The new India Visa Application Centre (IVAC), which will be run by VFS Global, a supplier of outsourcing and technology services for governments and diplomatic missions, was inaugurated on Tuesday by Vikram Doraiswami, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK.
Along with other initiatives, such as a doorstep service and document verification facility, a new Indian visa centre has been established in the heart of London to increase capacity for processing applications and accommodate the growing demand for travel from the UK.
For those who travel in teams or for group tourism, often utilising the same airlines and a travel agency to reach their destination, a more simplified procedure has also been implemented.
Doraiswami on Twitter stated, “The number of appointments we have been able to do has increased to about 40,000 per month thanks to our partners at VFS Global”.
Tourists visiting India from the United Kingdom now have the option of obtaining a Visa At Your Doorstep (VAYD) service for roughly GBP 180.
“Your papers can be collected at your home and will be brought to you after it is processed. To help with that, the service provider will also offer a special service to get your documents checked online for a small cost. We are also starting a form-filling service, which will be offered by our service provider VFS Global,” he added.
The new centre is the third India visa centre in London, and VFS Global runs a network of ten IVACs in the UK, including ones in central London, Hounslow, Leicester, and Manchester, as well as Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.
Aditya Arora, COO of VFS Global said, “The new VAC will increase the visa application capacity in London by providing additional appointment slots. This along with the recently opened visa centre in Glasgow will double the capacity of visas handled by VFS Global”.
He added, “We are always looking at finding practical solutions to address customer experience challenges. As a responsible service provider that manages non-judgmental and administrative tasks related to visa applications for the governments we work with, we have taken measures along with the High Commissioner of India in London to help visa applicants with a seamless visa application experience”.
As applications began to arrive in London and Birmingham on Saturdays and in the afternoons of workdays, the visa company claimed it had been able to open up additional appointments.
Since March of this year, VFS Global has also collaborated with India’s consulates in the UK and at its High Commission in London to organise weekend consular camps all across the country.
The measures come in response to a sharp increase in demand for Indian visas, which has resulted in lengthy wait times and, in some cases, trip cancellations for British travellers due to a lack of appointments. In order to meet the overwhelming demand for visas, the Indian High Commission in London promised to collaborate with its outsourced partner to increase capacity.
Partnerships between VFS Global and the Indian Consulates in the UK and the High Commission of India in London have been in place since March 2022. Launching weekend consular camps around the UK was the plan.
The efforts being made to advance the partnership between the UK and India to ease international travel are a remarkable indication that the two countries ties are getting better. This might lead to more straightforward immigration processes for people from India as well as improved chances for them to take advantage of job opportunities that arise in the UK. With time, the real potential of these most recent actions will become clear.