NEW DELHI - As part of its expanding visa services network for the Government of India's Ministry of External Affairs worldwide, VFS Global is pleased to announce that it will manage India visa processing services in three additional countries: Spain, Thailand and South Africa. VFS Global has served the Government of India since 2007, and manages visa processing for the client government in a total of 12 countries worldwide.
Centres in Spain to offer visa, consular services for visitors to India
The Embassy of India in Spain and VFS Global have signed a four-year contract to manage India visa processing services in three cities: Madrid, Barcelona and Las Palmas. The new centres in these cities are on schedule to open in April 2017. The centres will be equipped with world-class facilities aimed at promoting inbound business and leisure travel into India from Spain, and will make the visa application process considerably more convenient and accessible for travellers.
VFS Global won the contract to offer India visa processing services in Spain in July 2016 on the strength of its domain expertise and expansive network for 50 client governments in 126 countries. However, the launches were delayed due to a petition filed by BLS International against the Government of India in the Delhi High Court, disputing its disqualification from the Spain bid for failing to meet the minimum technical criteria required. With the Delhi High Court dismissing this petition, the centres are now set to launch as per schedule. Besides foreigners visiting India, the Indian diaspora in Spain is also expected to benefit from these centres as they will offer other consular services such as registration of births, passport renewal services, Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) services, etc.
Spain is the 12th country where VFS Global will begin visa processing operations for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
VFS Global also signed contracts to manage India visas in Thailand and South Africa
In another significant development, VFS Global signed the contract to manage India visa processing in Thailand, on 5 January 2017. Services in the two cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai were duly launched on 1 February 2017, and will enhance accessibility to visa services for travellers from Thailand. Last November, VFS Global also launched India Visa Application Centres in South Africa (Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town), the first country on the African continent where VFS Global has commenced visa processing services on behalf of the Government of India.
VFS Global as service provider for the Government of India
According to the Government of India's Ministry of Tourism, some 8.89 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2016, recording a growth of 10.7% over the previous year. VFS Global has aligned with the Government's 'Incredible India' and 'Make in India' campaigns aimed at promoting inbound leisure and business travel, and has pledged its commitment to enhance accessibility to visa application facilities for business, leisure, and MICE travellers in several countries.
Today, VFS Global manages visa and/or consular services for the Government of India in 11 countries, namely Australia, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Spain is the 12th country where these services will soon commence.
The company also supports the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in establishing and managing Overseas Workers Resource Centres that provide support services to Indian nationals travelling or residing abroad for employment purposes. The centres in Chennai, Lucknow, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Kochi support lower-skill level migrants with information and assistance services for employment-related queries or complaints.
In addition to this, VFS Global is appointed by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, to provide attestation/apostille services on its behalf.
Expansion of VFS Global footprint worldwide
VFS Global was first established in Mumbai (India) in 2001, and pioneered the concept of visa process outsourcing. As more countries seek to improve visa facilities for travellers, VFS Global has contributed significantly in the last 15 years to these efforts and to the promotion of international tourism, continuing to expand operations for other client governments globally.
Notably, the company launched Russia Visa Application Centres in 14 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Middle East in the last 7 months alone, including the first-time launch of a Russia Visa Application Centre in the Middle East region (Dubai).
In August 2016, the company also won the Government of Belgium contract through a competitive process to launch Visa Application Centres in 11 countries: Saudi Arabia, China, UAE, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Palestine, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.
This win was followed in December with the award of the Austria global tender involving the set-up of Visa Application Centres in 119 locations around the world.