Category Archives: Visa

UK extends 24-hour visa service to Pune and Bengaluru

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has announced an extension of the Super Priority Visa service (SPV) to Pune and Bengaluru, meaning that more Indians can get a visa decision in 24 hours or less. SPV is an optional service for customers in India who need to travel to the UK urgently. Pune and Bengaluru add to the three locations this service is already offered – Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. SPV applications are assessed to exactly the same high standard as all other applications but are handled by UKVI at the highest priority, with dedicated staff members processing cases at the front of the queue and an express courier service ensuring quick return to the customer. This means that the 24-hour turnaround is achievable and secure. Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes said, “I am pleased that the Super Priority Visa service is being extended to even more Indian cities, giving many more UK visa customers the opportunity to receive a visa decision in 24 hours or less if needed. India was the first country in the world to receive this service in 2013 – and is once again leading the way as two more cities – Pune and Bengaluru – receive this first class visa service. This is further proof of the strength of the UK-India relationship and of the focus by UKVI on providing a convenient, world-class experience for Indian visa applicants.” The extension of this service aims to support the UK-India Technology Partnership, which will include establishing ‘tech clusters’ in these strategically important cities.

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Oman simplifies visa-on-arrival rules to attract more Indians

The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has announced that visas will only be granted electronically, effective March 21, 2018, and there will be no more hand-processed visas at the airport. Royal Oman Police, Sultanate of Oman said, “The migration to electronic visas is due to its simplicity and effectiveness, its alignment with modern technology and is in line with the e-government project of the Sultanate. Further, it will save tourists and visitors’ time by avoiding long queues at the airport. The system has been thoroughly tested and more than 12,000 users have already benefited from it. The system is considered to be one of the safest and most confidential in the world, having achieved an ISO certification.” The e-visa application explains clearly the process of obtaining visas either individually or collectively such as obtaining a visa through a tourism company in a simplified way. Additionally, the application clarifies the visa formalities for various groups of countries. In addition, specialists at ROP are available 24 hours a day to provide support. Applicants can obtain visas via the URL- evisa.rop.gov.om, and seek assistance through the official account of eVisa system on twitter- @OmanEvisa. The new e-visa system, coinciding with the opening of the new Muscat International Airport, supports the Oman Tourism Strategy in attracting more tourists and tourism investment into the country, whereby the number of tourists to Oman in 2040 will reach over 11 million by 2040.

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Uzbekistan eases visa norms to attract more tourists

The Republic of Uzbekistan has introduced a simplified procedure for issuing tourist visas for citizens of 39 countries including India. Citizens of these countries now should not submit tourist voucher or invitation letter to receive visa. Consular offices of Uzbekistan will issue visas for citizens of these countries within two working days. Travellers from India no longer have to show LOI (letter of invitation) but simply apply for a visa at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Delhi. From July 2018 onwards, tourists can apply for visas online (E-visa) and collect it on arrival.

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Over 526,000 UK visas issued to Indian nationals

Over 526,000 UK visas were issued to Indian nationals between January and December 2017, a jump of nearly 10 per cent from 2016. According to the latest quarterly report from the UK’s Office for National Statistics, British visas issued to Indian nationals in 2017 increased sharply over the previous 12 months. The increase was driven by a surge in visitors and students with visitors increasing by 11 per cent to 427,000 and students by 28 per cent to 14,500. Indian nationals still receive more employment visas than all other nationalities combined, with 59,000 Indians choosing the UK to further their careers. Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner to India, KCMG, said, “These statistics illustrate the continuing strength of the UK and India’s relationship.  I am delighted that more Indians than ever before are choosing the UK for work, study, tourism and business travel. Particularly welcome is the 28 per cent increase in Indian students, showing that our world-class universities are again attracting more of India’s brightest young people. Our visa service for Indians is as good as any other. Almost 90 per cent of applicants are issued visa, in line with global norms. We have more visa application centres across India than we do in any other country.”

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Cyprus offers visa services in Goa through VFS Global

Residents of Goa planning a visit to Cyprus can now apply for their visas at the new VFS Global Cyprus Visa Application Centre in Panjim. The centre brings Cyprus visa services closer to home, eliminating the need for applicants from Goa to travel to a neighbouring state to submit their applications. The centre in Goa was inaugurated by His Excellency Demetrios A. Theophylactou, High Commissioner of Cyprus to India. Theophylactou said, “The Cyprus Visa Application Centre in Goa is one out of 16 VFS global centres serving Cyprus in India. The opening signifies a steady increase in visa related queries. Consequently, this centre would further expand and enhance visa services, and promote people-to-people contacts, thus contributing to our bilateral relations. The centre would work in close cooperation with the Consular Section of the High Commission to achieve the goal of timely and efficient issuance of visas.” Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer–Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global said, “VFS Global has served the Government of Cyprus in India since 2015, and the expansion of our services on their behalf to 16 cities in India is a testament of their faith in our ability to offer applicants best-in-class visa services.”

