Category Archives: Visa

11% growth in e-TV arrivals to India in August 2019 as compared to 2018

During the month of August 2019, a total of 1,66,424 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa, as compared to 1,50,457 during the month of August, 2018, registering a growth of 10.6%, according to statistics released by Ministry of Tourism (MOT). During January- August 2019, a total of 17,00,717 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 14,18,534 during January-August 2018, registering a growth of 19.9%.

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Belarus visa services now offered by VFS Global in India

VFS Global has commenced Belarus visa services for the residents of India through centres in five cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata. This is the first time the Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs has outsourced their visa services. The centres accept applications for tourist, business, and private visit visas across all these locations. Prior to this, customers in India had to visit the the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in New Delhi to apply for their Belarus visas. Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO – South Asia, Middle East and China, VFS Global said, “It is always exciting to commence our visa services for a new country and bring our travellers the best application experience we can offer. Footfall to Belarus has been growing in recent years, and we are looking forward to serving customers for Belarus in India.” Belarus has recorded a steady increase in the number of Indians travelling to the destination in recent years, with an average of 1,200 applications being submitted annually. H.E. Andrei Rzheussky, Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to India said, “Starting cooperation with VFS Global on visa issues in India is an important step of Belarus in tourism development strategy in South Asia region. New approach of Belarus in this cooperation is reflecting the gradual tendency of  travels facilitation between India and Belarus which is crucial for developing fruitful bilateral relations between our friendly countries.”

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VFS Global now offers Iceland visa services in India

The Embassy of Iceland, New Delhi has appointed VFS Global to process Iceland visa applications for Indian travellers. H.E. Gudmundur Arni Stefansson, Ambassador, Embassy of Iceland and Alok Singhal, Regional Head – North & East India, VFS Global signed the contract recently for this. Iceland has been gaining popularity among Indian travellers, with a growth of over 30 per cent recorded in 2017. To ensure greater access to the Iceland visa process for travellers across India, VFS Global now offers Iceland visa services at three locations in India – Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru. Prior to this, customers had to submit their applications through the Embassy of Denmark in New Delhi. VFS Global also offers its optional Premium Lounge to Iceland visa applicants, providing end-to-end personalised service throughout the visa application process. The Premium Lounge is just one of several optional services applicants can avail, including Prime Time for application submission and passport collection on weekends, and pick-up services within each city, among others. H.E. Guðmundur Árni Stefansson, Ambassador of Iceland said, “The Icelandic Embassy is looking forward to take over the visa processing services in cooperation with VFS Global and other relevant parties. The Consular section of the Embassy, under the lead of   Kristin Eva Sigurdardottir the Deputy Head of the Embassy, will do its utmost to provide the best service possible in accordance with rules and regulations.“ Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO – South Asia, Middle East and China, VFS Global said, “We are truly honoured by the Embassy of Iceland’s faith in our services, and excited to bring the visa service closer to home for residents in India. Iceland has long been gaining momentum as a destination …

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e-Visa fee reduction and GST cuts to boost tourism: Tourism Minister

Prahlad Singh Patel, State Minister (I/C), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said, “For thousands of years, India has followed the motto of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’- which means the entire world is a family and everyone is alike. We are glad to be associated with UNWTO, and we assure the support that they need from us. India is a diverse country and we are now at the 34th position in the UNWTO index. I also want to thank our Prime Minister for being our ambassador and popularising India across the world. e-Visa in tourism and GST for hotels has been rationalised. This will improve the positioning of India at the global level and will boost tourism. National Tourism Award has been presented to achievers of the tourism industry, and I believe that everyone who is a part of this industry, right from a guide, driver, tour operator, hotel executive is important and makes a huge contribution to a tourist’s experience and hence needs to be felicitated. They represent the nation and are key to change the perception of India.

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VFS Global to now offer visa services for Lithuania in India

VFS Global has rolled out Lithuania visa services in New Delhi, to cater to travellers from India visiting the European country. H.E. Julius Pranevičius, Ambassador of Lithuania to India and Giedrius Kazakevičius, Director of the Consular Department of the Lithuania Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaugurated the new Lithuania Visa Application Centre in the capital recently. VFS Global has been serving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania since 2013, with visa operations in eight countries. On 10 June 2019, the contract was extended, mandating VFS Global to serve customers in 71 countries in all, including India, owing to Lithuania’s growing popularity among travellers globally. The Visa Application Centre is equipped to accept all categories of Schengen visas for Lithuania, as well as bio-metric enrollment for the same. Customers will have access to a range of optional services available to assist with the visa application process. This includes video conferencing facilities, form filling assistance, Prime Time appointments for application submission and passport collection outside of business hours, Hold at Location enabling a change in the mode of passport return after submitting the application, and much more. Customers can also choose to apply for their visas from the Premium Lounge, and enjoy end-to-end personalised assistance throughout the visa application submission. H.E. Julius Pranevičius, Ambassador of Lithuania to India added, “The newly opened Visa Centres in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru will facilitate the process by bringing the service closer to customer, contribute to building stronger people-to-people contacts, as well as strengthening  bilateral relations between Lithuania and India through tourism, trade and culture. We are looking forward to productive cooperation between the Embassy of Lithuania and VFS Global.” Vinay Malhotra, Regional …

