A new Indian visa centre has been opened in Marylebone, central London, for swift processing of applications, along with other initiatives like doorstep service and document verification facility.
The visa centre, which was inaugurated on Tuesday by Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, will be operated by VFS Global — the outsourcing and technology services provider for governments and diplomatic missions.
“The number of appointments we have been able to do has increased greatly… to about 40,000 per month, thanks to our partners at VFS,” Doraiswami said in a video message shared on Twitter.
He added that opening of a new visa processing facility “should be able to facilitate greater access and greater ease of applications”.
The centre is now open for up to 200 appointments a day, according to the Indian High Commission in London.
The new centre is the third Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC) in London, with a total of 10 IVACs across the UK in Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, central London, Hounslow, Leicester, and Manchester.
Doraiswami also announced that a new process is being introduced for those travelling as a group, typically, via a travel agency to the same destination using the same flights.
A Visa at Your Doorstep (VAYD) service, at a cost of around GBP 180 within 25 miles of a centre, has also been introduced for those travelling to India from the UK.
“For passengers looking for an easier way of getting visas, our visa service provider will be rolling out Visa At Your Doorstep services. You will be able to have your visa collected from your residence and brought to you after processing against a cost,” Doraiswami said.
“The new IVAC 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,” said Aditya Arora, COO, VFS Global.
There has been a massive surge in demand for Indian visas, with travellers from the UK reporting long waits and in some cases having to cancel trips due to in-person visa application rules.