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Indian Visa Application Center Explained

India is one of world’s fasted growing economies as well as a much sought-after tourist destination. Scores of foreign nationals visit the country for tourism, business, employment, study and medical treatments every year.

To handle the ever-increasing demands for an Indian visa, the government of India has outsourced a part of the visa processing to a private agency.

This agency helps applicants in getting an India visa online. The company has also helped reduce the visa processing time considerably.

Read on to know more about the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Global, a technology outsourcing company that facilitates the Indian visa application process. 

What is a Visa Application Center?

An Indian Visa Application Center (VAC) is a private visa processing agency hired by the India government. VACs accept and process applications for an Indian visa. VFS Global runs several visa application centers across the globe on behalf of the Indian government.

Applicants can visit the center to apply for an Indian visa, submit necessary documents and biometric details and to pay the visa processing fee.

These application centers streamline and expedite the online application process for an India visa

Advantages of Application Centers

Visa application centers have considerably simplified and expedited the visa application process. Such centers have reduced the workload at the Indian embassies and consulates.

Since these centers cater to visa processing exclusively, the missions can focus on other functions. The application process has been made seamless by offering personal assistance with all visa-related enquiries, faster completion of application submission, quicker biometric services and some centers deliver the visa at the doorsteps of the application.    

Most of these centers provide the services of staff who speak the local language, dedicated helplines to handle appointments and courier services to deliver visas and return documents. They also offer frequent SMS updates on the status of the visa and express delivery.  

Disadvantages of a Visa Application Center

Visa application centers are run by VFS Global, a private agency hired by the Indian government. Their services are charged. Applicants opting for their services may have to pay an additional fee apart from the usual visa processing fee.

Does India Have a Visa Application Center (VAC)?

VFS Global, a private visa service provider, operates visa application centers for the government of India in most countries. Several consular services including the visa application have been outsourced to these visa application centers run by VFS Global.

Who is VFS?

VFS is a private technical outsourcing company hired by the Indian government to manage visa and passport application centers both inside and outside the country. 

The company has taken up administrative and non-discretionary tasks related to visa/passport issuance services. 

The company has so far partnered with over 60 governments and operates close to 3,500 visa application centers across 144 countries in the world. 

The VFS Global is the exclusive service partner of the Indian government for visa processing, Indian passport renunciation, OCI card issuance and global entry program verification services. 

Visa applicants planning to opt for the services of VACs have to start the process by completing the online application form. They have to drop off the completed form along with the supporting documents at the center after scheduling an appointment. 

Note that it is important to select the correct jurisdiction code of the VAC that you are intending to go to while filling out the application form.  

What Does VFS do for India?

Following are some of the visa and passport related services offered by the VFS Global for the India government.

OCI Card Issuance

An Overseas Citizen of India Card is a travel authority granted by the India government to foreigners who once held an Indian passport.

India does not recognize dual citizenships. An OCI card holder can visit the country as many times as he/she wishes.

It is a life-long visa. To get an OCI card, the applicants need to renounce their original Indian passport and get a passport/citizenship of a foreign country.

Passport Renunciation Certificate

Indian citizens wish to apply for the citizenship or permanent residence of a foreign nation have to renounce the Indian citizenship and passport.

They have to apply for a certificate of renunciation after surrendering their Indian passports in an Indian mission.

The VFS handles the issuance and application process for the renunciation certificate. This certificate is a mandatory document that OCI card holders should carry during their visits to India.

Global Entry Program Verification (GEP)

GEP is a program introduced by the US customs and border protection force to speed up the immigration processes of low-risk foreign travelers. 

The GEP applications of Indian citizens living in the US for work, study, business or tourism are processed and verified in the VAC operated by the VFS Global in various parts of that country. 

They have to first apply online and submit their online application to US customs. After that they need to submit a request in the VAC for a background verification in India along with the processing fee.

Visa Processing

Foreign nationals who wish to visit India for work, study, treatment, tourism or business need a relevant India visa.

There are two types of visas – eVisas or embassy visas. For an eVisa, the application process is completely online.

But for an embassy visa, the applicants need to first submit an online application form and schedule an appointment with VAC to drop off the documents and to complete the biometrics.  

Both visa application processes are handled by VACs run by VFS Global.   

Miscellaneous Consular Services

VFS Global also carries out miscellaneous consular services like attestation of power of attorney and marriage certificates on behalf an Indian mission.

It also registers the birth and death of Indian citizens residing in foreign countries and issues birth/death certificates. 

Additional Services 

VACs also offer various additional services. 

Courier: Applicants can get their documents delivered to their doorstep if they opt for it and pay a small fee. The center offers courier services and this helps applicants avoid multiple visits to VACs.

Photograph: Ats some VACs, applicants can get the services of professional photographers to take their passport size photos. Thus, they can ensure that their photos meet all the quality and measurement standards required for an Indian visa. 

They also offer SMS and photocopy services. Through the SMS service, applicants can get regular updates about their visa status. 

Use Natvisa for Visa Services

If you're someone who is interested in applying for an India visa online, you should consider visiting Natvisa to do so. This site will give you all of the information you need to know about the online application process so that you can get started right away.

There are several different visa types available on the site as well which gives you the ability to get the exact travel permissions you need when visiting India regardless of when you decide to go.

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