Category Archives: Visa

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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Gulf Air joins hands with VFS Global to provide visa for Bahrain

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Gulf Air has partnered with VFS Global to facilitate visa issuance for passengers flying to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The online visa facility will launch this summer on gulfair.com. Signing the agreement with VFS Global, Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer, Ahmed Janahi, said, “Soon, Gulf Air passengers will be able to easily obtain short term visit visas to Bahrain via our website gulfair.com – allowing them to come to Bahrain and experience all that our Kingdom has to offer in terms of tourism, business opportunities and more.” Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group, says, “We believe the online e-visa platform will make visa application much more convenient for Gulf Air customers, providing them with greater speed and transparency in the process, thereby enhancing their overall experience.” Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, added, “Applying for an eVisa through our dedicated online platform, designed exclusively for Gulf Air passengers, will transform the visa application experience for passengers, offering more customer-centric services. Quicker turnaround times, 24X7 accessibility, and online tracking, amongst other advantages, will make applying for a visa to Bahrain easier than ever before.”

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VFS launches nationwide network of Japan VACs

Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS ¬Global

VFS Global, in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India, is expanding the network of Japan Visa Application Centres across the country, bringing visa application facilities to applicants in 13 additional cities in India. As part of the country-wide rollout, VFS Global launched Visa Application Centres in the South Indian cities of Chennai, Bengaluru, Puducherry, Hyderabad, Cochin and Trivandrum. Earlier this month, on March 10 2017, a centrally-accessible and well-connected centre was launched in Mumbai, and on March 3, 2017, a full-fledged Visa Application Centre started operations in Kolkata. So far, New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Jalandhar were the only cities where applicants could submit Japan visa applications through VFS Global centres. Applicants from other cities in India had to submit their visa applications, either in person or through a travel agent, at the Japanese Consulates in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru or through the submission facilities arranged in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Dehradun, Agra and Guwahati. The network expansion comes close on the heels of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in November 2016. During this visit, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his intention to enhance the bilateral relationship with India by expanding the number of Japan Visa Application Centres for Indian nationals. H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India, said, “India is an important market for the tourism sector in Japan. In 2016, approximately 1, 23, 000 Indians visited Japan. I see enormous potential in the Indian market.  The opening of multiple centres across India is a major step towards enhancing people-to-people exchanges and the cultural relationship between the two countries.” Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS ¬Global, …

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Pune gets a Czech Republic Visa Application Centre

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To make Czech visa application facilities more accessible for residents of Pune, the Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global have launched a Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in the city’s Viman Nagar area. The centre is a part of the modern Joint Visa Application Centre that houses 26 diplomatic missions under one roof. The centre was inaugurated by H.E. Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, at a ceremony held on March 24 , 2017. The inauguration was also attended by other key members from the Embassy and VFS Global. Over the last few months, VFS Global has set up centres in 11 other cities in India to increase accessibility to visa services for applicants across the country. Earlier this month, Czech Republic Visa Application Centres were launched in Jaipur and Kochi on March 02 and March 03 respectively. Applicants earlier had to travel to either Mumbai or Delhi to apply for Czech Republic visas. The setting up of a 12th Visa Application Centre in less than a year since commencement of services for the client government in India, signifies the company’s strengthening association with the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, “We are pleased to further enhance the visa services network for the Czech Republic in India, through this modern visa application facility in Pune. The new centre will serve the ever-increasing volumes of visa applications for the Schengen country, and illustrates the emerging popularity of the Czech Republic as a tourist destination. We are confident that the introduction of professional and hassle-free Czech Republic visa services in Pune will be well-received by …

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Chinese visa application centre comes to CP, Delhi

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The Chinese Visa Application Centre was inaugurated at Shivaji Stadium metro station, Connaught Place, New Delhi, by HE Lua Zhaohui, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to India; Wei Xiaodong, Vice Director-General, Service Bureau for the Foreign Ministry and its Overseas Missions of China; and Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group. Commenting on the launch, the Ambassador said, “This is going to facilitate tourism between the two countries even further. Both countries boast of a huge population and want a better two-way exchange of tourist arrival numbers.” Adding on, Zubin Karkaria stated, “We anticipate strong tourism growth between India and China and this spacious centre will enable us to cater to the rising demand for China visas and simultaneously enhance the applicant’s experience.” On the occasion, the very first ‘China in Luxury’ outlet was also launched in the centre where travellers can avail premium packages for exclusive travel experiences.

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Tourist on e-visa to get free SIM cards

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Welcome kits with pre-loaded SIM cards have been launched by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India, in collaboration with BSNL and Telco for the benefit of foreign tourists visiting the country. “We are glad to be launching this initiative and hope it is a success. Our aim is to make the tourists’ stay in India a good one and their safety and security is our utmost concern. Hence, the sim cards have been preloaded with about Rs. 50 talktime and 50mb data so that they can connect with their loved ones after landing in India,” Sharma said. The kit is currently available at T3, Indira Gandhi International Airport and will subsequently be rolled out to 15 other airports where e-visa facility is accepted. Tourists can avail the free sim card from the Bureau of Immigration at the airport after filling out an information form.

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Bahrain nationals exempted from Belarus visa requirements

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Bahrain is the latest country to be added to Belarus’ list of countries exempted from visa requirements to enter its territories. On January 9, the President of Belarus signed a Decree “On establishing a visa-free order of entrance and departure of foreign citizens”. Under the decree, Bahraini nationals, and nationals from the list of exempted countries, can enter the country for a period of five days and via the international Minsk airport. Visitors to Belarus should also carry documents such as valid passports or any other acceptable travel documents, a minimum sum of money equal to €25($26.6) per day (€125/$133.4 for five days), and at least €10,000 ($10,675.6) health insurance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Also, excluded from the advantages of visa exemption are travellers on official business and travellers with diplomatic or special passports or its equivalent. The visa exemption procedures do not apply to flights departing or coming from Russia through the international Minsk airport. Considered domestic flights by the Government of Belarus, these trips are not subject to audit procedures across the Belarusian border, the ministry added.

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