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Foreigners can now avail treatment without obtaining medical visa

The Union Home Ministry recently announced that foreign visitors coming to India can avail treatment anywhere in the country without procuring a medical visa. However, treatment of diseases requiring an organ transplant would be permitted only on submission of a medical visa. The ministry said in a statement that indoor treatment can be taken on primary (original) visa for pre-existing diseases, which the foreigner may have been suffering from even before his/her entry into India and for ailments that were in his/her knowledge. This decision has come in the wake of some foreigners already possessing valid visas but facing difficulties in getting medical treatment in the event of their falling sick during their stay in India. They were being advised by some medical centres or hospitals to get their visas converted into medical visas before getting admitted, the ministry statement added. The Home Ministry further stated that a foreigner who is suffering from a minor medical condition, which required only OPD consultation or treatment, would be allowed to undergo treatment at any treatment centre or hospital on his/her primary visa. “In case of indoor medical treatment of less than 180 days or up to the stay stipulation period, if any, stipulated on primary visa of a foreigner or the duration of his or her primary visa, whichever is earlier, a foreigner is permitted to take such indoor medical treatment subject to certain conditions,” the statement said. In 2018 the procedure had been revised with the central government exempting foreigners from converting their primary visa into medical visa for obtaining indoor treatment of up to 180 days for seeking admission in a hospital wing owing to illness.

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e-Conference Visa soon to be made available for private sector: Suman Billa

Suman Billa (IAS), Joint Secretary, MOT and Chairman ICPB, recently revealed at a meeting that they are taking steps to facilitate easier MICE movement. He adds, “We had already opened the e-Conference visa earlier but that was only open for events that were organised by the government and for the PSUs, so now the door has been opened for the private sector as well. It is open to all private conferences. However, if there are some listed countries, and if you have delegates from those countries you need to take special permission for them. Also, we understand that GST is high, especially if you are dealing with a price sensitive and cost competitive industry like the MICE segment.  We are also trying to get the GST reduced, hopefully we will be able to do away with the 28 per cent slab. We are also planning to have a bidding corpus, if there are conferences where you need  go out and bid for,  to help sweeten the deal with a certain amount of money we will put on the table to better the opportunity. We are thinking this should be done with a collaboration with the states on a matching basis. In the next four to five months, we should be having this ready. ” On ICPB he said, “We have been working on the idea to restructure ICPB for some time. We had commissioned this study a while ago, but we are also picking up from there. We have already changed the constitution and are bringing it in line with the recommendations of this report.”  On the same Chander Mansharamani – Vice Chairman, ICPB added , “The marketing role of …

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‘Multiple-entry e-visa’ to Malaysia suspended for Indian nationals

Multiple entry e-Visa for Malaysia will no longer be available for all Indian National applicants until further notice. As an alternative, applicants would still be able to choose Single Entry Visa (SEV) for 30 days. However, multiple entry e-Visa can  be obtained from VFS. Confirming this, an official at The High Commission of Malaysia said, “The multiple e-Visa facility has been suspended currently for the Indians. This facility will remain discontinued until further notice.”

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Free visa on arrival to Sri Lanka from August for 6 months

Sri Lanka has now included India and China in the free visa on arrival scheme to revive the country’s tourism sector which slowed down following the Easter Sunday bombings. However, visitors still have to obtain visa on arrival but the government has waived fee from 1 August. In April, Sri Lanka suspended its plans to grant visas on arrival to citizens of 39 countries after Easter bombings. The visas on arrival pilot programme was part of a larger initiative to increase tourist arrivals to the country during the six month off-season period from May to October. Originally the scheme was to come into force on May 1 but the security fears after the bombings forced it to be put on hold. Source: PTI

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VFS Global to open UK visa section in India on Saturdays for students

VFS Global is extending its business hours to include Saturdays, with an aim to provide more flexibility to student visa applicants to the United Kingdom. The new ‘Student Saturdays’ initiative is one of three special packages being rolled out for Indian students heading to the UK for further education, each featuring various additional services to provide convenient visa application process at a discounted price.  Furthermore, for the first time ever, VFS Global will offer UK student visa applicants the option of availing the popular On Demand Mobile Visa (ODMV) service for applications and biometric enrolments from home or campus.  The United Kingdom has long been one of the top choices for Indian students wanting to go overseas for higher education, with close to 20,000 students applying to universities from South Asia every year. In 2018, VFS Global processed over 19,900 student visa applications in South Asia, of which over 17,600 were from India.   With the UK academic year starting in September, the months of July and August become the peak season for student visa applications, and VFS Global aims to provide this year’s students a further enhanced visa application experience through a slew of special offers.   To provide flexibility, VFS Global will keep its UK Visa Application Centres across all 17 cities open on Saturdays throughout the season, to accept student visa applications via the ‘Student Saturdays’ package. In all, VFS Global has three carefully curated packages to choose from – Standard, Premium and Student Saturdays, each featuring a range of additional services to provide a seamless visa application experience, at a reduced price. Applicants opting for any of the packages can complete their applications from designated counters …

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