Category Archives: Visa

Qatar offers visa-free entry to Indians

Citizens of 80 countries including India can now enter Qatar visa-free. Besides Indians, travellers from the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa, Seychelles, Australia and New Zealand will be able to enter Qatar visa-free. “Citizens of these 80 countries wishing to visit Qatar will not need to apply or pay for a visa,” Qatari officials announced in a release said. “A multi-entry waiver will be issued free-of-charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket,” the release added. “Depending on the nationality of the visitor, the waiver will either be valid for 180 days, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar (multiple-entry); or it will be valid for 30 days and entitle the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar (multiple-entry) with the possibility of applying for an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days,” it said. Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority said: “With 80 nationalities eligible for a free visa waiver upon arrival, Qatar is now the most open country in the region and we are delighted to invite visitors to discover our renowned hospitality, cultural heritage and natural treasures.” In November 2016, Qatar introduced a free transit visa, which allows passengers of all nationalities transiting in Qatar for a minimum of five hours to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours (four days). In May 2017, QTA and Qatar Airways launched +Qatar, a package which includes a free night’s stay in a 5- or 4- star hotel in Doha, alongside a complimentary transit visa. (Source: Economic …

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45% growth in medical tourism to India

According to data provided by Ministry of Home Affairs, the number of medical visas issued by India in 2016 rose by 45 per cent over 2015. India issued more than 1.78 lakh medical visas in 2016, including for follow up treatment, as against 1.22 lakh in 2015, according to the data. A Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report titled “India Services Sector—A Multi-trillion Dollar Opportunity for Global Symbiotic Growth 2017” stated that the presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals has strengthened India’s position as a preferred destination for medical tourism. Treatment for major surgeries in India costs only a fraction—in some cases as low as 10 per cent of that in developed countries. “Majority of the patients coming to India for treatment are from the Middle East, Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. India’s cost advantage will significantly open doors to the US and Europe over future, due to lower cost than the US and almost half that of Europe.” Dental tourism accounts for 10 per cent of the medical tourism and the government is keen to promote it. “India provides competitive cost advantage at one tenth of the cost of the US and Europe. By 2020, medical tourism industry of India is expected to touch $8 billion,” the report said. Source: Livemint

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Czech Republic begins visa application operations in Gurugram

In a move that will ease the visa application process for potential travellers from the surrounding regions of Delhi/NCR, the Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global have opened a Visa Application Centre in Gurugram. Earlier this month, visa applications centres were also opened for the Czech Republic in Chandigarh and Jalandhar. H.E. Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, said, “The Gurugram centre marks the launch of another important location within Delhi and NCR where people can submit their Schengen visa applications for travel to the Czech Republic via VFS Global. We thus continue to deliver on our promises. This is not the end of our endeavours, as we will soon announce the opening of additional Czech Visa Applications Centres in the market.” Commenting on the new VAC in Gurugram, Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, said, “It is our privilege to be the trusted partner of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in India. The extension of our association with this esteemed client across the region reflects their faith in our ability to provide services to enhance the visa application experience for travellers. In view of the increase in travel to the Czech Republic, we are confident our efforts will make the travel experience seamless and smooth.”

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Czech Republic inaugurates VFS centre in Chandigarh, Jalandhar

The Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global inaugurated the 15th and 16th Czech Republic Visa Application Centres in Chandigarh and Jalandhar respectively, significantly extending the network of visa application facilities in the north of India. The centre in Chandigarh was inaugurated by HE Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in India, at a ceremony held on 05 July 2017. At the launch, HE Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, said, “The launch of the Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in Chandigarh 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. Commenting on the launch of the visa centres, 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 North India being a large source market for travel to Europe, the new centres will help enhance the visa services network for the Czech Republic visa applicants in the region.” VFS Global also operates as the official representative of the Czech Tourist Authority – Czech Tourism, in India since November 2016. Besides Chandigarh and Jalandhar, other cities where applicants can submit visa applications for the Czech Republic are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, …

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Indian visa to cost 50% more

The Indian government has reportedly increased the visa fee in different categories for nationals from the US, the UK, Canada, Israel, Iran and UAE. As per a government notification, a tourist visa up to one year will now cost $153 from the earlier $100. The tourist visa for over a year and up to five years will cost $306 instead of $120. Mainly affecting foreigners who work in the country, the move comes about as a reciprocal measure, since countries like the US, New Zealand and Australia have planned or already implemented such processes. However, UK nationals, who used to cough up $162 for a tourist visa up to a year, will now pay $248. And for a five year tourist visa, they will pay $741 instead of $484. For the employment visa, nationals from Canada, Ireland, France, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand will now pay $459 instead of $300 for a visa spanning over a year and up to five years. Israelis continue to cough up the most for a short-term visa. They will now pay $1,714 instead of $1,120.

