Category Archives: Visa

VFS Global launches Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in Ahmedabad

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The Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global have launched a Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in Ahmedabad. The centre was inaugurated by H.E. Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, at a ceremony on January 9, 2017. Ahmedabad is the seventh city in India where VFS Global has launched a Visa Application Centre for the Czech Republic, in the last one year. Earlier, applicants from Ahmedabad seeking a Schengen visa (if the main country of travel to Europe was the Czech Republic) were required to travel to Mumbai or New Delhi for the same. Hovorka said, “Yet again, we continue to expand our footprints in the seventh major city in India, where people can submit their Schengen visa applications for travel to the Czech Republic by going to the visa centre of VFS Global…our endeavours sees no limit as we will announce the opening of additional Czech Visa Applications Centres soon.”

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Over 1.5 lakh medical tourists in India in 2016: MHA report

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Medical tourism in India has been growing year after year with 1,76,683 medical tourists in 2016, as compared to 1,34,344 in 2015, and 76,680 in 2014, as per a report by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The newly launched e-medical visa is expected to give further boost the segment which allows a triple entry as against the previous single entry, and a six-month duration that can be extended on case-to-case basis. In emergency cases, the medical visa can be approved within 48 hours. Medical attendants will be granted an attendant visa where two attendants are allowed, excluding Pakistan and Bangladesh. Separate counters for the efficient clearance and facilitation of medical visa is also being set up.

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India paves way to e-business, e-medical and e-tourist visa

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India’s e-visa will now have three components — e-tourist visa, e-medical visa, e-buisness visa. Talking about the various changes in e-visa, Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, says, “For the first time in this country, medical visa is going the electronic way and so is the case with business visa. This has been one of the biggest landmark decisions, and it’s going to catapult Indian tourism into a new orbit. The best thing is that the initial period of application, which used to be 30 days, has been extended to 120 days, which is logical, especially for foreigners who plan their travel much in advance.” Talking about the extension of eTV, Zutshi says, “The validity of eTV was just 30 days and it’s been increased to 60 days now. Also, when tourists come to India, they would like to visit other countries of Southeast Asia and come back. We have made e-tourist visa and e-business visa double entry. For e-medical visa, the government has provided triple entry, which is a redeeming feature. Film visa has also been streamlined and rationalised, which has come at the right time and would encourage filming in India.”

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Eight countries added to e-visa list

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The visa services, which have been expanded for tourism, medical and business purposes, has been extended to eight countries namely Angola, Rwanda, Niger, Cyprus, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Mali and Burundi, revealed Vinod Zutshi, Secretary – Tourism, Govt. of India. “Apart from this, we are also working on extending the e-tourist visa for five other countries among which Italy, Slovak Republic, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are included,” he said at a closed-door meeting held in New Delhi. With this announcement, the total count of countries that can avail the e-visa services is 158.

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Five seaports to receive tourists with e-Visa

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The Union Cabinet have now allowed foreigners to immigrate with e-visas at Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Goa and Mangalore ports. The five additional ports of entry are over and above the 16 designated airports from where e-visa holders can enter India. The freshly-approved liberalised visa policy has also revised the annual income threshold for employment visa from the existing $25,000 to Rs 16.25 lakh. E-visa can now be applied for up to 120 days in advance. To facilitate medical tourism on e-visa, the new visa policy proposes separate immigration counters for medical tourists and three entries during the 60-day duration as against dual entry allowed for other e-visa categories. Also, for emergency business visits and medical treatment, e-visas shall be issued within 48 hours of submission of the application.

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ATPI On the Go for business travellers

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To make travel more efficient for its clients, the ATPI Group through the new version of its popular ATPI On The Go mobile app will now sync traveller profiles across all proprietary systems. To ensure due diligence is paid to travellers’ duty of care, ATPI On The Go includes a travel directory of local emergency contact details around the world.  A useful mobile wallet function is also available where travellers can store photocopies of passports and visas, a facility which can prove vital in the case of lost or stolen documents. Essential for busy travellers, the app has the ability to push notifications when flights are delayed and to browse all itinerary elements – including flight, rail, hotel and car reservations – all in one place. Kiran Vinchhi, Regional Managing Director, ATPI India, said: “By developing innovative mobile solutions and applications, we are pleased to be able to give our clients the ability to efficiently contour their booking options.”

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E-visa services extended for business, conference and medical purposes

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The e-tourist visa (eTV) has been revised to include travellers visiting India for business, conference, tourism, and medical purposes under one category, confirmed Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. “It will now be termed e-visa and will be valid for 60 days, as opposed to the earlier duration of 30 days. Travellers will also be able to apply for the e-visa four months in advance and will be granted a double-entry for tourism and business, and three entries for medical purposes,” Billa said. As per the Cabinet decision, the e-visa scheme will be extended to eight more countries, taking the total number of nations that avail the facility to 158. The liberalisation of visa services is expected to stimulate economic growth, increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical value travel and travel on account of business and to make ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ and other such flagship initiatives of the government successful.

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VFS launches France Visa Application Centre in Muscat

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The residents of the Sultanate of Oman can now apply for visas to France at the visa application centre launched for the Embassy of France in the capital city of Muscat. Applicants can visit VFS Global’s centre to submit visa applications and enrol for bio-metrics. The Muscat centre is conveniently located in main city centre at Level 1, Tilal Office, Muscat Grand Mall, Dohat Al Adab Street, Al Khuwair, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Services at the centre had commenced on November 8, 2016.

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Electronic chips in Indian passports by 2017

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The centre has plans to issue chip embedded e-passports that can be incorporated with passports to verify information electronically, by next year. Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh has said that fully digital passports that could be even carried in mobile phones would be introduced in the second phase. He said that facilities for e-passports are being installed and it is expected that all fresh passports to be issued from next year would have the chips incorporated in it. The minister also said that once the delay in police verification process is sorted out through electronic passing of information, the time required for issuing passports could be minimised.

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Malaysian visa fee goes up from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 5,600

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Indians planning their next vacation in Malaysia will have to pay a total of Rs. 5,600 per person starting September 15, 2016. The earlier fee was Rs. 3,500. The Malaysia High Commission has outsourced its visa processing to One Stop Centre Malaysia Visa (OSC) with effect from September 15, 2016. Applicants will now have to bear a total cost of Rs. 5,600 (Visa fees: Rs. 1000 and Processing fees: Rs. 4,600). The processing time of the applications will be five working days for all categories.

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