India announces new ‘door step’ visa service

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By Linsey McNeill
Home » India announces new ‘door step’ visa service

India says it is taking steps to speed up visa applications for UK travellers after suddenly announcing last month that all applicants must apply in person at centres around the UK.

The country’s High Commissioner in the UK Vikram Doraiswami said in a video on Twitter that its visa service-provider VFS Global will start to roll-out a new door step courier service from today.

“At a cost, you will be able to have your papers collected from your residence and brought to you after processing,” he said.

“To help with that, because often there are problems with filling a form online, the service provider will also offer a special service at a small cost for having your documents checked online,” he added.

Additionally, Mr Doraiswami said that India will make it simpler for groups, travelling on the same flight to the same destination, to apply for visas from 1 November, but he gave no further details.

He said there would also be a form-filling service provided at visa application centres to assist those applying in person. A new visa processing centre will open in London’s Marylebone today, which should help to speed up applications, said Mr Doraiswami.

However, operators say what the trade really needs is the return of electronic visas, which have been withdrawn for UK travellers.

AITO Head of Commercial Bharat Gadhoke said: “The return of e-visas is what we are waiting to hear about, that is the most important thing for the UK.”

When India suddenly changed its visa rules last month, banning postal applications, AITO said its members stood to lose around £10m of bookings, affecting around 1,500 holidaymakers.

Citizens of 156 countries are allowed to use India’s e-visa application system but this doesn’t include the UK and other countries such as Algeria, Burkina Faso, Lebanon and Pakistan.

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