by Belgium and the United Kingdom will allow this Chinese citizen two submit an application for these two visas online, then book an appointment in one of the three UK visa application centers (Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai), at which they will complete the process. Each country takes its visa decision independently, but the decision will be sent to one visa application center, where the Chinese applicant receives the passport with visa, generally within 10 working days after the applications.
This Belgo-British initiative allows Chinese visitors the possibility to receive two visas as part of a single process. With these visas, they can visit Belgium (which must be the main destination), other countries within the Schengen area and the UK.
A combined visit to Belgium and the United Kingdom offers many advantages to the Chinese visitors. The excellent transport connections (Eurostar trains connect Brussels and London in two hours, numerous flights, ferry boats) and the central location of Belgium in Europe guarantee easy travel over the whole continent.