Category Archives: Visa

Ethiopia launches e-visa service for all tourists

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The Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines has recently launched an e-visa service for all international visitors to Ethiopia. Though the e-visa service initially launched in June 2017 was available for a limited number of countries, all international visitors will now be able to travel to Ethiopia by processing their visa online under the new initiative. The e- visa is processed and issued online on a single webpage where applicants apply, pay and secure their entry visa online. Once the application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorising them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, remarked, “Ethiopia is endowed with historical places, natural beauty, colourful and diverse cultural activities and various endemic wild animals which are of great interest to international tourists. However, we have not made the best use of these natural resources to attract tourists. To this effect, this project is part of a new national initiative to transform the tourism sector in the country.” The full commencement of the online visa application and issuance system will promote tourism, trade and investment to the country. It will save time, energy and cost for travellers to Ethiopia in addition to the simplicity and convenience that it facilitates.

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Ireland opens first visa application centre in Abu Dhabi

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The Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi has opened UAE’s first external visa application centre in partnership with VFS Global. All non-UAE Nationals who are based in the UAE and require a visa to enter Ireland will no longer need to visit the Embassy. They should instead route their visa applications through VFS Global’s centre located in downtown Abu Dhabi. H E Paul Kavanagh, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, said, “The new external visa application centre will provide an excellent streamlined service for non-UAE Nationals who are based in the UAE and who require a visa in order to enter Ireland.” UAE Nationals wishing to visit Ireland are exempt from all visa requirements. The Ireland visa application centre in the UAE is the third outsourced processing centre of Ireland in the GCC region in partnership with VFS Global, which now operates such centres for Ireland in 15 countries across the world. The VFS Global visa application centre for Ireland in Abu Dhabi is located at Level 25, Shining Tower on Mubarak bin Mohammed Street next to Khalidiyah Mall. Visa applicants based in the UAE can direct their queries to the call centre number +971 4 2055910 or communicate with the centre via email at info.irelandUAE@vfshelpline.com.

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VFS Global to take over full ownership of VFS TasHeel

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VFS Global has agreed to take over 100 per cent ownership of its joint venture with the TasHeel Group – VFS TasHeel and Vasco, as per a binding agreement signed between both parties. As the outsourced visa services partner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, VFS TasHeel manages Saudi Arabia visa application services across 30 countries since 2013. VFS TasHeel is currently a joint venture between the TasHeel Group and VFS Global. The transaction will enable VFS TasHeel and Vasco to benefit from operational efficiencies and synergies with VFS Global in terms of further development of services and solutions, and improve the overall service it provides to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Saudi Arabia visa applicants around the world. Subject to customary approval from the competition and regulatory authorities, the transaction is expected to complete later in 2018. There will be no change in the management core team or processes of VFS Tasheel and Vasco. The company will continue to fulfill all its obligations in accordance with its MoFA service contract. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group said, “We are pleased to take over complete ownership of VFS TasHeel and Vasco. It will enable us to accelerate the further development of the business and improve overall performance through greater synergies.”  

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VFS Global acquires Middle Eastern FMC partner, Al Etimad

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VFS Global has agreed to take over 100 per cent of the Middle Eastern Facility Management Company (FMC) Al Etimad from TasHeel Group as per a binding agreement signed between both parties. Al Etimad operates as a FMC partner for VFS Global in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Tunisia. The Al Etimad visa operations in Pakistan are not included in the acquisition. To benefit from operational efficiencies and synergies with VFS Global, Al Etimad will be integrated in VFS Global’s operations after completion of the transaction. This will enable further development of services and solutions, and improve the overall service to the missions served and the visa applicants in the five countries. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group, “We are very pleased to take over complete ownership of Al Etimad and Vega. It will enable us to accelerate further development of the business and improve overall performance through greater integration. I would like to thank the TasHeel Group for partnering us in successfully managing the visa services operations in these five countries.”

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Latvia opens external visa centres in UAE

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The Embassy of Latvia has announced the opening of external visa application centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in partnership with VFS Global, providing convenience to travellers from the UAE in processing Schengen entry permits to the Baltic nation. Visa applicants from the UAE need not henceforth approach the Embassy of Latvia for their visa requirements as VFS Global is mandated to handle the applications as well as biometric enrolment. Speaking at the inauguration, H.E. Astra Kurme, Ambassador of Latvia to the UAE said, “It is an important step towards facilitating contacts between people and nations. The possibility to apply and receive visa to visit Latvia will significantly improve tourism and business exchange not only between Latvia and the United Arab Emirates, but also the whole Gulf region as the Embassy’s consular mandate covers all GCC region.” Vinay Malhotra, COO–Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, said, “We are honoured to be part of this growing relationship between the two countries and are confident to bring enhanced level of efficiency in services and a seamless, delightful customer experience to visa applicants from the UAE.”

