Category Archives: Visa

BLS International launches Spain visa application center in Chennai

BLS International has announced the opening of their first Spanish Visa Application Center (VAC) in Chennai. After winning the global contract from the Government of Spain in December, 2016, this is the 3rd Spanish Visa Application center opened in India, after New Delhi and Mumbai. The company currently operates 78 Spain Visa Application Centers spread across 37 countries. In future that the center will offer value added services like SMS service alert, photocopy service and convenient courier services to the applicants. Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International Services, shares, “BLS International has always endeavored to offer first-class services to its customers. We charge the applicant a nominal fee under the umbrella of word class services given in return to them. Our dedicated and pro-active staff is always ready to cater to the needs of the applicants. We aim to revolutionize the Spanish Visa application experience and the newly launched center in Chennai is yet another milestone. Since the commencement of the operations on the 19thDecember 2016, we have processed in excess of 200 applications per day across India and expect the numbers to grow by 20 % this year. With the opening of new centers in India it will further strengthen ties to the South market for both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and BLS International. We are looking at processing approximately 1.8 million applications annually through our global network.”

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Czech Republic opens visa application centre in Jaipur

VFS Global has launched its Visa Application Centre for the Czech Republic in Jaipur. Applicants for visas to the Czech Republic from Jaipur can now visit the centrally-located centre to submit visa applications and enrol for biometrics in a spacious and comfortable environment. The centre was inaugurated by Martin Smolek, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and H.E. Milan Hovorka Ambassador of the Czech Republic in India, and Mayor of Municipal Corporation in Jaipur, Dr. Ashok Lahoty. The new centre in Jaipur is located inside Mangalam Ambition Tower, Subhash Marg (Malan Ka Chauraha), C Scheme, Jaipur. Over the last few months, VFS Global has set up centres in nine other cities in India to increase accessibility to visa services for applicants across the country. Applicants earlier had to travel to Mumbai or Delhi to apply for Czech Republic visas. Over the next few days, VFS Global will launch more such centres for the Czech Republic in India, in a phase-wise manner.

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France’s VAC in Pune gets a new address

The relocated France Visa Application Centre was inaugurated by Yves Perrin, Consul General of France in Mumbai, on February 27, 2017. Residents of Pune can now apply for visas to multiple countries, including France, under one roof, at the modern and centrally-located Joint Visa Application Centre in Viman Nagar. The Centre also serves 15 other Schengen countries besides France, including Italy, Germany, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Sweden, Swiss, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Estonia. In addition to this, the centre will also cater to the client governments of Australia, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and UAE. Many of these centres were earlier located in Tadiwala Road and Kalyani Nagar areas of the city. With the launch of the new Joint Visa Application Centre, VFS Global has consolidated all visa requirements under one roof. With a larger space and state-of-the-art infrastructure, the new Joint Visa Application Centre has an increased number of application counters making the visa application process quicker and more convenient for applicants. The centre is equipped with dedicated counters for individuals, representatives and travel agents making the visa application experience hassle-free and convenient for all.

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Now, apply for Chinese visa from Connaught Place

Making visa application facilities convenient for travellers, the Chinese Visa Application Centre was inaugurated at Shivaji Stadium metro station, Connaught Place, New Delhi by HE Lua Zhaohui, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to India; Wei Xiaodong, Vice Director-General, Service Bureau for the Foreign Ministry and its Overseas Missions of China; and Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group. Commenting on the launch, the Ambassador said, “This is going to facilitate tourism between the two countries even further. Both countries boast of a huge population and want a better two-way exchange of tourist arrival numbers.” Adding on, Zubin Karkaria stated, “We anticipate strong tourism growth between India and China and this spacious centre will enable us to cater to the rising demand for China visas and simultaneously enhance the applicant’s experience.” On the occasion, the very first ‘China in Luxury’ outlet was also launched in the centre where travellers can avail of premium packages on exclusive travel experiences.

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Thai visa fee exemption extended till August 2017

The Thai Government has decided to extend the tourist visa fee exemption scheme, initially available from November-February, 2017, by an additional six months, informed Srisuda Wanapinyosak, Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Asia and South Pacific), Tourism Authority of Thailand. “Visa applications from the Indian market grew by almost 200 per cent during the visa fee exemption scheme’s initial duration. Hence, it was decided to extend the scheme for six months.”

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Malaysia launches 15-day e-visa for Indians

In a move to boost Indian arrivals, Malaysia has launched a 15-day e-visa for travellers on a short visit. This was announced at a press conference in New Delhi by Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. “India and Malaysia share great relations that go a long way back and we want to foster these ties. We decided to launch this e-visa for the benefit of travellers who visit the country for a short while and since it takes only 48 hours for approval, it is also useful for those who require it urgently,” he said. The e-visa includes a single-entry and costs $20. Tourism Malaysia and leaders from TAAI, TAFI and OTOAI also signed a commitment plaque fortifying each other’s commitment to promoting travel from India.With a focus on sustainable tourism, Malaysia is also pushing its special interest packages for premium shopping, luxury travels, sports tourism such as golf, and Malaysia as a wedding and honeymoon destination. India is the sixth top tourist generating market for Malaysia with a total 722,141 Indian visitors recorded in 2015. Last year, from January to October, Malaysia received a total of 540,530 Indian tourists. Malaysia hopes to achieve 1 million arrivals from the India market this year.

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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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