Category Archives: Visa

Suspension of transit facility without valid China visa continues till further notice

The Border Police & Immigration department at Baiyun Airport, Guangzhou continues to revise the transit regulations until further notice. Passengers transiting Guangzhou and any other city in China before taking a connecting flight for their overseas travel will not be allowed to transit without valid China visa stamped on their passports prior to the commencement of journey from Delhi. The transit policy was undertaken in view of expediting security arrangements for the dignitaries in BRICS Summit held in Xiamen, China.

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Online visas drive Australia’s rising Indian tourist arrivals

India has emerged as Australia’s fastest-growing source market for tourist arrivals. One of the main reasons for this is the introduction of electronic lodgement of visa applications for Indian passport holders, which is likely to further boost arrivals. Arrivals from India to Australia grew by 15 per cent for the year ended October 2017, with an influx of 294,000 visitors, compared to the same period last year. This makes India the ninth-largest inbound market for Australia, and inches it closer towards achieving its Tourism 2020 goal of 300,000 visitors annually, three years ahead of target. Tania Gerlach, Chief Migration Officer, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, says, “We are extremely pleased with the success of the e-lodgement process, with over 60 per cent of the total tourist visa applications now received online. The month of November 2017 has witnessed the highest-ever tourist visa lodgements. Online lodgment offers benefits such as 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online. Processing times for these visas will now be faster, as both applications and supporting documentation are immediately available to the processing office.”

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Israel eases visa process for Indian tourists

With an aim to encourage Indian travellers to visit Israel, the country has simplified the visa application procedure for Indian citizens. The relaxed visa rule involves less documentation for Indians who have availed visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada, Australia or Israel and have completed their travel to these countries.  For these travellers, the documents include a valid passport, completed visa application form, two photographs, cover letter with travel information, traveller’s insurance and passport copy. Hassan Madah – Director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, India, says, “Easing the visa requirements will not only make the application process faster but will also increase travel to Israel as well. We are also working on an express service with VFS which will be introduced soon. In addition to this, we are working towards e-visa processing as well as easing the group visa process.” In September this year, one year multiple entry visas for business travellers was introduced. Visa processing is available through VFS processing centres located all over India for the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai and Bengaluru as well as the Embassy of Israel in Delhi.

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Vietnam extends e-visa scheme to India

Vietnam has expanded its e-visa scheme to cover visitors from six more countries, including major tourism markets like Australia and India, taking the total number of countries now to 46. Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UAE are the other four. Vietnam began allowing tourists from 40 countries to apply for e-visas last February, with China, Japan, South Korea, the US, the UK, Germany and Sweden — all major target markets for its tourism sector, among the 40. Of the six new additions, Australians are the seventh biggest group of foreign arrivals and among the top spenders. Visitors can apply online for a 30-day, single-entry visa by paying a non-refundable application fee. It will take applicants three working days to find out if their visa applications have been approved. Visitors with e-visas can enter through eight international airports, 13 international border gates on land or seven ports. Source: Vietnam News  

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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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UAE to add consular offices, visa centres across India

Boosting bilateral engagement with India, the United Arab Emirates will open several new consular centres in India. “Under the present circumstances, if people from Chandigarh, Chennai and Hyderabad want a visa to the UAE, they have to travel to either Mumbai or Delhi or Kerala. So to prevent hardship for the people, we are soon going to open our consular and visa centres in these cities,” said Dr Ahmed Albanna, ambassador of UAE. The UAE will be investing $75 billion of its sovereign wealth fund in the country. The announcement on expanding consular footprint of UAE came even as diplomatic sources confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Abu Dhabi in February 2018. Expansion of consular services of UAE will help the Indians in the country who constitute one of the largest overseas Indian populations. (Source: The Hindu)  

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Gulf Air launches Bahrain Tourist Visa Service

Gulf Air in partnership with VFS Global launched a Bahrain Tourist Visa Service exclusively for the airline’s passengers flying across its global network to Bahrain. Travellers with return tickets of Gulf Air can now conveniently apply for a visa to the Kingdom of Bahrain online via visa.gulfair.com or by visiting their local Gulf Air sales office with the necessary documents no more than 30 days prior to travel to submit their application. Captain Waleed Abdul Hameed Al Alawi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air said, “We are delighted to launch the Bahrain Tourist Visa Service, making the process of obtaining a visa to enter Bahrain easier. We anticipate positive feedback from our customers and look forward to welcoming more people from around the world to Bahrain to experience all that the Kingdom has to offer.” Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global said, “The dedicated online platform not only makes applying for a visa to Bahrain quicker and more convenient than ever before, but also provides passengers with 24×7 accessibility and online tracking of their visas.”  

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VFS opens 16th VAC for Cyprus in India

Expanding its network of Cyprus Visa Application Centres in India, VFS Global has launched new centres for applicants in four additional cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Goa, Gurgaon and Jaipur. The centre in Thiruvananthapuram was inaugurated by Demetrios A. Theophylactou, High Commissioner of Cyprus to India. Theophylactou said, “The opening is quite timely, also due to a noticeable increase in visa related queries from Kerala. I believe that this centre would further enhance visa services and also promote people-to-people contacts, thus contributing to our bilateral relations. The centre would work in close cooperation with the Consular Department of the High Commission to achieve the goal of efficient issuance of visas.” Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global said, “Cyprus is fast emerging as a popular destination of choice for leisure and business travellers from India due to its abundant natural beauty and historical heritage. We are proud to expand the network of Cyprus Visa Application Centres across the South Asia region as a whole.”

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BLS signs contract with Algeria for 5 VACs in India

BLS International Services has signed a contract with Embassy of the People’s Republic of Algeria in India to offer visa outsourcing and consular services through five visa application and attestation centers in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Trivandrum. BLS international is accredited to facilitate Algerian visa processing in India from submission of applications to collection of visas along with attestation services. This contract has been signed to provide efficient visa and attestation services to people traveling to Algeria for business, work or leisure. Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International Services, says, “We cherish the progressive relations with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Algeria and are delighted to have been chosen to provide consular services to them in India. It has been our endeavor to always provide state-of the-art services to our clients by creating value for our stakeholders.” While signing the contract, Algerian Ambassador in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal, H.E Hamza Yahia-Cherif said, “We are pleased to have partnered with BLS International for facilitating Algeria visa processing in India. We hope this association to be fruitful and that it will further strengthen the Algerian-Indian relationship in future.” BLS International shall also aim to provide advance value added services like door-stop delivery / courier facility of passports, SMS, assistance in filling visa application forms, printing and photocopying for the benefit of visa applicants at the premises. All BLS centres are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and trained staff to provide complete hassle free services to visa application.

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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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