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Rwanda announces visa on arrival

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In a move to encourage tourists to visit the destination, Rwanda has announced that any person living anywhere in the world is entitled to receive a 30 days visa on arrival for a nominal charge of US$30. “We are happy to announce that from January 1, 2018, any person living anywhere in the world is entitled to receive a 30 days for $30 on arrival visa in Rwanda. Most people don’t travel due to hassle of obtaining visa to enter a country. In terms of tourism, ease of visa actually can contribute to the revenue of the country,” stated Yasmin Amri Sued, Chargee d Affaires – Consulate of the Republic of Rwanda.

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VFS Global launches Italy visa center in Kuwait

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In a move to ease the visa issuance process for the residents of Kuwait, the Embassy of Italy in collaboration with VFS Global launched a new visa application center, located at Level 54 of Arraya Tower at Al Shuhada Street. The centre was recently inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Ambassador of the Embassy of Italy to the State of Kuwait. Among the many services provided for greater convenience to applicants, is the option to submit their applications in the comfort of a Premium Lounge for a more personalised experience. In addition to efficient visa application processing services, applicants will also have access to a dedicated tourism space, which will offer tourism information on a range of hand-picked tours in Italy. Kuwait is the fifth country in the Middle East from where VFS Global will serve the Embassy of Italy. Worldwide, VFS Global has served the Government of Italy since 2004, and currently manages visa processing operations for the client government in 28 countries from 66 visa application centres.

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Finland visa centre opens in UAE

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Two new Finland Visa Application Centres have been launched in Abu Dhabi and Dubai by the Embassy of Finland in Abu Dhabi, enabling applicants to submit visa applications and enrol for biometrics. The Abu Dhabi centre, centrally located at Shining Tower on Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street, was inaugurated by H E Riitta Swan, Ambassador of Finland to the United Arab Emirates on November 16. The centre in Dubai is located at the Wafi Mall. Services at the new centres are designed to facilitate quicker and more streamlined visa application submission processes. For added convenience to applicants, the centres will also provide travellers to Finland with a range of optional services ranging from Premium Lounge services to doorstep courier return-delivery of their processed passports.

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VFS Global hosts iConnect innovation workshop in Dubai

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The world’s largest outsourcing and technology services, VFS Global specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, conducted the 4th global edition of its annual innovation workshop ‘iConnect’ for the outsourced government services industry in Dubai. The event brought together 129 delegates from 55 countries to discuss the most significant technology trends and cutting-edge solutions offered by VFS Global in visa, consular and citizen services. The delegates were predominantly senior officials from the central government ministries and from various embassies and consulates in the UAE. At the workshop, governments and private stakeholders discussed the importance of cyber-security in in the context of the recent escalation in cyber-attacks worldwide. Guest speakers, domain experts and global leaders in cyber security, highlighted potential risks and discussed measures to mitigate the risks. The speakers at iConnect spoke about how customers today wanted easy access to information and convenient service fulfillment. The growing relevance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform customer experience was also a topic of discussion, with technology now making inroads into various sectors from assisting in travel across airlines to enhancing the customer experience.

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Malaysian visa centres opens in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

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The Embassy of Malaysia in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of Malaysia in Dubai launched two new One Stop Centres (OSC), providing Malaysia visa services in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from November 1. Both centres are managed by VFS Global in partnership with S5 Systems and Megan Gayabina. The Abu Dhabi centre is located at Shining Tower on Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street and the Dubai centre is located at Wafi Mall. An inauguration ceremony was held in Dubai on November 6 in the presence of Dato’ Yubazlan Bin Haji Yusof, Consul General of Malaysia in Dubai and Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, along with other senior officials. Dato’ Yubazlan Bin Haji Yusof, Consul General of Malaysia in Dubai, said, “Well coordinated models such as the OSC seeks to ensure consistency in the application to provide a streamlined and efficient visa service. The OSC also flexed its visa submission time to allow more applications to be submitted as part of the new customer friendly initiative.” Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, said, “It is an honour to launch two new OSCs that will provide travellers to Malaysia from the UAE’s professionally managed visa processing services.”

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