I must apologise to regular readers for the interruption in postings over the summer, due partly to my own absence from Tunis and partly to the setting up of a new platform for FCO bloggers. As is the way of new IT projects, this has taken longer than we had hoped. But it is now operational and has the new facility of enabling you to post comments. So please feel free to do so and I hope we can generate a good discussion of current policy issues.
The issue which has been preoccupying us at the embassy is the transfer to Cairo of responsibility for taking all decisions on visa applications which came into effect on 1 September. This is part of the streamlining and upgrading of visa services worldwide. Decision-making will become more consistent and costs will be kept under control. Applicants in Tunis will see little change. The procedure for submitting on-line applications and attending the embassy thereafter is not being changed. But the process will take longer – up to seven working days. It will therefore be very important that all applicants apply in good time before they wish to travel.We shall not be able to handle last minute applications or to accelerate the process in individual cases.
I congratulate them on meeting the target date for the new system, which is a key element in our change programme. I hope that all will go smoothly and we shall welcome any feedback.
I should like to take this opportunity to wish all colleagues and readers a blessed and peaceful month of prayer and reflection. Let us all, Muslims or non-Muslims, resolve to be tolerant and understanding of our differences and to devote more effort to our dialogue.