Category Archives: Visa

Thomas Cook introduces Forex Card mobile app

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Thomas Cook (India) has unveiled a series of innovative mobile-first initiatives: the thomascook.in Holidays, Visa & Forex Online Stores and Apps, iLead-a CRM-integrated Holiday Sales App, Tour Manager App and customer self-service App, Click2Book for business travellers, an advanced web-technology platform Astra, robotics and machine learning, Voyager-a customised holiday bundler, etc. In a strategic move to empower the new age, mobile-first Indian traveller, the company has launched the Thomas Cook Borderless App. The first-of-its-kind app enables its multi-currency Borderless Prepaid Forex Card users to access and manage their Borderless Prepaid Card account anywhere, anytime, from the convenience of a smartphone. Kailash Gupta, Senior Vice President & Head, Payment Solutions Thomas Cook (India), said, “In our digital focus to empower our travellers, we have launched a dedicated app for our Borderless multi-currency prepaid card users. The app, with its real time services, will significantly improve customer experience and enhance convenience and safety-security.”

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Ethiopia initiates e-visa service

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The Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines has recently launched an e-visa service for all international visitors to Ethiopia. The e-visa is processed and issued online on a single webpage where applicants apply, pay and secure their entry visa online. Once the application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorising them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa. Regarding the newly revamped service, Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, remarked, “Ethiopia, the oldest independent civilisation in Africa and one of the oldest in the world, is endowed with historical places, natural beauty, colourful and diverse cultural activities and various endemic wild animals which are of great interest to international tourists. However, we have not made best use of these natural resources to attract large number of tourists. To this effect, this project is part of a new national initiative to transform the tourism sector in the country.” Gebreyohannes Teklu, Director, Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs, commented, “We are glad that we have been working together with Ethiopian Airlines for the effective implementation of e-visa facilities at Bole International Airport. Now international visitors to Ethiopia, from any country in the world will make use of this service.”  

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Israel lowers visa fee to INR 1,100 for Indian travellers

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Israel has reduced its visa fee to INR 1,100 from its previous INR 1,700 charge for Indian citizens.  The move is aimed to encourage more Indian travellers to visit the country. VFS Global currently offers visa processing services for Israeli visas in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. Centres will soon open in Hyderabad and Kolkata to service the residents in these cities, who will not be required to send their documents to the Consulates in Mumbai and Bengaluru or the Embassy in New Delhi. The revised application fee is on the B2 visa category, where a visit to Israel is for purposes including business, meeting or conference or tourism. Commenting on the initiatives, Hassan Madah, Director, Israel Ministry of Tourism – India & Philippines, said, “We are happy to announce the reduction in visa fees for Indian travellers with immediate effect. I am confident that this move will encourage more people to choose Israel as a holiday destination and boost inbound numbers from India. With the ease in visa norms and Fast Track visa processing incorporated earlier this year, we have seen an increase in travel and I am confident that the revised visa fees will help grow these numbers. Besides this, we are working towards e-visa processing as well as easing the group visa process.” He also added, “We have seen tremendous growth in the number of tourists from India in the last three years and 2017 has been the best year so far with close to 60,000 visitors. Our inbound figures have already recorded an increase of 27 per cent (approximately 19,000 travellers) in Indian tourist arrivals from January to April as compared to the same …

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BLS to support Sopra Steria in processing applications for UK

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United Kingdom Visas & Immigration, (UKVI), a division of the UK Home Office, responsible for deciding who can visit and stay within the UK, has awarded Sopra Steria a new contract to enable visa renewals for those individuals who are already in the UK. BLS International Services Limited will be supporting Sopra Steria and UKVI by establishing and delivering some of the key value-added services under the contract. BLS International Services Limited currently handles approximately 12 million visa applications annually across its global network. It will now assist in the processing applications for permission to remain in the UK on behalf of the Home Office. Joint Managing Director of BLS International, Shikhar Aggarwal comments, “We are privileged to be part of this new partnership in the United Kingdom. It reinforces our company’s position within the UK and significantly enhances our stature as a leading service partner to client Governments worldwide. We will deploy our world class solution to provide an innovative and convenient service to the UK Home Office and its applicants.”

