Category Archives: Visa

Russia & India to mutually abolish visas for tourist groups & e-Visas to Russia from 2021

Russia has offered India to mutually abolish visas for tourist groups & E-visas to Russia slated to start in 2021. Tourism professionals of the two countries discussed the expansion of air connectivity between Russia and India, the mutual promotion of tourism between the two countries, as well as the facilitation of the visa regime between the countries, including preparations for the introduction of an electronic visa in Russia since 2021 and the possibility of introducing group visa-free travel between the countries.This proposal was made by the head of the Federal tourism Agency Zarina Doguzova during the Second Russian-Indian strategic economic dialogue in Delhi. The Indian side expressed interest in the joint development of a draft government agreement on visa-free group travel for up to 21 days. According to the press service of the Federal Tourism Agency, the Second Russian-Indian strategic economic dialogue is taking place in India, within the framework of which a round table “Tourism and inter-territorial communication” was held on July 10, 2019. The moderator of this event, dedicated to the development of tourism between Russia and India, was the head of the Federal Agency for tourism Zarina Doguzova. The round table was also attended by Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR). As a result of the round table, it was decided to establish a joint working group between representatives of the tourism authorities of the two countries, representatives of business and the expert community to develop a joint action plan to increase tourism exchanges. According to forecasts, in the future, mutual tourist flows may exceed 1 million people annually. Mutual steps to increase tourism exchanges between the countries Zarina Doguzova …

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UK Visa applicants to complete application form before scheduling an appointment

All UK Visa applicants would now be required to complete the application form on the website www.gov.uk in order to schedule an appointment to visit the UK Visa Application Center. It will be mandatory for every applicant to fill the Visa Application Form, pay the visa fee and then book the appointment. All applicants who have initiated the request through VFS website prior to June 15 would be able to track their application by using the valid email id and application reference number. This has been done to simplify the customer journey while completing the online process.

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India now extends e-visa facility to Saudi Arabian citizens

The Government of India has made e-visas available for Saudi nationals to make travel easier and boost the number of Saudi visitors to the country. Once the visa has been applied and payment has been made, the registration confirmation will be sent to the registered email within 24 hours. The applicant can just show print of this confirmation email and visa will be given by the emigration officials. Earlier, Saudi Arabian citizens had been giving their biometric details at the embassy and consulate. From now on, these details will be collected at airports in India.

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Sri Lanka continues visa-on-arrival for Indian nationals

Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai, has said that the visa-on-arrival scheme for visitors of Indian nationality continues undisturbed. Sri Lanka had suspended its plans to grant visas on arrival for citizens of 39 countries after the devastating Easter suicide bombings. But it was unclear whether India was one of them. The country had started offering free visa on arrival to Indian travellers as part of the its efforts to promote tourism starting May 1, 2019 for six months in its initial run. This scheme was aimed at a total of 36 countries that include India as well as Pakistan. The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India along with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) have started taking measures to ensure that tourists return to the island nation soon. They have already met two travel trade associations – Travel Agents Association Of India (TAAI) and Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) – and will soon be meeting the travel trade as well. Rodrigo said, “The country’s security situation now is normal, stability reigns across the country and children are back to school. However, it has had a direct impact to tourism and we have taken some measures to help revive the industry.” In 2017, Sri Lanka saw 3,83,000 Indian nations visiting the country. In 2018, this number jumped to 426,000 but still falling short of their targeted 450,000. Sri Lanka is looking to promote the destination for weddings and film shoots as well apart from FIT leisure.

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Schengen Visa Fee to increase to 80 euros from January 2020

The European Union Council has announced that travellers in need of a Schengen Visa will need to pay a higher visa fee starting from January 2020. The changes come after the European Union Council gave the final nod to an updated Schengen Visa code on 6 June. The new EU Visa regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Six months after, it will come into force and start applying to all third-country nationals that need a visa to the Schengen zone. Source: www.schengenvisainfo.com

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Tourist arrivals in India through visa on arrival increases at 120.99%

The tourist arrivals through visa on arrival increased at a CAGR of 120.99 per cent during 2010-17 to reach 1,697,175 tourists in 2017, as per a Tourism and Hospitality report by IBEF. Indian government has also released a fresh category of visa – the medical visa or M visa, to encourage medical tourism in India. Foreign tourist arrivals for medical purpose increased from 427,014 in 2016 to 495,056 in 2017(P). In June 2016, the Indian government approved 150 countries under the visa on arrival scheme to attract additional foreign tourists.

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UK scraps passenger landing cards

Starting from May 20, international passengers arriving at UK air and sea ports no longer need to fill out Home Office landing cards. Since 1971, landing cards have been required of all passengers arriving by air or sea from outside the European Economic Area. The card records the purpose of the traveler’s visit and the duration of their stay. It also records whether or not a traveler has brought items into the UK that warrant inspection by custom’s authorities. The decision to scrap landing cards comes after the government announced it was extending the use of e-gates at UK borders to citizens of the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Earlier, the gates, which scan e-passports, were reserved for European Economic Area citizens.

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BLS International to accept Lebanon visa applications in India

BLS International has announced that it has been signed up by the Embassy of Lebanon to accept visa applications in India. It has also been authorised to handle the ‘Attestation and Legalisation Services’ for the Embassy. BLS will accept visa applications for travel to Lebanon at 16 centres including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Goa, Jalandhar, Kochi, Lucknow, Raipur, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Trivandrum. Commenting on the new contract Shikhar Agarwal, Jt. Managing Director said, “We are extremely pleased to partner with the Embassy of Lebanon, to provide smooth, efficient and convenient experience for the applicants. BLS as a preferred outsourced visa-processing provider will work together with the Embassy to create a distinguished experience for all its valuable applicants travelling to Lebanon. To ensure this, we are opening 16 centres across India, covering major hubs as well as growing regional cities. Our centres will also facilitate the attestation and legalisation services for the Embassy of Lebanon, exclusively.”   BLS International will accept visa applications for travel to Lebanon at 16 centres including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Goa, Jalandhar, Kochi, Lucknow, Raipur, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Trivandrum.  

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Visa exemption for Indians travelling to Chile holding a valid US Visa or Resident Permit

The Consular Section of the Embassy of Chile in India states that henceforth all Indian travellers holding B1/B2 Visa or Residence Permit (Green Card) from USA, with current validity of six months, do not require a Chilean tourist visa (either Simple Tourism or Multiple Tourism or Multiple-Business).  This is for the period of stay in Chile for tourists up to 90 days and is not applicable to USA Transit Visa.

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India recorded 2.5 million tourist arrivals on e-Visa in 2018

The Bureau of Immigration, under the Home Ministry, India had issued over 2.5 million e-Visa last year, a five-fold jump from 2015, and reduced the main category visa from 26 to 21. Reportedly, the number of e-Visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration has risen from 5.29 lakh in 2015 to 25.15 lakh last year. On the other hand, the number of regular or paper visas issued by Indian missions abroad has come down from 45 lakh to around 35 lakh in the same period. Sub-categories of visa has been reduced from 104 to 65, thus rationalising and simplifying the visa regime and removing confusion. The e-Visa facility covers 166 countries and foreigners can obtain online visa within 72 hours for travel related to tourism, business, health, medical attendant and conference purposes.    

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