Having taken into account feedback from concerned tour operators regarding new rules for Indian visas, the High Commission clarified on Friday its new process for tourist visa applications.
It is no longer introducing biometric testing or requiring every applicant to attend an application centre in person. Applications will also be accepted through post and courier.
For a full description of the new process, see the website of the visa handling company VFS Global http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/Tourist.html.
The Q&A below was prepared and released by the High Commission of India.
Q: Have visa services been outsourced to the service provider?
A: The process of collection of visa applications and disbursal of processed passports has been outsourced to VF Worldwide Holdings Ltd. (VFW), with effect from March 1, 2015. VFW operates 14 visa application centres in the UK. A list of all visa application centres and the process of applying for visa services is available on the VFW website http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk.
Q: Is biometric data collection mandatory while applying for a visa?
A: Biometric data collection has not been introduced.
Q: Do I need to visit a VFW application centre in person for submitting a visa application?
A: Personal presence of an applicant for submitting a visa application is not mandatory. A family member or a nominee is entitled to submit a visa application on behalf of the applicant, provided he/she is able to produce a letter of authorisation signed by the applicant.
Q: Do I need to book a prior appointment before visiting a VFW application centre for submitting a visa application?
A: Yes. All applicants/authorised nominees, except in emergency cases (medical/health) are required to book a prior online appointment to submit visa applications at the VFW centre to ensure faster and reliable service.
Q: How can I book a prior appointment before visiting a VFW application centre for submitting a visa application?
A: Prior appointments with VFW can be booked online by following the instruction for “Appointment & Online Payment” link on the website of the service provider. Please be advised that while booking an appointment, you would need to provide the GBR number located on your filled-in online visa application form and your passport number.
Q: Can I submit a visa application through post/courier?
A: Yes. However, applications received through post/courier would need additional processing time of at least two weeks. It is further clarified that incomplete/incorrect applications would be returned. To avoid such inconvenience, it is preferable to submit applications with prior online appointment in person or through an authorised nominee.
Note also that:
Passports need to be valid for at least 180 days or more, with at least two blank pages that should not be damaged.
The tourist visa fee for up to six months is £82, with a VFS service charge of £7.44, making a total of £89.44.
A tourist visa may be issued for three months to six months with single, double or multiple entries and is non-extendable and non-convertible. There is no guarantee that the full six months will be granted as the length of the visa is at the sole discretion of the High Commission.
The High Commission’s website warns that, as each visa application is processed individually, the time each takes may vary between applicants. “It is common for families and groups who have submitted their applications simultaneously to receive their visas with a few days gap.”
For more news and updates, assistance with your visa needs or for a Free Assessment of your profile for Immigration or Work Visa’s just visit www.y-axis.com
Tourist visa applications to India: what you need to know
Posted on March 26, 2015