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Government garners ₹1,400 crore from e-Visa

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The government earned ₹1,400 crore as revenue from the highly successful e-Visa scheme, offered to citizens of 163 countries visiting India as tourists, since its launch in 2014. The Union Home Ministry officials said 19 lakh tourists made use of the e-Visa scheme in 2017 and it is expected that more than 25 lakh tourists will avail the facility in 2018. Since its launch in 2014, the e-Visa scheme has brought in revenue of more than ₹1,400 crore, a senior Ministry official said. The e-visa fees are divided into four slabs of zero, $25, $50 and $75, which were fixed on reciprocity and depending on nationality. The scheme has been implemented by the foreigners division of the Home Ministry to improve the efficiency and transparency of various services being provided to foreign nationals. The facility is now available for nationals of 163 countries for entry into India through 25 international airports and five sea ports. Under the scheme, an applicant, when an online application is submitted, receives an e-mail authorising him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a printout of this authorisation, another official said. The scheme also covers business and medical categories. Source: PTI

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CKGS opens Thai Visa Application Centre in Chennai

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Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has opened a new Thai Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Chennai last week. The centre located at Wellingdon Estate Building will serve as the Hub VAC for its South India operations. The centre will cater to all categories of visas such as tourist, transit, non-Immigrant, business, work, crew and medical visa. The new centre in Chennai was inaugurated by Her Excellency Krongkanit Rakcharoen, the Consul- General, Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chennai on May 2, 2018 in presence of the senior CKGS officials. Speaking on the occasion, Her Excellency Krongkanit Rakcharoen said, “Thailand has emerged as one of the most favourite destinations for Indians with the number of travellers crossing a million mark. Chennai also contributes significantly with improved air connectivity and increased number of direct flights to Thailand. Considering the growing number of travellers from Chennai, it was essential to start the visa application service centre for this region. With CKGS, we aim to continue hassle-free visa processing for Indian travellers and maintain high professional standards.” Commenting on the opening, Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS, said, “We are expanding out footprints in south India with the commitment to ensure excellent visa services to applicants who want to travel to Thailand.’’ The visa application form can be filled online but the applicants would have to visit the VAC to submit printout of the duly signed application form along with other required documents and collect them once the visa has been issued. The centre is open between Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 17:30 pm. Embassy takes minimum three working days for issuance of visa on receipt of application. CKGS has already opened Thai VACs …

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CKGS opens Morocco visa application centre in Mumbai

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Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has unveiled a new Morocco Visa Application and Information Centre (MVAIC) in Mumbai, which was inaugurated by His Excellency Mohamed Maliki, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, who is based in New Delhi. The new centre is located at Nariman Point and it takes the total of such centres to nine. It currently has centres in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Goa, Indore and Bengaluru. CKGS is set to open a new MVAIC in Hyderabad in June 2018. Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency said, “The ties between Morocco and India go back over several centuries and both the counties have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations over the years. The Government of India and Morocco have agreed on a newly revised air service agreement which will have certainly a positive impact on facilitating and boosting tourist movement between the two countries. Foreseeing the growth in the number of Indians travelling to Morocco, we needed to create a seamless experience for Indian travellers in applying for visas.  The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco is glad to entrust the responsibility to CKGS by appointing them as our representatives to open visa application centres in India.” All centres are open from Monday to Friday between 08:00 – 17:00 hours. He further added. “We want to encourage more and more Indians to consider travelling to Morocco and at the same time provide a faster and reliable experience in applying for visas. To promote Morocco in India, we also have plans to open a full-fledged Moroccan National Tourism Office in Delhi. To invite Indian filmmakers to shoot in Morroco, Moroccan government offers important incentives such as reimbursement of …

