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Global Immigration Alert - United Kingdom: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The 2012 Olympic Games in London is quickly approaching and will be the biggest event the UK has hosted. Specifically, the Olympics and Paralympics will run from the end of July until mid-September 2012. During this period it is expected that Central London will have to accommodate approximately 9 million Olympic Games spectators, 2 million Paralympic Games spectators and almost 300,000 athletes and their supporters, officials and media personnel.

Travel to the UK:

Individuals traveling to the UK for this main event as spectators are strongly urged to plan ahead and make travel arrangements as soon as possible. In preparation for your travel during this eventful Summer 2012 period to London, please note the following tips:

  • Find out if you need a visa to travel to the UK. If so, apply now to avoid any interruptions in UK visa processing that may hinder your travel.
  • Be sure your passport has ample validity for your upcoming travel.
  • Upon arrival, stay in family groups and have your travel documents and passports available and ready to present to the UK immigration officers.
  • Have landing cards fully completed and ready.
  • Use automatic e-passport gates (where available, if you have a ‘chipped’ passport).
  • Use the separate EEA/EU channel if you are a national of the EU or EEA.
  • Know what you can and cannot bring when traveling to the UK. Please see: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/customs-travel/customs/.

These pointers can help the entry process move along and keep delays to the minimum.

Please also note that there will be dedicated lanes set up at the UK Border for game officials, athletes, family members of athletes, coaches and media. These lanes are not for spectators as the entry process is different.

U.S. Visa Processing at the US Embassy in London:

The U.S. Embassy in London has advised that the Summer Olympics in London will have a significant impact on U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) processing for all applicants applying for U.S visa stamps.

In preparation for the Olympics, the Embassy will begin concentrating its resources on U.S. Citizen services and has confirmed that there will be limited visa appointment availability during the months of July and August, with priority given to F and J student visa applications in advance of the fall school term. Because of this, the Embassy is encouraging all NIV applicants to apply for their visa stamps during the spring and early summer, or to wait to apply in the fall, as appointment availability cannot be guaranteed during the months of July and August.

As such, for any employee that may require a visa during this time, we would recommend that applicants plan ahead and apply early.

This immigration article is provided as general information for clients and friends of Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP. It does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. The contents of this article may be considered attorney advertising in some states.

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