Category Archives: Visa

FTAs on eTV witness 58.5 % surge in Jan 2018

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The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in January 2018 was 10.66 lakh as compared to FTAs of 9.83 lakh in January 2017 and 8.45 lakh in January 2016. The growth rate in FTAs in January 2018 over January 2017 was 8.4 per cent, compared to 16.4 per cent in January 2017 over January 2016. During January 2018, a total of 2.40 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1.52 lakh during the month of January 2017 registering a growth of 58.5 per cent. The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during January 2018 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (16.36%) followed by USA (14.10%), UK (10.81%), Canada (4.63%), Russian Federation (4.49%), Australia (3.60%), France (2.76%), Germany (2.64%), Malaysia (2.63%), Sri Lanka (2.59%), China (2.27%), Japan (2.08%), Republic of Korea (1.93%), Afghanistan (1.86%) and Nepal (1.59%). The percentage share of top 15 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during  January, 2018 was as follows: UK (18.6%), USA (10.6%), Russian Fed (6.5%), France (5.4%), Canada (5.3%), China (4.8%), Australia (4.3%), Germany (4.0%), Korea (Rep.of) (3.9%), Oman (3.4%), Italy (2.4%), Thailand (1.9%), Israel (1.4%), Netherlands (1.4%), and South Africa (1.4%). The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during January 2018 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (28.03%) followed by Mumbai Airport (17.47%), Haridaspur Land Check Post (7.63%), Chennai Airport (7.17%), Goa (6.19%), Bengaluru Airport (5.16%), Kolkata Airport (4.81%), Cochin Airport (3.77%), Ahmadabad Airport (3.01%), Hyderabad Airport (2.56%),Gede Rail Land Check Post (1.82%), Trivandrum Airport (1.56%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.25%), Ghojadanga Land Check Post (1.11%), Amritsar Airport (1.01%).

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UK to extend its Registered Traveller Service to Indian nationals

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The UK continues to make improvements to its visa service. The United Kingdom Visa & Immigration (UKVI) has committed to extending the Registered Traveller Service to Indian nationals – an optional membership scheme which provides expedited crossing through the UK border. Registered Travellers are entitled to use the EEA entry lanes, or if they hold an electronic passport, the ePassport gates, and won’t need to routinely fill in a landing card. Moreover, There are more UK Visa Application Centres in India than any other country, including a premium lounge recently opened in Bengaluru. UKVI will also be improving the application process during 2018, with new online forms and upgraded technology to make the experience smoother, easier and more customer-friendly. Tricia Warwick, Interim Director for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, VisitBritain, said, “We want the UK to be a ‘must-go-now’ destination for visitors from India. Making it easy to travel here is an important part of our tourism offer. With our hotels, attractions and shops, all offering great value for Indian visitors right now, it is a great time to come to Britain.” The British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, said, “2017 was a record breaking year for the UK-India relationship, with more Indians travelling to the UK than ever before. In the year ending September 2017 well over half a million visas were issued to Indian nationals and visit visas alone were up by 11% year-on-year. “That is great news for both our countries. We know hundreds of thousands of Indians will travel again in 2018 – and they can expect a quicker visa process if they apply up to three months early and beat the …

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Czech Republic opens first visa centre in Goa

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The Embassy of the Czech Republic has inaugurated the 16th VFS Global Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in India, in Goa. HE Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in India, inaugurated the centre located in Panjim on  January 17, 2018.  He said, “The launch of the Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in Goa reflects the country’s genuine commitment to provide for the growing demands of Visas to the country among Indian tourists, business and culture. As a result of this policy, the Czech Republic has emerged as one of the preferred European destinations for Indian tourists.” The opening of 16 visa application centres in India over a two-year period signifies VFS Global’ s strengthening association with the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, said, “Outbound traffic from India is constantly growing, and the Czech Republic in particular is rapidly gaining popularity as a preferred tourist destination among Indian travel enthusiasts. With India being a large source market for travel to Europe, the new centre will help enhance the visa services network for the Czech Republic visa applicants in the region.” Besides Goa, other cities where applicants can submit visa applications for the Czech Republic are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi,   Puducherry, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram. VFS Global has partnered with the Government of the Czech Republic since 2008, when it first set up visa application operations in Russia. Since then, it has established a robust network of 93 centres across 17 countries for this client government.

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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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