Category Archives: Visa

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.

Read More »

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.  

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.    

Read More »

India to be among top three nations for South African e-Visa: South African Tourism Minister

Addressing delegates at Indaba 2019, Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, Government of South Africa, informed that India will be among the top three countries e-Visa regime will be extended to, besides China and Nigeria. Talking more on this, the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, highlighted the 10 challenges that needed to be looked over in order to boost arrivals to the country. Speaking at the third day of Africa’s largest tourism event, he said, “We must reduce the onerous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists who want to visit our country face. This requires us to streamline our tourist visa regimes. We are in the process of radically overhauling our visa dispensation for the rest of the world and introducing a world-class e-visa system.”

Read More »

MOT considers scrapping Group Landing Permit for passengers of e-visa countries

Currently, the GLP facility works as a visa for foreign tourists who are arriving in groups of four or more. Tourists who are sponsored by Indian travel agencies approved by the tourism ministry with a pre-drawn itinerary are granted collective landing permits for a period not exceeding 60 days, with multiple entry facility to enable them visit a neighboring country. Considering the feedback received, a view has been taken that Group Landing Permit facility may be scrapped for passengers of those countries which have been extended e-Visa facility, as its sole purpose has been served and because, e-Visa facility has been presently extended to 166 countries.  

Read More »

Medical tourism in India to grow to USD13.3 bn by 2022

Medical tourism in India by international travellers is expected to grow to USD13.3 bn by 2022, according to a report jointly published by KPMG India and Google. About 1.5 million medical tourists are expected to visit the country in 2022. The medical tourism market in India has grown rapidly over the past decade with India becoming one of the largest global medical tourism hubs. Growth has been driven by a rise in international awareness of India’s affordable healthcare, qualified healthcare professional base, coupled with investment into healthcare infrastructure and privately funded healthcare. Foreign tourist arrivals on medical visas are increasing at a CAGR of 51 per cent. Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries are the leading source geographies accounting for more than one-third of visitors. Africa and GCC countries are expected to drive larger inbound volumes in the coming five years. The key growth drivers are alternative medicine (AYUSH), cost competiveness driving medical tourism inflow and quality healthcare and travel options at affordable price points. Indian ayurveda market is growing at approximately 16 per cent CAGR, backed by approximately 1 million traditional medicine doctor base and proactive government promotion. Medical procedures in India cost 70-80 per cent lower compared to average treatment costs in the US. A robust private healthcare sector and budget friendly travel destinations ensure lucrative India travel options for the international tourists.

Read More »

Arrivals in India through e-tourist visa increases at a CAGR of 180% during 2014-18

In 2018, 23,69,941 tourists have arrived in India through e-tourist visa, according to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF). Tourist arrivals through increased at a CAGR of 251.59 per cent during 2014-17 to reach 1,697,000 tourists in 2017. The government has recently made a series of amendments in the e-visa regime to make it more tourist-friendly. The duration of stay in India of e-tourist and e-business visas is maximum up to one year with multiple entry subject to the stay stipulations. Also, the existing restriction of allowing foreigners for a maximum of three times has also been removed. On e-tourist visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa except nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan. In case of nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days. In all cases, no registration will be required. On the changes in e-business visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa. No registration will be required if the stay is for a period of less than 180 days. The e-visa is valid for entry through two more designated airports (Bhubaneswar and Port Blair), raising the total number of such airports to 28.

Read More »

Embassy of Vietnam signs BLS International for its visa applications in India

Embassy of Vietnam signs BLS International for its visa applications in India and has also been authorised as the only company to handle the ‘Attestation and Legalisation Services’ for the Embassy of Vietnam. Shikhar Agarwal, Jt. Managing Director said, “We are honoured by the confidence and trust the Embassy has reposed in us for ensuring a smooth, efficient and delightful experience for the applicants. To ensure this, we are opening 15 centres across India, covering the major hubs as well as the growing regional cities. Our 15 centres will also facilitate the attestation and legalisation services for the Embassy of Vietnam, exclusively.” BLS International will accept visa applications for travel to Vietnam at 15 centres including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Goa, Kochi, Lucknow, Raipur, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Trivandrum. In recent months, BLS International has been gearing up to provide innovative solutions to Governments and Citizens across the globe and had engaged global consulting firm EY to review structures and processes. The company is now implementing their recommendations that will enable it to re-engineer and transform the business, and has strengthened the Leadership Team with professionals who are respected in the industry for their expertise.

Read More »

Indian tourist visas to the UK go up by 10% in 2018

Indian visitors and tourist numbers saw strong growth in 2018. Visit visas increased by 10% to almost 477,000. More than 1 in 5 (22%) of all UK visit visas in 2018 were granted to Indian nationals. The number of student visas issued to Indians has also reached the highest level since 2011, according to the latest quarterly report on Immigration Statistics published by the UK Home Office. Just over 19,500 Indian nationals were granted a tier 4 student visa in the year ending December 2018. This was a 35 per cent increase on the previous year – the highest total in a single year since 2011. 2018 was a second year of significant increases in this category – meaning Indian student numbers are now over 70 per cent higher as compared to just two years earlier in 2016. Indian workers continue to receive more skilled work visas than the rest of the world combined – India is responsible for 54% of all skilled work visas granted globally. Over 55,000 skilled work visas were granted to Indian nationals last year – more than six per cent higher than in 2017 and the largest increase in numbers for any country. The British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, said, “These latest figures show yet another major increase in the number of visas granted to Indian nationals. I particularly welcome the strong increases in work and student visas for Indian nationals in 2018. Almost 19,500 Indian students received a Tier 4 visa last year – a 35% increase and follows a 27% increase in 2017. Likewise, skilled workers from India in 2018 increased at the fastest rate for any country, showing …

Read More »