Category Archives: Visa

Italian Embassy opens visa application centre in Bahrain

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The Italian Embassy in Bahrain has opened a new visa application centre in Manama in partnership with VFS Global. In a joint statement, VFS Global and the Embassy said the new centre will provide greater seamlessness to visa application processing and resident visa applicants in Bahrain need not submit their Schengen visa applications at the Embassy. The visa application centre run by well-trained professionals will provide secure processing of entry permit requirements in a friendly ambience. Applicants can also opt for the comfort and privacy of a premium lounge. Inaugurating the visa application centre, HE Domenico Bellato, Ambassador of Italy to the Kingdom of Bahrain, said, “We are pleased to start a new chapter of cooperation with VFS Global, providing a state-of-the-art service in collecting applications for short-stay visas for travel to Italy and Malta as their main destinations in the Schengen area. We are confident that the new visa application centre will further increase the number of Bahraini citizens and residents in choosing Italy as their destination for tourism and business.” Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO – Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “The Italian mandate to VFS Global follows a 14-year old relationship with the client government and it is our commitment to provide efficient, secure and convenient visa application services to the residents of Bahrain travelling to Italy and/or Malta as their main destinations in the Schengen area.”

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VFS Global opens new joint visa application centre in Riyadh

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VFS Global has opened a UK visa application centre in Riyadh, close to the Diplomatic Quarter. The company said that the new centre in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will serve travellers to the UK & Australia, is equipped to handle more visa applicants conveniently with increased seating capacity and ample parking space, while also offering ancillary travel services facilities within the premises. Officially inaugurating the new visa application centre, the Ambassador of United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, HE Simon Collis, said, “‘Our customers in Saudi Arabia are extremely important to us, and we continually look for new and innovative ways to improve the visa service we offer, both to Saudi nationals and local residents. For Saudi nationals, the average processing time for non-settlement visas is less than five days.” The new centre is located at Al Hada District, besides Courtyard Marriott Hotel and close to Ritz Carlton, Riyadh. Visa applicants to the UK and Australia can access details on visa application procedures at  www.vfsglobal.co.uk/sa/en Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO for Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said: “The new stand-alone centre has been designed to provide a comprehensive experience to applicants in terms of visa processing and accessing necessary travel services under one canopy. The UK continues to remain a popular destination for tourism, business and student visitors from Saudi Arabia. The latest visa figures show that over 130,000 Saudi nationals were issued a UK visa in the last year. We are confident that the new centre for the UK and Australia visa applicants will provide enhanced convenience to the customers.”

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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

Latvia Visa centre opening

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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