Category Archives: Visa

VFS Global to take over full ownership of VFS TasHeel

VFS GLOBAL

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

Yas, Rwanda

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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VFS Global to handle Italian visa application in Kuwait

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With an aim to bring greater efficiency in visa processing services for residents of Kuwait, the Embassy of Italy in the State of Kuwait has signed a contract with VFS Global to launch a proficiently managed and modern Italy Visa Application Centre in the city. VFS Global recently won the four-year contract after participating in an official tender published by the Embassy of Italy, Kuwait earlier this year. The contract was officially signed by H. E. Mr. Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Ambassador of Italy to the State of Kuwait, and Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, at a signing ceremony held at the Embassy of Italy in Kuwait, on September 6, 2017. Also present at the signing was Patrizio Dell’Arte, Head of the Consular Office of Italy in the State of Kuwait and Marita Bachhav, Head of Operations – GCC, Lebanon, Jordan & Iraq, VFS Global. The new centre, scheduled to launch in November 2017 will be located at Level 54, Arraya Tower, Al Shuhada Street, Sharq, Kuwait, and will allow travellers to Italy from Kuwait submit visa applications and enrol biometrics in a comfortable, convenient and professionally managed environment. At the centre, in addition to their visa application process, applicants will also have access to a dedicated tourism space, which will offer tourism information on a range of hand-picked tours in Italy.

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Czech Republic forays into Middle East market

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Monika Palatková, Managing Director, Czech Tourism, has announced a partnership with VFS Global in order to enter the GCC market. She says, “We have been working closely with VFS Global in India since the end of 2016 and it has proven to be successful in establishing the Czech Republic as a tourist destination in India. I am pleased to announce the expansion of our cooperation into another strategic region, the Middle East. Today, we have entered into a contractual partnership, based on which VFS Global will implement several promotional activities focused on the leisure and MICE segments in the Middle East.” She added, “Prague, the beautiful capital city of the Czech Republic, is extremely popular with tourists but there is so much more this wonderful country has to offer the discerning Indian travellers. The central promotional theme of Czech Tourism in 2017 has been Baroque. The year 2018 will be a period of celebration for the Czech Republic because it marks 100 years from the establishment of the independent country; the main focus will be monuments, places and traditions related to this period.”

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