Category Archives: Visa

Turkey appoints VFS as visa service provider

Starting April 1, 2016, VFS visa application centres for Turkey will be launched in 16 Indian cities along with two more centres in Kathmandu, Nepal and Male, Maldives, to make the visa procedure even faster and smoother, announced H.E. Dr Burak Akçapar, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to India, Nepal and Maldives. He said, “The opening of these visa centres is a very important step in India taking its rightful place in the tourism world. I believe that the launch of these visa centres will contribute to the enhancement of the cooperation between Turkey and India in the fields of tourism and economy.” As an exclusive partnership, VFS Global has become the only authorised visa processing service provider in these three countries for the Govt of the Republic of Turkey. Vinay Malhotra, COO – South Asia and DVPC, VFS Global said, “We are truly privileged to partner with the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey and believe the opening of these centres in India, Nepal and the Maldives will well serve the needs of travellers keen to visit this beautiful country.” The visa centres will be launched in New Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, Puducherry, Kochi, Trivandrum, Chennai and Hyderabad.

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UK eases visa norms

From March 1, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will expand the eligibility criteria for super-priority visas to all applicants applying for a visit or work visa. The eligibility criteria for 3-5 day priority visa will also be expanded, said UK’s Immigration Minister James Brokenshire. The new online application form will launch at the end of this month and applicants will be able to access it from www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa. The new improvements include a shorter visa application form; questions written in English and will be translated into Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati; option to review, edit and download partially completed application at any point before submitting; application fee displayed in local currency; mobile device friendly service, to allow applications to be completed on mobile phones or tablets; assistance for separate application for a Schengen visa, with a partially auto-completed Schengen application form available to download and print. Brokenshire, who is on a 5-day visit to India, also launched a new visa application centre (VAC) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, the first in the state “India is one of the UK’s largest visa market and we continue to make improvements to the service to make it as easy as possible for our applicants to get a visa. Last year we saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of visit visas issued. We hope that this year we continue to see an increase in visitors from India and that these improvements prove useful to those applying for their visas,” said Brokenshire.

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253% growth in eTVs in Jan ’16 over Jan ’15

A total of 88,162 foreign tourists arrived in the country on e-Tourist Visa (eTV) in January 2016 as compared to 25,023 during the same month in 2015 registering a growth of 252.3 per cent. According to the Ministry of Tourism, this high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 113 countries as against the earlier coverage of 43 countries. United Kingdom occupied the top slot in the top 10 countries availing the facility with 25.37 per cent. The share of the other top countries availing eTV facility were USA (15.17%); Russian Fed. (9.58%); France (6.00%); Australia (5.25%); Germany (4.23%); Canada (4.10%); China (3.96%); Republic of Korea (3.72%) and Ukraine (2.86%). The New Delhi airport received the highest percentage of foreign tourists with 33.18 per cent. The other top ports in foreign tourist arrivals on eTV during January 2016 were Mumbai Airport (20.81%); Goa Airport (19.10%); Chennai Airport (6.95%); Bengaluru Airport (5.35%); Kochi Airport (4.17%); Kolkata Airport (2.99%); Trivandrum Airport (2.29%); Hyderabad Airport (2.13%) and Ahmedabad Airport (1.75%).

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MOT plans to extend e-medical visa facility

In a bid to boost medical tourism into India, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, is planning to extend e-medical visa facility, said Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Tourism, Government of India. Speaking on the recently held first meeting of National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board, he said, “India has a distinct advantage, in terms of cost of people in the medical industry, the time required for getting operation dates, and having state-of-the-art hospitals. Now, we are also contemplating to get the e-medical visa facility extended to various countries, so that the medical and wellness tourism in India prospers further.”

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Up to 2% increase in UK Visa fees

The UK Visas and Immigration office has informed that there will be changes in visa and immigration application fees over the next four years. Danielle Humphries, Entry Clearance Manager, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), informed that for 2016-17, UK Visas linked most closely to economic growth and prosperity, such as visitor, work and study visas will be restricted to an increase of 2 per cent. During the same period, fees for all sponsorship categories will be held at the current rates. There will be up to 25 per cent increase for settlement and nationality fees. There will be up to 33 per cent increase for optional premium services offered by the Home Office such as the super priority and priority visa services. The proposed maximum fee for entry clearance as a visitor for a period of six months or less is £95, as against the current maximum of £85. The proposed maximum fee for entry clearance as a visitor for a period of more than six months up to and including 12 months, calculated at fixed amount, is £200 as against the current maximum of £162. The current maximum for entry clearance as a visitor for a period of more than 12 months, calculated at annual rate, is £162 p.a. which has been proposed to increase to £200 p.a. “We are confident that our proposed fee increases strike the right balance between ensuring we continue to provide a competitive level of service and maintaining a fees structure that remains attractive to businesses, migrants and visitors,” Humphries said, adding, “We have no current plans to raise fees to the maximum amounts, and most individual fees will remain significantly below these levels.” …

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16.5% rise in UK visas issued to Indians

United Kingdom (UK) granted over 360,000 visitor visas, until September 2015, a 16.5 per cent increase year on year, according to recently released statistics. With the commercial partner VFS, UK offers 15 visa application centres across India, more than in any other country. Visa application centres are situated in Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Mumbai South, Mumbai North, Pune, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Jaipur and Goa. A number of premium services are offered to the UK Visa applicants at the Visa Application Centre (VAC). VFS Users can avail walk in appointments where urgent travellers or those who have missed their appointment, can pay Rs 2537 to get a walk in appointment. Digital Assistance is provided in filling out the visa application form on the visa4uk website. The staff reads out questions on the form, and records the answers verbatim on behalf of the applicant for an extra cost of Rs 400. Group Appointments is available for group travellers who can apply at the same visa application centre at a particular time and day. This service is extended to all groups including tour operators, large families, conferences etc for Rs 500 per application. Travellers can pay for their visa by cash at the VAC, using VFS Global’s Credit Card at an additional cost of Rs 1000 per transaction. Certification service enables travellers to keep hold of their original documents. Applicants need to bring original documentation to the VAC to show VFS staff, who photocopy the documents and send to the decision hub along with the application. This service costs Rs 50 per document page. In 2015, India became the second country to benefit from the British Irish Visa Scheme, allowing Indian …

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