Category Archives: Visa

FTAs on e-TV witnessed 48.3% growth in December y-o-y

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The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in December 2017 was 11.76 lakh as compared to FTAs of 10.21 lakh in December 2016 and 9.13 lakh in December 2015. The growth rate in FTAs in December 2017 over December 2016 has increased to 15.2 per cent, compared to 11.9 per cent in December 2016 over December 2015. FTAs in 2017 were 101.77 lakh with a growth of 15.6 per cent over 2016, compared to FTAs of 88.04 lakh with a growth of 9.7 per cent in 2016 over 2015. The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (19.04%) followed by USA (16.90%), UK (10.41%), Australia (5.31%), Canada (3.85%), Russian Fed. (3.79%), Malaysia (3.11%), Germany (2.08%), China (2.06%), Sri Lanka (2.01%), Singapore (1.85%), France (1.81%), Japan (1.64%), Thailand (1.60%) and Italy (1.44%). The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December 2017 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (25.80%) followed by Mumbai Airport (17.31%), Haridaspur Land Check Post (9.75%), Chennai Airport (6.36%), Bengaluru Airport (5.33%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport, (5.29%), Kolkata Airport (4.95%), Cochin Airport (3.92%), Hyderabad Airport (3.02%), Ahmadabad Airport (2.63%), Gede Rail Land Check Post (1.94%), Trivandrum Airport, Trichy Airport (1.44%), Ghojadanga Land Check Post (1.26%) and Sonauli Land Check Post (1.14%).

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Online visas help increase Australia’s rising Indian tourist arrivals

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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 simplifies visa process for Indian tourists

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To encourage more Indian travellers to visit Israel, the country has eased 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, “This is an initiative we have been working very closely with Interior Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry to introduce in India and I am happy to see this change for the Indian travellers who wish to travel to Israel.  Easing the visa requirements will not only make the application process faster, I am confident it 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.  The Ministries are working with the VFS offices to introduce express visa services, which will be available to applicants for an additional fee.

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Vietnam extends e-visa scheme to India

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Vietnam has expanded its e-visa scheme to cover visitors from six more countries, including major tourism markets 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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UAE to open consular offices, visa centres in India

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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.

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Norway to continue visa processing with VFS

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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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VFS opens 16th VAC for Cyprus in India

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VFS Global has expanded the network of Cyprus Visa Application Centres in India with centres for applicants now launched in four additional cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Goa, Gurugram, and Jaipur. The centre in Thiruvananthapuram was inaugurated by Demetrios A. Theophylactou, High Commissioner of Cyprus to India. This takes the total number of visa centres for Cyrus to 16 in India. Earlier, applicants in Thiruvananthapuram were required to travel to Chennai to complete their visa application process for Cyprus. Theophylactou said, “It is a pleasure to inaugurate the Cyprus Visa Application Centre, operated by VFS Global. The opening is quite timely, also due to a noticeable increase in visa related queries from Kerala. I do believe that this centre would further expand and enhance visa services and also promote people-to-people contacts, thus contributing to our bilateral relations. Kerala is a major state with a large percentage of human capital working abroad; therefore, the centre fulfils a vital service with respect to the provision of information and guidelines to applicants who intend on visiting Cyprus for tourism, business, study, as well as employment purposes. The centre would work in close cooperation with the Consular Department of the High Commission to achieve the goal of timely and efficient issuance of visas.” VFS Global has served the Government of Cyprus in India since 2015. Globally, the company serves the client government since 2010, through a network of 21 Visa Application Centres in seven countries. 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. As …

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VFS Global likey to expand Thailand VACs to 13 Indian cities

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VFS Global recently received authorisation from the Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi and its Consulates in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai to process Thailand Visa Application Centres across India. In order to provide convenience to the travellers from across East, West, North and South India, VFS Global has expanded its network of Thailand Visa Application Centres to 13 cities. VFS Global has already been servicing Thailand visas in East, North and South India, with centres in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Kochi and Chandigarh. With the addition of operations in Western India, travellers can now also apply for a Thailand visa at any one of the VFS Global Thailand Visa Application Centres in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Goa. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, says, “Thailand has long been a popular destinati0n for Indian travellers, and a long-standing partner of VFS Global. For well over a decade, we have proudly served The Royal Thai Embassy and The Royal Thai Consulate General in India, with nine centres. It is therefore an honour to announce that VFS Global has been authorised to expand its Thailand visa services across India through its network of visa centres in 13 cities.”  

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Singapore most powerful passport, India at number 75

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According to Passport Index developed by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, Singapore tops the rank of being the most powerful passport in the world under the Global Passport Power Rank 2017. This ranks passports of the world by their total visa-free score. Singapore is closely followed by Germany, Sweden and South Korea who are tied at number three, followed by eight other countries holding the number four spot jointly. The Indian passport appears at number 75 with a visa-free score of 51, ranking even lower than African countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Some of the countries with a lower ranking than India are Egypt, Bhutan Cambodia, Jordon and our neighbours Sri Lanka and Nepal. The last on the list is Afghanistan with a score of 22 preceded by Iraq and Pakistan with a joint visa-free score of 26.

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Ethiopia offers e-visas to MICE participants

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Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs main Department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines Group has launched e-visa services for African and international participants of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions held in Ethiopia effective September 20, 2017. With this, MICE travellers to Ethiopia will be able to issue their visas online, book, pay and check-in their flight with Ethiopian, all online. Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebre Mariam, remarked, “With the immense potential for conference tourism, Ethiopia has still a lot to do to tap into the sector and the launching of an e-visa service for MICE is an impetus for the exponential demand of Ethiopia’s conference tourism; saving time and cost besides inducing a modern online visa application process with more simplicity and efficiency. Further facilitating passengers travel experience, Ethiopian offers special fares and discounts besides availing custom designed tour packages to the various breathtaking tourist sites in the country. I wish to take this opportunity to thank our IT team and our colleagues at Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs main Department for a remarkably gratifying collaboration.” Ethiopia has availed an e-visa service for international visitors to Ethiopia effective June 12, 2017. Gebreyohannes Teklu, Director, Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs, said, “The introduction of e-visa for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions will provide travelers with a fast and convenient way to apply for a visa and initiate their travel to Ethiopia while ensuring absolute security of sensitive information. This is important milestone for Ethiopia being capital of Africa to serve various African Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.”  

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