Category Archives: Visa

Tourism is the future of India: Alphons at 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit

Addressing delegates during the inaugural ceremony of 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit in Delhi, KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) Tourism, said that tourism is the future of India. “Tourism is the future of the country. Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) have gone up by 14 per cent, while the global figures were at 7 per cent. Approximately, 84 million people are currently employed by the tourism industry across the country,” he said. Suggesting ways to keep tourists for longer in the country, he said, “We are also thinking in terms of further visa reforms. I think Yoga and Ayurveda are the two things that can bring wellness and help us to keep tourists for longer in our country. Tourism is about jobs, money and bringing the world together. We have ambitous targets and we all can achieve them together.”

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UK registers 10 per cent growth in Indian visit visas from October 2017 to September 2018

Indian visitors and tourist numbers saw a strong growth with visit visas increasing by 10 per cent to 468,923 from October 2017 to September 2018, according to the latest report on Immigration Statistics published by the Home Office. This was the largest absolute increase for any country and means that over one in five UK visit visas are going to Indian nationals. Commenting on the figures, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, the British High Commissioner to India, said, “This update provides yet more evidence that the UK is open to Indian business, students and tourists. I’m particularly pleased by the 33 per cent increase in Indian students, which means thousands more young Indians are making the most of the UK’s world-class education system.” Moreover, Indian student numbers have strongly increased for the second year in a row. About 18,735 Indian nationals were granted a Tier IV student visa in the year ending September 2018. This was a 33 per cent increase compared to the the previous year – which was in itself a 27 per cent increase on the year before that.      

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VFS Global to provide visa services for the Netherlands in eight regions, including India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has awarded VFS Global the global tender to provide visa services in eight out of nine regions worldwide. It will operate for the Netherlands government in Africa, North America, Central and South America, Asia and Pacific, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Western Europe, and India. VFS Global has worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2006 and will provide Schengen visa services, Caribbean visa services, long-stay national visas, Dutch Travel Documents and Civic Integration Exams under the new contract. Chris Dix, Head—Business Development, VFS Global, said, “VFS Global is delighted that we will continue to serve the Netherlands Government. We have enjoyed a strong partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for well over a decade, and welcome this opportunity to enhance our service capabilities on their behalf. We look forward to opening our facilities in 40 new locations to offer Netherlands visa applicants best-in-class visa solutions and a seamless application process.” Since August 2018, VFS Global has signed visa service contracts with nine existing and new clients, and governments from Europe to extend their visa service network. This includes contracts to provide additional visa services for client governments such as Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and The Czech Republic.

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Thailand offers free visa-on-arrival from today

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced granting a visa-on-arrival fee waiver for tourists from 20 countries, including India. From November 15, 2018 to January 13, 2019, citizens of Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (including Taiwan), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the 2,000 Baht visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand for not more than 15 days. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, TAT, said, “This is good news for Thailand’s tourism industry as we’re preparing a range of year-end activities and promotions, including the launch of Amazing Thailand Grand Sale ‘Passport Privilege’ during the same period.” Tourism promotions and events in the pipeline between now and January next year also include the New Year Electronic Music Festival in Pattaya from December 30-31, and TAT will hold the countdown celebration in five destinations in the five regions of Thailand: Chiang Rai in the north, Nakhon Phanom in the northeast, Ratchaburi in the central region, Satun with its world-renowned geopark in the south and Sa Kaeo in the east.

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Slovakia to operate 38 new VACs in 10 countries including India

VFS Global has signed a contract with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic for providing visa services in 10 countries including India. The other countries to get visa application centres for Slovakia via VFS Global are China, Kazakhstan, Palestine, Belarus, Russia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt. The rollout of 38 visa application centres is expected to be completed by December 2018. Under the new contract, VFS Global will accept both short and long-term visa applications on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Chris Dix, Head – Business Development, VFS Global, said, “We are excited about our new partnership with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. The countries where we will be operating are markets where VFS Global has worked for several years and whose travellers are familiar with our services and expertise. We are also pleased to have the opportunity to serve our new clients in new locations, and bring applicants in these locations the same benefits and high-quality service that we have been offering our customers worldwide for the last 17 years.”