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VFS opens Germany VAC in Bengaluru

The new Germany Visa Application Centre was formally inaugurated in Langford Town by representatives from the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bengaluru. Margit Hellwig-Bötte, Consul General of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bengaluru, and Jürgen Pengel, Consul and Head of the Consular Department of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bengaluru, inaugurated the centre on June 23. Services at the spacious new facility, which moved from its earlier location in Shivaji Nagar, commenced in March this year. The centre is located at No. 11, First Floor, Global Tech Park, O’ Shaughnessy Road, Langford Town and houses visa operations of 31 diplomatic missions (including Germany) under one roof. With more counters for applicants and expansive waiting and registration areas, the new centre has a larger Premium Lounge for applicants looking for more personalised assistance. An ATM has also been installed within the premises for the convenience of all applicants. Germany visa applicants can avail of separate submission counters, biometric booths, and dedicated services in the Premium Lounge. They can make payments by credit and debit card (in addition to cash payments) at this centre.

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Peru exempts visa for short-stay visitors from India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Peru, has decided to exempt the requirement of business and tourist visas to certain Indian citizens whose duration of stay is up to 180 days as maximum, whether continuous stay or various visits during the period of one year. The stay will be determined in the port of entry by the Immigration Officers. These rules have been effective since March 27, 2017. Others who are also exempted from visa include holders of valid visa of USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen countries, with a validity of at least six months (excluding transit visas), and those who are permanent residents, accredited with the document of permit (Green Card) in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen space countries.

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Australia announces online visa application for Indians from July 1, 2017

The Australian High Commission and Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection have announced that all Indian nationals will be able to lodge visitor visa applications for Australia online from July 1, 2017. The Acting Australian High Commissioner to India, Chris Elstoft, said eligible Indian nationals can now apply online for a visitor visa through the Department’s ImmiAccount portal. Online application offers benefits such as 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online. With the applicant’s permission, the online form can be completed by a third party such as a family member here or in Australia, a travel agent, or its contracted visa application centre, VFS. “Processing times for these visas will now be faster, as both applications and supporting documentation are immediately available to the processing office. This is good news for every Indian visitor to Australia, whether they are travelling for business or pleasure,” Elstoft said. Being able to check the status of an application online, as soon as it is finalised, will allow Indian applicants to finalise their travel arrangements as soon as possible. “With the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination, there has been a significant rise in demand for Australian visas in India. There were more than 265,000 Indian visitor arrivals from July-Mar 2017, an increase of 15.4 per cent compared to the same period last year,” he adds.

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VFS alerts agents of visa, immigration fraud

VFS Global has urged travel agents to be aware of fake visa and immigration scam by fraudsters posing as VFS employees. In recent months, VFS Global that partners with 52 client governments worldwide to provide visa services has been faced with a vexing problem. A small but significant number of people who have applied for visas to various countries have been getting calls from fraudsters posing as company employees, giving them false promises of job or immigration prospects abroad. Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, reveals, “There have been instances when the initial phone call supposedly from VFS Global would be followed up by official-looking employment offer letters and other documents, sent by email. In acceptance of the job or immigration offer, the visa applicants would be asked to deposit huge sums of money to a bank account, details of which could be found in the letter.” Investigations into the matter have pointed to misuse of technology, where fraudsters zero in on easy victims. Unfortunately, some unsuspecting visa applicants, raring to start life anew in a foreign locale, have readily parted with the amount. With an increase in the number of instances of such fraudulent operations taking place, misusing the name of VFS Global, the company has begun to take proactive measures to warn applicants of this menace. Malhotra says, “Through our call centres, SMS alerts, website updates, emails etc, we are sending out messages that no personnel or representative from VFS Global is authorised to guarantee a job or immigration to applicants in any of the client countries. Also, VFS Global has categorically stated that applicants should not make upfront payments and refrain from …

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VFS Global launches Georgia Visa Application Centres in 5 cities in India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, represented by Embassy of Georgia in New Delhi launched its visa facilitation centre in the capital city in collaboration with VFS Global, which will be operational from June 23. Four other centres in Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai will begin operations by the end of this month. The key features of the centre include extended operating hours to enable visitors to submit applications at their time of convenience, dedicated website for easy access to information including visa categories, requirements, checklist, application fees and visa status update; premium lounges for personalised service, etc. The new centre in New Delhi was inaugurated by Giorgi Tabatadze, Director of Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and His Excellency Archil Dzuliashvili, Ambassador of Georgia to India. Dzuliashvili informed that in 2016 Georgia recorded 350,000 Indian visitors but is now looking at ways to increase the two-way traffic given the long standing history that the countries have shared. “I am happy to note that after several months of intensive consultations, we have successfully accomplished negotiation process with VFS Global and finally signed the contract which allows us to facilitate and offer more accessible services to the Indian travellers through the several VFS Visa Application Centres in India,” said Dzuliashvili. He further added that Georgia is emerging as a very popular destination amongst Indians and the country will try to reduce the turn over time for granting visas to Indian nationals for tourism, business and education. The destination is promoting tourism from Georgia to India as well. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operation Officer-Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global commented, “We are honoured to enter into this partnership with …

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