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New Zealand introduces new visa process for Indian visitors

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Tourism New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand have launched an extension of the Tourism Industry Partnership (TIP) Programme to facilitate faster processing of visitor visa applications for Indian leisure travellers. Riding on the success of the previous partnership between Immigration New Zealand (INZ), Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and key travel agents, the Tourism Industry Partnership (TIP) Programme has now been extended to leisure agents. The previous programme was launched in November 2014 and focused on the business and incentive travel sector. With this new arrangement, Indian leisure travellers will benefit from a more streamlined visa service, with a faster processing time of three days, compared to the previous online application processing time of 15 days. Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South and South-East Asia, Tourism New Zealand, said, “This new visa process will make it even easier for Indian travellers to experience New Zealand.  India is an important market for Tourism New Zealand and it is pleasing to see the increase in the number of Indians choosing New Zealand as their favoured destination. This agreement will ensure that New Zealand welcomes even more high calibre visitors.” Commenting on this, Marcelle Foley, Head, Operations Immigration New Zealand, said, “We have enjoyed the opportunity to partner with Tourism New Zealand and key players in the Indian travel trade to make it even easier for Indian business event travellers to visit New Zealand. ”

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UK extends 24-hour visa service to Pune and Bengaluru

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UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has announced an extension of the Super Priority Visa service (SPV) to Pune and Bengaluru, meaning that more Indians can get a visa decision in 24 hours or less. SPV is an optional service for customers in India who need to travel to the UK urgently. Pune and Bengaluru add to the three locations this service is already offered – Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. SPV applications are assessed to exactly the same high standard as all other applications but are handled by UKVI at the highest priority, with dedicated staff members processing cases at the front of the queue and an express courier service ensuring quick return to the customer. This means that the 24-hour turnaround is achievable and secure. Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes said, “I am pleased that the Super Priority Visa service is being extended to even more Indian cities, giving many more UK visa customers the opportunity to receive a visa decision in 24 hours or less if needed. India was the first country in the world to receive this service in 2013 – and is once again leading the way as two more cities – Pune and Bengaluru – receive this first class visa service. This is further proof of the strength of the UK-India relationship and of the focus by UKVI on providing a convenient, world-class experience for Indian visa applicants.” The extension of this service aims to support the UK-India Technology Partnership, which will include establishing ‘tech clusters’ in these strategically important cities. This brings the total number of locations Indian nationals can use the SPV service to five, supporting the ‘Living Bridge’ between our two countries and facilitating …

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Conference visa for India to soon go online

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In a landmark decision, post efforts by India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB), the Ministry of Home Affairs will shortly launch an online module for submission of applications by the organisers of international conferences for seeking clearance from the Ministry. The clearance will be generated through the online system and sent to organisers. A copy of the clearance will also be endorsed to all Indian Missions/Posts. Commenting on the same, Chander Mansharamani, Vice Chairman, ICPB, said, “It’s a great news for all of us in the convention industry. We have been persistently following up with the Ministry of Tourism on the need for grant of conference visa. We are sure this will help us to bring in more number of international conferences to India in the future.” Ministry of Tourism has informed that revised instructions have been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India vide circular number No 25022/8/2018-FCC, dated February 28, 2018, relating to the grant of Conference Visa to foreign nationals coming to India to attend international conferences/seminars/workshops. It states that as per para 13.5 of Chapter 13 of the new Visa Manual pertaining to the Conference Visa. Prior clearance of the Ministry of Home Affairs for holding an event (international conference/ seminar/ workshop) is required only if the event falls within the following parameters as mentioned in para 13 3 of the Visa Manual – (a) If there are participants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistani origin and Stateless persons; and (b) If the participant of conferences /seminars /workshops are required to visit ‘Restricted’ or ‘Protected’ areas in India. or areas affected b y terror ism, militancy and extremism etc. viz. Jammu & …

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