Indian mission in UK issues guidelines for outsourcing of visa applications

May 14th, 2008 - 10:37 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 14 (ANI): As a major step towards upgrading Visa services, the High Commission of India and the Consulates General of India in Birmingham and Edinburgh would be outsourcing the collection of visa applications and their delivery from the end of May 2008/beginning of June 2008.
Since 2002, there has been a rapid expansion in the number of British nationals going to India for tourism, business, etc. In fact, the number of visas issued have almost doubled during this period. This has been a reflection of the growing Indo-British ties in all spheres of life. This has also been facilitated by the spurt in the number of Airline flights between India and the UK.
Given the constraints of space and manpower, it was found that the High Commission and the Consulates General were unable to provide the environment for high quality services that they would have liked to provide. This was despite the fact that visas continued to be issued on the same day in most cases.
This matter had been engaging the attention of the concerned authorities in India for quite some time. It was, therefore, decided to outsource the collection and delivery process while the processing of visa applications including the decision to grant a visa or otherwise would continue to remain with the High Commission/Consulates General.
VF Services (UK) Limited has been selected as the agency that would implement the visa outsourcing throughout the UK for Indian visas. The firm has considerable experience in handling visa applications. At present it is handling visa applications for 21 countries which include the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, UAE, Thailand and Schengen nations. It has a modern IT driven on-line application and tracking system and is expected to provide value-added services.
To ensure a smooth transfer of acceptance of visa applications and their delivery from the High Commission/Consulates General to VF Services (UK) Ltd., the outsourcing operations will be implemented in a phased manner.
In the first phase, commencing May 29, 2008, two Indian Visa Application Centres (IVACs) will begin operations in London. In the second phase, beginning a week later, an IVAC will become operational in Birmingham. In the third phase, a third IVAC in London and another one in Edinburgh will also get operational.
Visa applications can be submitted at the IVACS from 8:30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and documents can be collected from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all working days (Monday to Friday).
A service-fee of 6.90 pounds prevailing VAT charges @17.5 percent per application will be charged by VF Services (UK) Ltd. over and above the normal visa fee of the High Commission. Postal/courier/Bank/Agency charges, wherever applicable, will be additional, to be borne by the applicant.
IVACS will provide following services:-
1.Online application/payment module 2.Postal applications 3.Flexible mode of payments cash, credit and debit cards, and postal orders (Bank/Agency charges wherever applicable) 4.Online tracking system to know status of visa-applications 5.Telephonic and e-mail enquiry system 6.Dedicated counters for registered travel agents, individual logins and passwords
With the commencement of the IVACs in London, all visa applicants should submit their applications to either of the VF Services (UK) Ltd. offices at London (52-54 Wilton Road, Victoria, London SW1V 1DE ; 142-148 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DU).
The Consulates General of India Birmingham and Edinburgh would continue to accept visa applications till Indian Visa Application Centres become operational there.
All postal applications, complete in all respects, should with effect from 29th May, 2008, be addressed to VF Services (UK) Ltd. at their address 142-148 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DU.
The registered Travel/Visa agents should submit their applications at 142-148 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DU - with effect from 29th May, 2008.
The procedure for submitting visa applications to VF Services (UK) Ltd. may be checked on their web-site (to become operational shortly) (ANI)

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