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Doha offers visa-free arrival for Indians

Citizens of India can now be granted a visa waiver for a period of 30 days on their arrival in Qatar, upon certain conditions. The passenger’s passport must be valid for at least six months and must have a confirmed return ticket. He/she must have a valid credit card. (For a family travelling together, the card must be in the name of the passenger or one per family). Passengers should also provide a confirmed hotel reservation.

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Visitors with e-visa can visit India via Madurai airport

Amid growing demands, the Government of India has included Madurai airport in the list of entry points where persons holding e-visa can enter India. According to a circular released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, visitors holding valid e-visa can enter the country without going to the nearby airport with e-visa on arrival facility. This facility is expected to benefit a large number of tourists from Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Mauritius, the US and the UK. Overall fourth in Tamil Nadu, the Madurai airport is the 26th airport to get the facility in the country.

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VFS Global signs visa service contracts with eight European governments

In August and September 2018, VFS Global signed eight contracts with existing and new client governments to extend their visa service network. As per the new contracts, VFS Global will now provide visa services for Belgium in Rwanda; Estonia in China, India, Belarus, Turkey, and Russia; Germany in China and 13 other countries in South East Asia; Hungary in India, Belarus, Kazakhstan; Italy in Bahrain and Ecuador; Lithuania in Ukraine; Slovenia in 13 countries (Australia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, Iran, Kosovo, Mexico, New Zealand, Serbia, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA); and the Czech Republic in Vietnam, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. VFS Global plans to open an additional 97 visa application centres to meet the requirements of the new contracts and offers applicants a convenient and easy visa application process in these additional countries. The roll-out of all new operations is expected to be completed by mid-2019. Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group said, “VFS Global is grateful for the trust and goodwill the European member states have placed in us over the years. With the recent renewal of our relationship with eight European governments across multiple regions, we are pleased to offer our high quality visa services to many more visa applicants.” Chris Dix, Head–Business Development, VFS Global, said, “This has been a great quarter for VFS Global. Today, VFS Global is the trusted partner of 61 client governments, in large part due to our uncompromising approach to using technology as a key business driver.”

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Indian nationals eligible for Turkish e-Visa now

Indian nationals having supporting document are now eligible for Turkish e-Visa – equivalent to the sticker visa issued at Turkish missions. Getting e-visa costs 45 USD less than sticker visa and it takes only 3 minutes at the said website. Turkish mission in India delegates no handling company for e-visa. One needs to log on to official web site https://www.evisa.gov.tr. Turkish e-visa is only valid when the purpose of travel is tourism or commerce. For other purposes, such as work and study, Turkish Embassy or Consulates will issue visa. E-visa kiosks at any airport in Istanbul will not be available after October 28, 2018. One needs to get e-visa before departure to Turkey.

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Tourism from India to Russia grows 27.5 per cent

At the recently-concluded Round Table on Tourism on the sidelines of the Russian Indian Summit 2018, Ivan Breganov, Regional Manager of IFS (Russian Visa Center) confirmed that the number of tourist visas issued from January to September 2018 has already surpassed the total number of visas issued in 2017, pegging the YoY growth around 27 per cent. The round table was organised by Russia Expo Center, Moscow along with Russian Information Center, Mumbai (RIC) with more than 120 trade professionals from India attending along with TAAI MC Member Rajan Sehgal and EEMA Executive Vice President Sanjiv Pasricha making the keynote address along with Timur Vekilov, Chief Representative in India of Russ Expo Center. The round table moderated by Paresh Navani, Director, Russ Information Center discussed the needs and special services required by Indians and ways to address the same. In this regard, Russ Information Center announced the pre-launch of Ural Airlines set to begin operations from March 24, 2019 connecting Mumbai to Yekaterinburg and Moscow along with some tourism products to take advantage of the new airline service between the two countries, further RIC presented its ‘Indian Friendly’ programme to the Indian travel trade, the Indian friendly programme trains Russian hotels on Indian culture, cooking Indian dishes and ensure that other specific needs are provided to Indians in Russia. Another point noted by the attendees was that tourists from Russia to India has also grown over the last years by around 29 per cent, showing good recovery of arrival compared to the past few years.

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