Category Archives: Visa

Flexibility in visa rules, enhanced health precautions for students travelling to UK for new academic year

As part of its commitment to enhance the visa system experience for students, United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has introduced flexibility in visa rules, with health precautions throughout the visa system, to ensure a comfortable and safe environment for all customers, especially incoming international students, along with its visa services partner VFS Global.  UK Visas and Immigration has introduced greater flexibility in visa rules, allowing students to apply for visas when they are able to travel to the UK, rather than at the start of their studies, with health precautions throughout the visa system along with visa services partner VFS Global, to ensure a comfortable and safe environment throughout the visa application process. Study visa applications for the UK can be made in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru (Global Tech Park only), Chandigarh, Chennai, Jalandhar, Kochi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (Mahalaxmi only), New Delhi (Shivaji Metro Stadium only), and Pune. In order to ensure a safe environment for customers and employees, VFS Global has established standardised protective measures to be followed across all its UK Visa Application Centres. To ensure health and safety norms are followed, the centres have implemented a mandatory online appointment system, besides checking body temperature of all customers at the entrance, and maintaining physical distancing measures. Additionally, staff also carry out preventive measures such as disinfecting high-contact surfaces, body temperature screenings, use of hand sanitisers, regular hand washing, etc. Since 06 July 2020, UK Visa Application Centres have re-opened in 11 cities in India in a phased manner: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru (Global Tech Park only), Chandigarh, Chennai, Jalandhar, Kochi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (Mahalaxmi only), New Delhi (Shivaji Metro Stadium only), and Pune – and these centres are receiving Tier 4 …

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VFS Global launches online appointment booking service for COVID-19 sample collection

VFS Global has launched online appointment booking service for COVID-19 sample collection, in association with certified medical laboratories, in Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi, in response to the evolving travel guidelines and consumer convenience. Similar offerings will be extended to customers in Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Pune in the coming weeks. This service is offered in association with a network of certified medical laboratories approved by the Government of India and having all due accreditations for swab collection for COVID-19. Customers in Delhi, Kochi and Mumbai can book appointments on VFS Global’s website (https://www.vfsglobal.com/en/individuals/indiacovidtest.html) and provide samples at designated associate medical laboratories from 10 August 2020. ‘At Your Doorstep’ services are also offered in Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi, that enables sample collection from the safety and comfort of a customer’s home. Samples are collected by trained medical professionals from associate medical laboratories and the reports directly sent with full confidentiality to the registered email address of the customer. Who can avail this service? The COVID-19 RT-PCR Sample Collection service is open for all and is not limited to travellers. The service can be availed by those who may or may not be exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (strictly as per local regulations of various states), and only with a doctor’s prescription in Delhi and Kochi. A dedicated help desk is also provided for VFS Global customers next to select VFS Global Centres to assist with this service. Speaking about the service, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO – South Asia, Middle East & North Africa, and Americas, said, “We believe a convenient and reliable pre-departure COVID-19 sample collection/testing solution can become a catalyst in the recovery process of international travel …

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Spain & Slovakia agree to issue Gratis Visa to Indians in view of COVID-19

In a major development, Embassies of Spain and Slovakia have agreed to issue ‘Gratis Visa’ to all Indians who were issued a visa earlier this year but could not undertake travel in the last few months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision came following the appeal by OTOAI, which had sent a letter to European Embassies in India, requesting them to issue Gratis Visas to all those travellers who despite having received valid travel visas this year could not undertake the planned visits. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI said, “We are pleased with this development and remain hopeful that in times to come, more European Embassies agree to issuing Gratis Visa. We understand that it will take some time for outbound travel to pick up from India but moves such as these will help in building people’s confidence for international travel while also offering some relief to their pocket. This is the time to show solidarity so that together we can get travel and tourism back on its feet.” This will benefit a lot of Indian travellers who couldn’t travel due to the Covid restrictions. Ivan Lancaric, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to India said, “Applicants, who could not travel on their Schengen visas to Slovakia, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, can apply for this visa fee waiver individually at the time of the submission of their new application. This possibility covers not only tourists, but all the Schengen visa categories. We are keen on promoting travel destinations in Slovakia, my visa section will assist the tourists travelling to Slovakia in this matter once they reapply for a Schengen visa.” “Please be informed that the Embassy of Spain will reissue …

