Category Archives: Visa

VFS Global renews Visa and Residence Permit services contract for Norway globally, including in India

The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded VFS Global the global tender to provide visa and residence permit services in 52 countries across the globe. Under this new agreement, VFS Global will continue to operate on behalf of the Government of Norway in all regions worldwide – Americas, Australasia, China & Hong Kong, Europe & CIS, Middle East & North Africa, Russia, Belarus & Armenia, and South Asia, including India. VFS Global has worked with the Government of Norway since 2014 and has successfully handled nearly 1.5 million applications on their behalf. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “We look forward to a continued smooth and professional cooperation with VFS Global on provision of visa and residence permit services. The cooperation we have developed has proven to be effective and fruitful, with both our organizations working well together in performing their respective responsibilities and tasks.” Chris Dix, Head of Business Development, VFS Global, said: “VFS Global is delighted that we will continue to serve the Government of Norway as their sole service provider. We have enjoyed a strong partnership and welcome the opportunity to renew our services in the existing locations where we operate. We look forward to offering best-in-class visa solutions, and a seamless application process across all regions globally with an annual estimated customer count of 220,000. This is the eighth global contract win this year and is a testament to our dedicated efforts to provide all our client governments with top quality services.”

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PAN not mandatory requirement; however, it enhances strength of visa application: Aggarwal

Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS, said, “A PAN Card is not a mandatory requirement for a Schengen Visa. However, voluntarily submitting your PAN Card or additional financial credentials can enhance the overall strength of your visa application and provide further assurance of your financial stability to the authorities.”

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VFS Global appointed to deliver UK Government visa and passport services across 142 countries

VFS Global, which has been a trusted partner for the UK Government since 2003, has won the global contract for overseas UK visa and Citizenship services. This award is the latest in a long line of wins for the world’s leading visa, passport and citizen services provider. During 2024, VFS Global will deploy 240 Visa and Citizenship Application Service (VCAS) Centres for the UK in 142 countries across Africa & Middle East, Americas, Australasia & Europe, China & Taiwan, and Asia & Asia Pacific regions. These centres will accept all categories of visa applications as well as UK passport applications in some locations. Combined, these new centres are estimated to process 3.8 million applicants every year. Beyond the scale of the deployment, VFS Global will invest to improve the customer journey and increase accessibility – including through new customer websites, and through updated in-person experiences. And VFS Global will deploy its latest technologies to maintain robust identity checks and ensure the integrity of the visa and passport application process. The new contract is expected to deliver savings to the UK Government. Zubin Karkaria, Founder and CEO, VFS Global, said, “We are delighted to win this contract and expand our partnership with the Home Office to become their service provider for all UK visa customers overseas. We are excited to begin operations in new locations, and to take the next step towards providing customers with a seamless, simple and secure visa and passport application experience. This win is a testament to our dedicated efforts to provide all our client governments with best-in-class services.”

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Destinations could research, look at factors like visa, connectivity to tailor proposition for Indian travellers: MCKinsey

Destinations looking to harness the full potential of the growing Indian market could consider tailoring their value propositions in alignment with one or more of the 5 key points that influence where travellers choose to go, as per the latest McKinsey report on India market. They must determine factors such as the attractiveness of the destination, visas, connectivity, affordability, and the overall travel experience.

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After almost two months, India resumes e-visa services for Canadian nationals

India has resumed e-visa services for tourists of Canadian nationals after a pause of almost two months. The resumption of services for all categories of visas comes hours ahead of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s participation in the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Earlier in September, the Indian Mission in Canada suspended visa services for Canadian nationals until further notice, citing operational reasons.

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‘Opening of e-visas for Canadian national a booster shot for our inbound tourism’: Rajiv Mehra, IATO President

Sharing his views on the resumption of e-tourist visa for Canadian nationals, Rajiv Mehra, President of IATO, says, “We are happy and pleased with this development as opening of visas for Canada which is one of the largest source market for India, will be a big booster shot for our inbound tourism. Hopefully, the tourist flow from Canada will begin by January. Also, we will urge the government to allow e-visa for Chinese visitors. While other visas are open for the Chinese travellers, the absence of e-visa is still an impediment for them. Hopefully, the government will consider this as well.”

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Jose Manuel Aisa Mancho joins VFS Global as Chief Financial Officer and member of the Executive Board

VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions appointed Jose Manuel Aisa Mancho as its Chief Financial Officer effective 01 November 2023. He reports to Zubin Karkaria, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, and is based in Dubai, the organisation’s global headquarters. Jose joins VFS Global from Cellnex Telecom. He has over two decades of experience across the suite of finance sub-functions, including mergers & acquisitions, financial planning, investor relations, management control, treasury, and tax. He has previously worked in organisations that include Abertis Infrastructures, CriteriaCaixa and Cellnex. He was also a Non-Executive Officer in infrastructure companies such as Hispasat, Sanef or TBI Limited. Jose will be responsible for the overall Finance function at VFS Global, and will also be responsible for Legal, Data Privacy and Corporate Risk functions. Jose will leverage his rich experience in strengthening VFS Global’s finance function and developing strategies to support further growth and development of the company. As a member of the company’s Executive Board, he will also play a pivotal role in the overall strategic decision-making at VFS Global.

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BLS records operational revenue of Rs 407 cr in Q2FY24

BLS International Services, a trusted global tech-enabled services partner for governments and citizens, announced its unaudited consolidated financial results for the quarter and six-month period ended September 30, 2023. Amongst several others, the company processes visa applications for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Thailand, Hungary, Morocco, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and Slovakia. Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International Services, said, “We have continued our growth momentum into the second quarter of this fiscal. The Company’s performance has been in line with the expectations. Despite revenue growth of 14.3% year-on-year in the quarter, our EBITDA and PAT witnessed robust growth of 52.7% and 60.8% year-on-year, respectively. Favourable business mix resulted in the expansion of EBITDA margins, which sustained above the 20% mark this quarter. As key markets are opening up, we expect an increase in the number of visa applications. During the quarter, we signed up with the Government of Slovakia to offer outsourced visa services. Slovakia is becoming a hot spot for tourists, and we expect good volumes from the region. In addition, we rolled out Visa outsourcing centers for Hungary and Italy in various countries. On the Digital Services front, we tied up with Kotak Mahindra Bank to offer banking correspondence services, in line with our strategy to grow this line of business. Overall, we aim to continue focusing on spreading our reach far and wide with prudent emphasis on organic as well as inorganic growth while striving to maintain our internal rate of return threshold”. The company continues to witness strong operating results. For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, company’s consolidated revenue rose 14.3% YoY to Rs. 407.7 Cr, while operating EBITDA witnessed a growth of 52.7% to …

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GCC approves unified tourist visa, expected to be rolled out in 2024-25

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has approved a unified tourist visa, much like the Schegen Zone, that will allow visitors to travel freely between all 6 GCC countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE. This is expected to be rolled out in 2024 – 2025. Specific regulations and legislation are to be prepared, with a projected implementation between 2024 and 2025, depending on the readiness of each GCC country’s internal systems. This initiative is an integral part of the GCC 2030 tourism strategy.  

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