Category Archives: Visa

Oman eases visa rules for Indians

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Oman is granting non-sponsored tourist visa for the citizens of India, China and Russia who reside in or hold an entry visa to one of these countries – USA, Canada, Australia, UK and Schengen states – to enter the Sultanate of Oman. These revised terms and conditions were issued by the Omani authorities. The issued statement indicated that the visa shall be granted for a period of one month for a fee of OMR 20. The spouse and children of the visa holder would also be allowed to enter the Sultanate while accompanying them. Applicants must also have a return ticket and confirmed hotel reservation in order to be granted the visa. Salim Adi Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotion, from the Ministry of Tourism in Oman, said, “With the revision in visa regulations, we are expecting that Indian arrivals across all segments will grow exponentially – especially leisure and visitors to conventions and exhibitions. We aim to expand our travel and tourism offerings and are certain that the revised policies will offer expediency and convenience to travellers and will encourage more impromptu trips to the Sultanate.” Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, Ministry of Tourism, Oman, said, “The outbound segment in India is on a rise with the Indian economy booming and increasingly better standards of living. Most Indians typically travel for three to five nights as they want to experience Muscat and beyond. We are certain that the recent change in policies will be favourable for the Indian travellers and Sultanate will see a positive growth in this upcoming festive and holiday season.”  

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Czech Republic visa application centre steps into Gurugram

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To ease the visa application process for potential travellers from the surrounding regions of Delhi/NCR, the Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global have opened a Visa Application Centre in Gurugram. Earlier this month, visa applications centres were also opened for the Czech Republic in Chandigarh and Jalandhar. H.E. Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, said, “The Gurugram centre marks the launch of another important location within Delhi & NCR where people can submit their Schengen visa applications for travel to the Czech Republic via VFS Global. We thus continue to deliver on our promises. This is not the end of our endeavours, as we will soon announce the opening of additional Czech Visa Applications Centres in the market.” Since VFS Global first launched visa application centres for the Czech Republic in India around two years ago, the company has opened centres across several cities in the country, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Puducherry, Thiruvananthapuram, Pune, Jalandhar and Chandigarh. The newest centre in Gurugram highlights the destination’s growing popularity among Indian travel enthusiasts. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, said, “It is our privilege to be the trusted partner of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in India. The extension of our association with this esteemed client across the region reflects their faith in our ability to provide services to enhance the visa application experience for travellers. In view of the increase in travel to the Czech Republic, we are confident our efforts will make the travel experience seamless and smooth.” In addition to visa services, VFS Global was selected as the official …

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Indian visa to cost 50% more

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The Indian government has reportedly increased the visa fee in different categories for nationals from the US, the UK, Canada, Israel, Iran and UAE. As per a government notification, a tourist visa up to one year will now cost $153 from the earlier $100. The tourist visa for over a year and up to five years will cost $306 instead of $120. Mainly affecting foreigners who work in the country, the move comes about as a reciprocal measure, since countries like the US, New Zealand, and Australia have planned or already implemented such processes. However, UK nationals, who used to cough up $162 for a tourist visa up to a year, will now pay $248. And for a five year tourist visa, they will pay $741 instead of $484. For employment visa, nationals from Canada, Ireland, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand will now pay $459 instead of $300 for a visa spanning over a year and up to five years. Israelis continue to cough up the most for a short-term visa. They will now pay $1,714 instead of $1,120.

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Germany Visa application centre unveiled in Bengaluru

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The new Germany Visa Application Centre was formally inaugurated in Langford Town by representatives from the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bengaluru, on June 23, 2017. Margit Hellwig-Bötte, Consul General of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bengaluru, and Jürgen Pengel, Consul and Head of the Consular Department of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bengaluru, inaugurated the centre. Services at the spacious new facility, which moved from its earlier location in Shivaji Nagar, commenced in March this year. The centre is located at No. 11, First Floor, Global Tech Park, O’ Shaughnessy Road, Langford Town and houses visa operations of 31 diplomatic missions (including Germany) under one roof. With more counters for applicants and expansive waiting and registration areas, the new centre has a larger Premium Lounge for applicants looking for more personalised assistance. An ATM has also been installed within the premises for the convenience of all applicants. Germany visa applicants can avail of separate submission counters, biometric booths, and dedicated services in the Premium Lounge. They can make payments by credit and debit card (in addition to cash payments) at this centre.