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VFS Global to conduct webinar for travel trade today at 11 am

VFS Global will host a webinar for the trade and its travel partners today at 11 am. The session titled ‘A Safe Restart- Your Safety, Our Priority’ will offer a glimpse into VFS Global’s plan as it resumes visa services in India. To attend the webinar, register at https://event.webinarjam.com/register/141/pyr19b51 or email to jaspreet.kaur@ddppl.com or call 9650196532.

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VFS Global to begin limited operations at select VACs in 11 cities

VFS Global is re-opening Visa Application Centres in some cities for specific visa categories. Countries for which visa services will resume are United Kingdom (from July 6), Italy (July 3), UAE, Turkey, Ireland, Belarus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Norway, Portugal and South Korea. Applicants will have to schedule an appointment in advance on www.vfsglobal.com. After specific Embassies/Consulates as well as local authorities have given their approval, VFS Global’s centres will accept visa applications for select countries with strict health and hygiene SOPs in place.

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VFS Global to apprise trade on reopening via webinar on July 3

VFS Global is all set to host a webinar for the trade on Friday, July 3, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. The informative session titled ‘A Safe Restart – Your Safety, Our Priority’ will offer a glimpse into VFS Global’s plan as it gradually resumes visa services in India, while ensuring complete adherence to health and safety guidelines. To register, please contact jaspreet.kaur@ddppl.com or call +9650196532.

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Chip-enabled e-passports to strengthen travel document security

S Jaishankar, Minister, External Affairs, has said that the introduction of chip-enabled e-passports will greatly strengthen the security of Indian travel documents. Underlining the need to expedite their roll out, he said that his ministry is working with Indian Security Press, Nashik, and National Informatics Centre for chip-enabled e-passports with advanced security features. “I am very confident that the introduction of e-passports will greatly strengthen the security of our travel documents. I understand that the procurement process for its production is currently underway and I would emphasise the need to hasten that as much as possible. I emphasise that it is necessary to roll out the manufacture of e-passports on a priority basis,” he said.

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VFS Global releases FAQs to help ease traveller concerns on visa queries

The travel and tourism industry, unarguably, is one of the most affected sectors since the onset of COVID-19. With country borders sealed, cities brought to a standstill and all transportation stationary, it is difficult to imagine the recovery trajectory of travel. Industry experts suggest that while travel will eventually recover in stages, a shift in both travel norms and traveller behaviour is expected. Addressing some common questions on every traveller’s mind, VFS Global has shared guidelines to assuage their concerns and help navigate their holiday plans once international borders open again. • What happens to passports submitted before services were suspended? Following the national lockdown in India, Visa Application Centres had to shut down operations in adherence to directives from central and local authorities and diplomatic missions. When the Visa Application Centres are allowed to re-open, VFS Global will be able to evaluate at which stage of assessment each application is and resume the applicant return process accordingly. If you have a query about your passport that was submitted with your visa application, please write to customercare@vfsglobal.com. • Will Visa Application Centres open for appointments once the national lockdown lifts? Visa Application Centres in any city/country operate according to the directives of the central and local authorities and the diplomatic mission / the country being applied to. In some cases, even if central/local authorities lift the lockdown, the country you are applying to may not be accepting visa applications. In this scenario, an open Visa Application Centre might not serve your purpose. Make sure you’re checking regulations by not only your government but also that of the country you plan to visit. • What are health and safety precautions implemented …

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VFS Global processed over 32 million visas in 2019; India among top 3 source markets

Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO, South Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Americas, VFS Global, during the 2nd TravTalk Digital Conclave, said that VFS Global had processed over 32 million visas in 2019. “Out of this data, India contributes a major share as it is among the top three source markets for us. In fact, India is also the fastest-growing outbound market for us,” he said. Also sharing his view on the revival of the industry in the post-COVID era, he said that travel agents needed to come together and stimulate demand across the country.

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