UK imposes visa requirements on Salvadorans after asylum applications surge

The United Kingdom announced Wednesday that it had implemented a visa requirement for Salvadorans seeking to enter the country due to a spike in asylum applications from Salvadoran citizens.

Over the past five years an increasing number of Salvadorans have been driven to emigrate due to gang violence and poverty in their home country.

Salvadorian nationals currently make up the highest number of asylum claims in the UK out of countries whose citizens could visit without a visa. In 2021 there were 703 asylum claims made by Salvadorian nationals, a 1750% increase from the 38 claims made in 2017.

British Ambassador to El Salvador David Lelliott said in a statement “The changes announced today place El Salvador with many other countries that require visas and with which the UK has strong and friendly relations. The visas provide access to the UK, while helping to protect its borders.”

The visa requirement applies to all El Salvador nationals and has taken effect immediately. However, there is a transition period until June 8 for visitors who purchased their trip to the UK before May 11.