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Peru exempts visa for short-stay Indian travellers

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Peru, has decided to exempt the requirement of business and tourist visas to certain Indian citizens whose duration of stay is up to 180 days as maximum, whether continuous stay or various visits during the period of one year. The stay will be determined in the port of entry by the Immigration Officers. These rules have been effective since March 27, 2017. Others who are also exempted from visa include holders of valid visa of USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen countries, with a validity of at least six months (excluding transit visas), and those who are permanent residents, accredited with the document of permit (Green Card) in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen space countries.

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From July 1, no departure cards for Indian travellers

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According to an order issued by the Union Home Ministry, from July 1, Indians flying abroad will not have to fill departure cards. “It has been decided to discontinue the practice of filling up of the departure card by Indians at all international airports with effect from July 1, 2017.” This is one of the steps by the government to ensure hassle-free movement of Indians travelling abroad. However, those going out of the country via rail, seaport and land immigration check-posts need to fill the embarkation card. The Home Ministry has said that the information shared by the passengers is available in the system from other sources as well. This would reduce the time required to complete immigration related formalities by passengers and would also allow airports to handle larger number of people.

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Indians can now apply online for Australian visa from July 1, 2017

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The Australian High Commission and Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection have announced that all Indian nationals will be able to lodge visitor visa applications for Australia online from July 1, 2017. The Acting Australian High Commissioner to India, Chris Elstoft, said eligible Indian nationals can now apply online for a visitor visa through the Department’s ImmiAccount portal. Online application 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. With the applicant’s permission, the online form can be completed by a third party such as a family member here or in Australia, a travel agent, or its contracted visa application centre, VFS. “With the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination, there has been a significant rise in demand for Australian visas in India. There were more than 265,000 Indian visitor arrivals from July-Mar 2017, an increase of 15.4 per cent compared to the same period last year,” he adds.

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Now, US Visa to include social media info

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A new enforcement by the Trump administration includes a new extreme visa screening process for foreign nationals–—including those from India–—under which applicants might be asked to share information regarding their social media accounts, emails and telephone numbers. The State Department, which issues visas to foreign nationals through its diplomatic missions across the world, said that it started implementing this new change from May 25. But these additional questions would be asked only in extreme circumstances, it said. “The additional questions apply to nationals of every country worldwide, including Indian nationals, but only when a consular officer determines that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” Will Cocks, a State Department spokesman, told PTI. The State Department took these measures after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in this regard. “In accordance with the president’s March 6, 2017 memorandum on enhancing the screening and vetting of applications for visas, the Department of State has begun collecting additional information from visa applicants worldwide when a consular officer determines that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” he said. Such visa applicants will be asked to provide additional information, including their social media handles, prior passport numbers, additional information about family members, and a longer history of past travel, employment and contact information, Cocks said.

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Mumbai Port to get e-visa facility from December

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Mumbai Port will soon be among the three Indian ports in the country that will be able to offer e-visa facilities to international cruise passengers. N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region and Regional Chapter Chairman, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), says, “I was part of the meeting between Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, and the Bureau of Immigration officials who have principally agreed to allow the port to offer e-visa facilities by December, 2017. Currently, only Mangalore, Goa and Kochi offer this.” Talks are on to offer this service from Chennai seaport soon. Foreigners will then be able to enter India through five seaports — Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Goa and Mangalore — with electronic visa (e-visa), in addition of 16 airports where the facility is available.

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Qatar Airways offers free stay, transit visa for Doha layovers

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Qatar Airways is inviting travellers to turn their layover into a stay-over with discounted fares and a free-of-charge hotel stay and transit visa when stopping over in Doha. Travellers can now enjoy discounts of up to 50 per cent on flights on board the airline’s award-winning Business Class from May 9-22, 2017, for travel until June 21, 2017. Passengers are also invited to add Doha to their travel plans and experience a true taste of Arabian hospitality with a free one night hotel stay in one of the capital’s luxurious four or five-star hotels and a free transit visa. Passengers can enjoy the world’s best Business Class with fares from India to the Americas (starting from INR 180,000), Africa (starting from INR 100,000), and Europe (starting from INR 150,000). “We are delighted to be able to offer our passengers fantastic offers on flights on our award-winning premium class cabins. This unique offer will allow them to extend their layover into a stay-over, giving them the opportunity to experience the many delights Qatar has to offer,” said Ehab Amin, Chief Commercial Officer, Qatar Airways.

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