Category Archives: Visa

VFS to manage India visa services in Spain, Thailand, and South Africa

As part of its expanding visa services network for the Government of India’s Ministry of External Affairs worldwide, VFS Global will now manage India visa processing services in three additional countries: Spain, Thailand and South Africa. VFS Global has served the Government of India since 2007, and manages visa processing for the client government in a total of 12 countries worldwide. The Embassy of India in Spain and VFS Global have signed a four-year contract to manage India visa processing services in three cities: Madrid, Barcelona and Las Palmas. The new centres in these cities are on schedule to open in April 2017. VFS Global won the contract to offer India visa processing services in Spain in July 2016. However, the launches were delayed due to a petition filed by BLS International against the Government of India in the Delhi High Court, disputing its disqualification from the Spain bid for failing to meet the minimum technical criteria. Spain is the 12th country where VFS Global will begin visa processing operations for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. VFS Global also signed contracts to manage Indian visas in Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai) and South Africa (Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town).

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India grants 5-year multiple entry visa to Thai nationals

The Government of India has liberalised its visa policy for Thai nationals. It has decided to grant five-year multiple entry Tourist Visa and five-year multiple entry Business visa to Thai nationals with immediate effect with continuous stay of 90 days during each visit. It has also started Express visa service where visa will be issued by next working day. Separate Immigration counters and facilitation desks will be provided for Medical Visa. This service will initially be available at international airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. India has also relaxed the minimum salary limit and fixed at Rs 9.10 lakhs per anum for Employment visa to those Thai nationals who will be engaged at teaching faculty in the IITs, Central Universities, NITs etc. Foreign teaching faculty employed at South Asian University and Nalanda University will be exempted from minimum salary limit for the purpose of employment visa. Indian Embassy will grant Intern Visa to Thai nationals to pursue internship in Indian companies, educational Institutions and NGOs up to a maximum of 50 interns per year. Indian Embassy will also encourage Thai nationals to shoot feature film in excellent Indian locations and they will be provided Film Visa.

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Indians with diplomatic, special & official passports to travel visa free to UAE

The Government of India and the Government of UAE have signed an MoU on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements to the holders of Diplomatic, special and Official Passports. The agreement allows holders of diplomatic, special and official passports visa free travel between the two countries. This was a part of several list of agreements/MOUs exchanged during the State visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India. He is the Chief Guest in the Republic Day celebrations.

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BLS to open 150 VACs for Spain in 45 countries

After bagging the contract from Spain MAEC (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation – Spain), BLS International will open nearly 150 Spanish Visa Application Centers in 45 countries to support the Spanish Embassies and Consulates globally. Out of a total 128 Spanish Visa Centers, 53 are already operational from December 2016, and together the company expects to process approximately 1.8 million applications annually. The five-year contract is worth €175 million (Rs 1,300 crore), Recently, BLS International also announced the renewal order for four years from Russia and Singapore for outsourcing services to the Indian Embassies and Consulates. Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director and Additional Director, BLS International Services Limited said, “Through our association with Spain government, we intend to provide Spanish Visa’s effortlessly accessible by providing services in many small countries like Algeria, Ecuador, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Mauritania etc. We aim at expanding our foreign mission category by bagging global contracts particularly from Thailand and Canada governments, via a competitive process.” BLS International has commenced one Spanish Visa Application Center in each Delhi and Mumbai and at least one center in other countries around the globe including, Russia, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, China, India, South Africa, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Bolivia, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Dominican, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Senegal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Oman, Kenya, Cameroon, Scotland, Israel, Ghana, Qatar, Ukraine, Thailand, Philippines, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Tunisia, Nigeria, Armenia, Belarus, Iraq, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan. The company plans to open several more offices in these locations in 2017.

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UK encourages visitors to apply early for visas

The UK has launched a new campaign to encourage Indian visitors to apply early for their visas in the quieter, off peak period, during January and February.  Visa applicants can expect to get a visa decision more quickly outside of the peak period, and benefit from quieter Visa Application Centres and more available appointment slots. They can now request for their visas to be post-dated by up to three months, so the visa starts on their intended travel date. Those planning to travel in April can apply for their visas now and the six month validity can start on their intended departure date. The initiative was announced at the Destination Britain India, currently being held in Pune and hosted by the UK’s national tourism agency VisitBritain. The three-day tourism trade fair brings together more than 75 travel agents from across India and more than 20 UK travel suppliers for three days of networking and business appointments. British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, said, “We are delighted that more and more Indians are choosing to come to the UK either on holiday or for business. The latest visa statistics show that visitor visas issued have increased by six per cent in the year ending September 2016 and last year we issued more Indian visit visas than ever before. There has never been a better time to visit the UK – 2017 is the Year of Culture, which will see an exciting festival of events celebrating the vibrant cultural history of UK and India held in both countries.” India will become the first visa country to benefit from the Registered Traveller Service, as announced by the British Prime Minister …

