Tag Archives: Visa

VFS to continue visa processing for Norway

The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded VFS Global an extension to its global contract for visa processing services in four regions – Asia and Oceania, Europe and Russia, Middle East and Africa, and the Americas. VFS Global currently operates 101 Visa Application Centres across 39 countries for Norway. VFS processes approximately 260,000 Norway visa applications globally each year and travellers from China, Russia, Thailand and India account for most of the inbound traffic into Norway. Chris Dix, Head – Business Development, VFS Global, remarked, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Norwegian government. This is not only commercially important for VFS Global, but also in demonstrating the Norwegian government’s trust in VFS, further reinforcing our company’s position as the leading  visa services partner to Schengen member states and to 57 client governments worldwide.” The Royal Norwegian Government reported the country’s tourism industry had another record year in 2016, following strong growth in the number of visitors in 2015. Figures compiled by Statistics Norway show average annual growth in the number of foreign visitors to Norway has exceeded the international average since 2010.

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Japan to offer multiple-entry visa for Indians from Jan 1

Simplifying its visa regime for Indians, Japan will issue multiple-entry visa for short-term stay starting January 1, 2018. Under the new rules, there will be relaxation in terms of visa application documents as well as expansion scope of eligible applicants, as revealed in an official release. Applicants will now have to submit only three documents to get multiple-entry visas to Japan. The applicant’s employment certificate and explanation letter stating the reason will be exempted in cases of applying for multiple-entry visa. The required documents would include passport visa application form (with photo) and papers to prove the financial capability (for tourism purpose)/documents to prove the applicant’s affiliation to certain enterprises (for business purpose). Multiple-entry visas with a maximum validity of five years and a stay of 90 days will be issued to applicants who have travel records to Japan twice or more in the last one year. In this case, the eligible applicants may submit only their passports and visa application form, as per the release.

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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 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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India among top five markets for medical tourism

The Medical Tourism Index (MTI), released by Visa and Oxford Economics, shows that India’s medical tourism sector is among the top five markets in the world with affordable yet high-quality of healthcare. Canada, the UK, Israel, Singapore, Germany, France, South Korea, Italy and Colombia are some of the other top markets included in the list. Globally, the sector is worth an impressive US$439 billion, and could soar to a staggering US$3 trillion by 2025. The new report forecasts an annual growth rate of up to 25 per cent over the next decade given that 3-4 per cent of the world’s population will travel internationally for medical treatments in the coming decade. “The borders to quality healthcare access have begun to disintegrate,” MTI’s co-authors, Renée-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism Association, and Mark Fetscherin, associate professor of international business & marketing at Rollins College, said a joint statement. “Speculation about the medical tourism industry as a ‘phenomenon’ is over. This report and the rankings of the Medical Tourism Index provide a unique opportunity for investors seeking new ventures to make smart choices in destinations driving patient travel.” The report also predicts that China will overtake the US as the world’s largest outbound medical tourism market within the next 10 years.

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Now, SA visa within 5 days

The South African Department of Home Affairs has finally submitted to the demands of the travel agents and tour operators regarding visa issues for Indians. Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager – India, South Africa Tourism, who will be in India till December 2016, has revealed that Indians do not have to carry birth certificates while travelling with children anymore. “We are very happy that the visa process for Indians has been simplified. The processing days have been brought down under five days as well as the need for carrying birth certificates for children has been eliminated. The Department of Home Affairs has mapped out the seasons and they send us extra support, in terms of manpower, during those times. So the processing is quickened at both the High Commission as well as the Consulate specifically for the Indian market. The big part of our travel is during the Indian monsoon from May through August, which led to a huge bottleneck,” she said.

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Australia offers 3-year multiple entry visa

Australia is implementing the trial of a three-year multiple-entry visitor visa for India from July 2016. The trial, which is targeted at frequent short-term travellers to Australia, will allow entry into Australia multiple times on the same visa with each stay valid for up to three months. India is among four countries – Thailand, Vietnam and Chile – where the trial will be implemented. Welcoming the move, Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu, said, “Australia welcomes the tremendous interest Indians have in visiting Australia for tourism and business. With India among Australia’s nine key tourism markets, the trial will naturally drive our tourism growth from this part of the world.” The trial will make it easier for Indian visitors to make repeat visits. Travellers will not need to re-apply for visa within the three-year period, Sidhu added. The trial applies to eligible applicants within the tourist and business visitor visa streams. The announcement was made as part of the Australian Government’s 2016-17 Budget to boost Australia’s future tourism growth.

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