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VFS Global now accepts visa applications for Ukraine in India

Residents of India wishing to travel to Ukraine can now apply for both short and long term visas at the VFS Global Visa Application Centre in New Delhi. Ukraine was recently signed on as VFS Global’ s 57th client government worldwide, when the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and VFS Global signed a contract to provide visa services on behalf of the Eastern European nation across eight countries in the Africa region, Lebanon in the Middle East region, India in the South Asia region and China in September 2017. The contract entails the launch of 10 visa application centres across these eight countries by January 15, 2018, with the one in New Delhi being the first step toward that goal. Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, remarked,  “It is with great pride that VFS Global announces its partnership with Ukraine. It is with even greater delight that we launch the first Ukraine Visa Application Centre in New Delhi, India. Ukraine is fast becoming a popular destination for Indian travellers and we look forward to offering travel enthusiasts in the region our best in class visa application services to ease their submission process.”

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Cox & Kings opens Morocco VACs in Delhi

Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has opened a Morocco Visa Application and Information Centres (MVAIC) in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by His Excellency Mohamed Maliki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, in the presence of Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS. Maliki said, “Both Morocco and India have shared values and a history that goes back over several centuries. Foreseeing growth and significance of the Indian tourism market to Morocco, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco has decided to outsource the visa application services and entrusted CKGS to open visa application centres in India. The opening of the visa application centres in major cities in India is an important milestone which reflects the strength of the two countries’ relations as well as Morocco’s outreach to Indian travellers.” In the first phase, centres have opened in the four key metros—Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Murthi said, “We are happy to be entrusted with the role of providing visa application services by the Embassy of Morocco as this is an opportune time to tap the growing Indian outbound travel market. Our offices across 11 centres in India will seamlessly facilitate visa processing, thereby increasing the number of Indians travelling to Morocco.’’  

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UK to extend Registered Traveller Service to Indian nationals

In an effort to enhance its visa service, the United Kingdom Visa & Immigration (UKVI) has extended the Registered Traveller Service to Indian nationals – an optional membership scheme which provides expedited crossing through the UK border. Registered Travellers are entitled to use the EEA entry lanes, or if they hold an electronic passport, the ePassport gates, and won’t need to routinely fill in a landing card. There are more UK Visa Application Centres in India than any other country. UKVI will also be improving the application process during 2018, with new online forms and upgraded technology to make the experience smoother and customer-friendly. Tricia Warwick, Interim Director for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, VisitBritain, said, “We want the UK to be a ‘must-go-now’ destination for visitors from India. Making it easy to travel here is an important part of our tourism offer. With our hotels, attractions and shops, all offering great value for Indian visitors right now, it is a great time to come to Britain.” Source: ANI

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UK encourages Indian visitors to use post-dated visa

The UK has launched their annual ‘Beat the Peak’ campaign to encourage Indian visitors to make the most of UKVI’s post-dated visa offer, which allows travellers to apply three months in advance and date their visa for when they travel. Visa applicants can benefit from quieter Visa Application Centres and more available appointment slots outside of the peak period. The post-dated service allows Indian visitors to the UK to start their visa on their intended travel date. For example, those planning to travel in April can apply for their visas in January, whilst keeping the full six month validity for when they intend to travel. Launched by Dominic Asquith KCMG, British High Commissioner to India, the 2018 ‘Beat the Peak’ campaign will include a range of activities led by the UK High Commission that aim to engage with the Indian tourist market and encourage them to visit Britain and apply early for their visa to do so. Asquith KCMG, said, “In the year ending September 2017, over half a million visas were issued to Indian nationals and visit visas alone were up by 11 per cent year-on-year. Indians can now expect a quicker visa process if they apply up to three months early and beat the summer peak in April and May.”  

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Czech Republic opens first VAC in Goa

The Embassy of the Czech Republic has inaugurated the 16th  Czech Republic Visa Application Centre (VAC) in India, in Goa on January 17. HE Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in India, inaugurated the centre located in Panjim. He said, “The launch of the Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in Goa reflects the country’s genuine commitment to provide for the growing demands of visas to the country among Indian tourists, business and culture. As a result of this policy, the Czech Republic has emerged as one of the preferred European destinations for Indian tourists.” The opening of 16 visa application centres in India over a two-year period signifies VFS Global’ s strengthening association with the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, said, “Outbound traffic from India is constantly growing, and the Czech Republic in particular is rapidly gaining popularity as a preferred tourist destination among Indian travel enthusiasts. With India being a large source market for travel to Europe, the new centre will help enhance the visa services network for the Czech Republic visa applicants in the region.”

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