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India eases visa process for Omanis

With a view to attract Omanis for tourism and business purposes, the Government of India has decided to grant multiple entry tourist and business visas valid for a period of five years. Each visit under Tourist Visa, however, shall not exceed 90 days. Tourist Visa holder will also not be required to register himself/herself. Similarly, multi-entry business visas will also be valid for five years with continuous stay during each visit not to exceed 180 days. The requirement of registration of Business Visa holders has also been done away with. In 2016, the Embassy of India in Muscat issued over 72,000 tourist visas and over 900 business visas. In order to further facilitate Omani patients visiting India for medical treatment, Government has decided to open separate counters at Immigration points for speedy and smooth clearance of Medical Visa holders, initially at six International Airports viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Facilitation desks will also be available at these airports, which would have Arabic as well as Russian translators to help patients overcome the language barrier. This facility will be particularly useful for people of Oman visiting India for medical treatment. It may be noted that BLS Oman, which is responsible for accepting visa applications, has already opened a separate counter at their Muscat Centre to facilitate Medical Visa applicants. In 2016, a total of11612 Medical Visas and 8491 Medical Attendant visas were issued by the Embassy. Medical Attendants accompanying patients going to India for medical treatment are granted Medical Attendant Visa under the existing procedure. Source: Indian Emb of Oman

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Getting Indian visa becomes easier for Bangladeshi tourists

As part of ongoing efforts to streamline, liberalise and ease the process of securing Indian visas, the High Commission of India will allow all Bangladesh travellers with confirmed air, train or bus tickets to submit their tourist visa applications without e-token or prior appointment dates from January 1, 2017. This was informed by the Indian High Commission in Dhaka. It was informed that the date of journey should be after seven days but within one month of submission of the visa application form. The Indian Visa Application Centre in Mirpur will receive walk-in tourist visa applications from confirmed travellers and senior citizens from 1 January instead of the centre in Uttara. Those who already have appointment dates can continue to submit their tourist visa applications in centres at Gulshan, Uttara, Motijheel, Mymensingh, Barisal, Khulna, Jessore, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Sylhet. (Source:Firstpost)

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Spain outsources visa facilities to BLS International

New Delhi-based BLS International Services, a specialist provider for outsourcing of visa, passport and attestation services across the globe was awarded with a 175 million euro contract by the Government of Spain. With this agreement, BLS International will open almost 100 Global Consulate Offices in more than 38 countries for exclusively processing Spanish visas globally. The company expects to process approximately 1.8mn applications every year. Of the total, 53 Spanish Visa Application Centers (VACs) will get operational in December 2016. Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint MD, BLS International Services, said “This year has been phenomenal for BLS International as we have seen exponential growth in our business. The exclusive global agreement with Spanish Government is a testimony to the fact that we have delivered to our promises made to our customers. The contract with Spanish Government will expand our global footprint and help catering to wider range of customers, hence adding to the overall profitability for the company.”

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VFS Global won’t process Spain visa from Dec 17

Effective December 17, VFS Global in India and Nepal will no longer accept Schengen visa applications on behalf of the Embassy of Spain or Consulate General of Mumbai in India. Applicants who have confirmed appointments with VFS Global up till December 16, 2016 shall continue to have their applications processed at the VFS Global office in and Nepal. The VFS Global website stated, “For all other queries from 17 December 2016 onwards, please get in touch directly with the Spain Consulate General OR Embassy of Spain in your city. For queries regarding visa applications submitted on/before 16 December 2016, please note, our website, online appointment system, call center line and helpdesk email support will be operational until December 26, 2016. VFS Global will continue to process Schengen visa applications on behalf of the other European member states served by VFS Global.”

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E-visa to now include eTV, e-medical visa and e-business visa

India’s e-visa will now have three components — e-tourist visa, e-medical visa, e-buisness visa. Talking about the various changes in e-visa, Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, says, “For the first time in this country, medical visa is going the electronic way and so is the case with business visa. This has been one of the biggest landmark decisions, and it’s going to catapult Indian tourism into a new orbit. The best thing is that the initial period of application, which used to be 30 days, has been extended to 120 days, which is logical, especially for foreigners who plan their travel much in advance.” Talking about the extension of eTV, Zutshi says, “The validity of eTV was just 30 days and it’s been increased to 60 days now. Also, when tourists come to India, they would like to visit other countries of Southeast Asia and come back. We have made e-tourist visa and e-business visa double entry. For e-medical visa, the government has provided triple entry, which is a redeeming feature. Film visa has also been streamlined and rationalised, which has come at the right time and would encourage filming in India.”

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