The last quarter has been an active one for the international travel community. With borders gradually opening, countries around the world starting to accept slowly foreign travelers again, the future of travel has definitely started to show some promise. As world leaders in visa processing, we wanted to keep you apprised of the re-openings of Visa Application Centres and other efforts currently being taken in accordance with the rules set by our client governments. Below is a consolidation of all the important updates since June 2020.
Over the last few weeks, VFS Global’s Visa Application Centres (VACs) resumed operations, with a few countries opening up the application process for limited categories. Since then, visa applications for around 25 countries have resumed at select Centres across India.
Information in the below table is as of 23 September 2020.
|COUNTRY||VISA CATEGORIES||CITIES||RESTART DATE|
|France||Category D||Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai||August 2020|
IW Allocation for Student visa classes, H&L visa classes, and all visa classes
|All India||August / September 2020
|Luxembourg||Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi, Kolkata||August / September 2020|
|Latvia||Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai||August 2020|
|Ukraine||Business Visa, Family Reunion with Ukrainian citizen, Student Visa||New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore||August / September 2020|
|Category D||New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai||August / September 2020|
|Germany||Category C and D Visa after approval of submission and prolonging of Visa||New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata||July / August 2020|
|Belgium||Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad||July / August 2020
|Croatia||Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata||July-September 2020|
|Estonia||Category C&D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata||July / August 2020|
|Austria||Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata||July – September 2020|
|Lithuania||Category D||New Delhi, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata||July – September 2020|
|Poland||Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai||July / August 2020|
|Belarus||All Visa categories||New Delhi, Mumbai||July – September 2020|
|Switzerland||Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi, Kolkata||July 2020|
|Portugal||E6 for holders of expired Portuguese residence card, D6 for holders of expired Family Reunification D6 visas, Category D||New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai||June – September 2020|
|Long term applications only||New Delhi||June 2020|
|All visa categories||New Delhi||June 2020|
|UAE – DVPC||All visa categories (online);
30-day and 90-day tourist visas (in-VAC)
|Online and in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Cochin||June 2020|
|Turkey||All visa categories||New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore||June 2020|
|United Kingdom||All visa categories/passport collection||Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Kolkata||July 2020|
|Ireland||Student, long-stay categories||July 2020|
|Italy||Re-Entry Visa, Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore, Kolkata||July 2020|
|Denmark||Residence permit, Employment, Dependent, Approval cases, Category D||New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi, Kolkata||June – July 2020|
|Norway||Residence permit||June – August 2020|
Visa application processes for students
While student visa applications have reopened for most countries, applications may be accepted only on some of the cities mentioned above. Customers are advised to check if applications for this category are being accepted in their city by visiting www.vfsglobal.com.
To aid students who have already started their foreign education or will be starting soon, but have not been able to reach their schools yet, UK has recently introduced flexibility in their student visa rules. These updated rules allow students to apply for visas when they are able to travel to the UK, rather than at the start of their studies, as was the mandate earlier. Additionally, students completing their courses online will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, provided they are in the UK by 06 April 2021. View the press release on this here.
Restart of other visa application processes
Please note that VFS Global Visa Application Centres can open only when the concerned Embassy / Consulate provides approval and directs it to do so. It does not decide on the re-opening of any Centre on its own.
Some countries may have limited slots open for appointments at present and only in certain cities. All appointments can be booked free of charge. Customers are advised not to fall prey to touts or fraudsters who offer false promises of appointments/visas/job/immigration in exchange for payment.
Health and safety precautions at the Centres
As an extra layer of caution to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees alike, VFS Global has established standardized protective measures to be followed across centres, including physical distancing and sanitization, body temperature checks, use of masks and sanitizers, disinfecting high-contact surfaces, etc. Customers exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, including high fever, cough and difficulty in breathing will not be permitted to enter the center.
Appointment booking service for COVID-19 testing
Anticipating customer needs further, VFS Global introduced the online booking of COVID-testing facilities at the beginning of September. Being ahead of the curve with their operational excellence, the company has ensured the utmost comfort to customers by allowing them to avail of this facility at their doorstep as well. This service has been rolled out in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Chennai, Pune and Kochi.
‘Visa At Your Doorstep’ service
As an optional service to customers wanting to complete their entire visa application submission process from the comfort of their home or office, VFS Global continues to provide the “Visa At Your Doorstep” whereby a customer can submit the application, enrol biometrics, and get the passport couriered back to their his/her location of choice.
As a precautionary measure, customers may also opt for our courier services to get their passports delivered to their preferred address, after adjudication by the concerned diplomatic mission. This service may also be made mandatory by certain countries.
We are committed to sharing timely information on re-openings with our customers in all countries, on our social media channels and the COVID-19 Customer Advisories page that is updated in real-time.