Category Archives: Visa

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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India allows 5-year multiple entry visa to Thai nationals

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The Government of India has liberalised its visa policy for Thai nationals. It has decided to grant five-year multiple entry Tourist Visa and five-year multiple entry Business visa to Thai nationals with immediate effect with continuous stay of 90 days during each visit. It has also started Express visa service where visa will be issued by next working day. Separate Immigration counters and facilitation desks will be provided for Medical Visa. This service will initially be available at international airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

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Now, travel visa free on diplomatic, special & official passports to UAE

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The Government of India and the Government of UAE have signed an MoU on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements to the holders of diplomatic, special and official passports. The agreement allows holders of diplomatic, special and official passports visa free travel between the two countries. This was a part of several list of agreements/MOUs exchanged during the State visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India. He was the Chief Guest in the Republic Day celebrations.

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BLS to open 150 VACs for Spain in 45 countries

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After bagging the contract from Spain MAEC (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation – Spain), BLS International will open nearly 150 Spanish Visa Application Centres in 45 countries to support the Spanish Embassies and Consulates globally. Out of a total 128 Spanish Visa Centres, 53 are already operational from December 2016, and together the company expects to process approximately 1.8 million applications annually. The five-year contract is worth 175 million euro (Rs 1,300 crore). Recently, BLS International also announced the renewal order for four years from Russia and Singapore for outsourcing services to the Indian Embassies and Consulates. Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director and Additional Director, BLS International Services Limited said, “Through our association with Spain government, we intend to provide Spanish Visa’s effortlessly accessible by providing services in many small countries like Algeria, Ecuador, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Mauritania etc. We aim at expanding our foreign mission category by bagging global contracts particularly from Thailand and Canada governments, via a competitive process.”

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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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