Category Archives: Visa

Cox & Kings Global Services opens Thai VACs in Delhi, Chennai & Kolkata

Having successfully managed the Thai Visa Application Centres in western India, Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS), has now been empanelled by the Royal Thai Embassy in Delhi and the consulates in Chennai and Kolkata to expand its services across the country. The new centres located in New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata are now operational. In the next phase of operations, offices will be open in Tier-II and III cities that have huge traffic from India to Thailand. The service is open to customers and travel agents/tour operators as well. CKGS values its customers and travel agents who avail services from our respective offices. Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS said, “The expansion of our services on an all-India level is an affirmation of the confidence that the Thai government has in CKGS and we will maintain our professional standards as we move to other locations in India to boost Thailand tourism.” CKGS will provide services such as disseminating visa related information provided and approved by the Thai Embassy and its consulates as well as pre-scrutiny of documents and acceptance of visa application and passports from the general public and travel agents. CKGS was incorporated in 2008 and is a specialist business process outsource agency which focuses on serving Consular sections of Diplomatic Missions. It renders services related to Visa, Passport and other Consular services to various Diplomatic Missions across the globe – key customers being Ministries of India, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, UAE, Oman and its latest addition is Algeria.

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VFS Global to expand Thailand VACs to 13 Indian cities

VFS Global recently received authorisation from the Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi and its Consulates in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai to process Thailand Visa Application Centres across India. In order to provide convenience to the travellers from across East, West, North and South India, VFS Global has expanded its network of Thailand Visa Application Centres to 13 cities. VFS Global has already been servicing Thailand visas in East, North and South India, with centres in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Kochi and Chandigarh. With the addition of operations in Western India, travellers can now also apply for a Thailand visa at any one of the VFS Global Thailand Visa Application Centres in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Goa. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, says, “Thailand has long been a popular destinati0n for Indian travellers, and a long-standing partner of VFS Global. For well over a decade, we have proudly served The Royal Thai Embassy and The Royal Thai Consulate General in India, with nine centres. It is therefore an honour to announce that VFS Global has been authorised to expand its Thailand visa services across India through its network of visa centres in 13 cities.” With Thailand emerging as one of the top destinations for Indian travellers, VFS Global’s appointment as a service provider will greatly benefit the growing volumes of applicants from India. When applying through VFS Global, applicants will be able to avail of the additional benefits on offer across VFS Global’s Visa Application Centres including services such as SMS updates, courier services, online tracking services, among others.

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Singapore most powerful passport in the world; India jumps up three places to rank 75

According to Passport Index developed by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, Singapore tops the rank of being the most powerful passport in the world under the Global Passport Power Rank 2017. This ranks passports of the world by their total visa-free score. Singapore is closely followed by Germany, Sweden and South Korea who are tied at number three, followed by eight other countries holding the number four spot jointly. The Indian passport appears at number 75 with a visa-free score of 51, ranking even lower than African countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Some of the countries with a lower ranking than India are Egypt, Bhutan Cambodia, Jordon and our neighbours Sri Lanka and Nepal. The last on the list is Afghanistan with a score of 22 preceded by Iraq and Pakistan with a joint visa-free score of 26.

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Ethiopia offers e-visas to MICE participants

Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines Group launched e-visa services for African and international participants of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) held in Ethiopia. MICE travellers to Ethiopia will now be able to issue their visas online, book, pay and check-in their flight with Ethiopian Airlines online. Tewolde Gebre Mariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, remarked, “With the immense potential for conference tourism, Ethiopia has still a lot to do to tap into the sector. The launching of an e-visa service for MICE is an impetus for the exponential demand of Ethiopia’s conference tourism, saving time and cost besides inducing a modern online visa application process. Gebreyohannes Teklu, Director, Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs, said, “The introduction of e-visa for MICE will provide travellers with a fast and convenient way to apply for a visa and initiate their travel to Ethiopia while ensuring absolute security of sensitive information.”

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Oman relaxes visa rules to attract more Indians

Oman is granting non-sponsored tourist visa for the citizens of India, China and Russia who reside in or hold an entry visa to one of these countries – USA, Canada, Australia, UK and Schengen states – to enter the Sultanate of Oman. These revised terms and conditions were issued by the Omani authorities. The issued statement indicated that the visa shall be granted for a period of one month for a fee of OMR 20. The spouse and children of the visa holder would also be allowed to enter the Sultanate while accompanying them. Applicants must also have a return ticket and confirmed hotel reservation in order to be granted the visa. Speaking about the recent development, Salim Adi Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotion, from the Ministry of Tourism in Oman said, “We are extremely pleased with the recent development of facilitating non-sponsored tourist visa for the citizens of India, China and Russia. With the revision in visa regulations, we are expecting that Indian arrivals across all segments will grow exponentially – especially leisure and visitors to conventions and exhibitions. Oman has gained immense popularity with mature and evolved travellers in the recent years. We aim to expand our travel and tourism offerings and are certain that the revised policies will offer expediency and convenience to travellers and will encourage more impromptu trips to the Sultanate.” Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, Ministry of Tourism, Oman, said, “The outbound segment in India is on a rise with the Indian economy booming and increasingly better standards of living. Most Indians typically travel for three to five nights as they want to experience Muscat and beyond. We are certain that the recent change …

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Qatar offers ETA facility for Indian travellers

Indians travelling to Qatar can now avail the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) facility made available by the Qatar Ministry of Interior for nationals of 80 countries. Indians will no longer require prior visa arrangements and can now obtain a visa wavier upon arrival, according to a statement released by Qatar Airways. Electronic Travel Authorisation will allow eligible visitors to obtain visa by completing a simple online application prior to travel to Qatar. This wavier will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and will entitle its holders to spend up to 30 days in Qatar during either a single trip, or on multiple trips. This wavier may be extended for a further 30 days. As part of the application, travellers will be required to provide proof of their accommodation like hotel bookings, details of their return or onward travel, a copy of their passport with a minimum validity of six months and a copy of their residence permit or visa to be aforementioned countries, with a minimum validity of 30 days.

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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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