Wondering how to go about your visa for that upcoming international trip? Here are some oft-repeated questions and their answers that would help any tour enthusiast. The queries are answered by VFS Global, which offers real-time information on application centres offering visa services.
How does the key visa application trends look like pan India?
The number of visa applications have seen a rise of over 100 per cent in 2022, when compared with last year. Volumes in the first part of 2021 were significantly less as many international borders were closed with pandemic-induced travel restrictions.
If I am travelling to the UK with stopover in EU member states, do I need Schengen airport transit visa?
Yes, Schengen airport transit visa is mandatory for travellers with a stopover in France, Spain, Germany, and the Czech Republic. This requirement has been in place for many years.
How early before my travel dates should I apply for my visa?
When planning your travels, you always book flights and hotels in advance. Do the same for visas. Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days (three months) before your date of travel. According to the revised Schengen Visa Code, effective from February 2, 2020, you can apply for a Schengen visa up to 6 months before your date of travel. Particularly this year with higher demand and limited appointment slots available, we urge applicants to apply for their visa as early as possible. VFS Global forwards applications as per the agreed service level agreements with the embassy/consulate.
What are the typical turnaround timelines for visas?
Each country has a different timeline for its visa processing, and these timelines are clearly mentioned on their websites, providing you the information required to apply for your visa well in advance. Be aware that during peak season visa processing can take longer than anticipated, hence apply early.
What is the appointment allotment process at VFS Global?
Appointment slots are offered online based on volume of demand or forecast, and in conjunction with the embassy's own internal capacity planning. Once scheduled, we highly recommend being at the centre 15 minutes prior the appointed time to avoid missing your slot. Appointments are free, beware of fraudulent parties selling appointments in exchange of money. We urge applicants not to pay for any appointments being offered.
I am confused about documentation, which varies depending on who I ask! Which are the correct documents to submit?
A checklist of the documentation required for visa applications for each country served by VFS Global is available on our website. Be sure to carry all the requisite documentation, including a printout of the checklist, to submit along with the duly filled application form. Check your passport's validity. Many countries require a valid passport six months beyond your return date.
How do I track the status of my application?
Once your application is submitted, you can opt for the SMS service, and receive timely updates on your application's progress through VFS Global's online tracking service. The status will be updated as and when your passport is ready for collection/delivery. Be aware that VFS Global cannot track your application during the assessment process within an embassy or consulate.
Can VFS Global offer me advice and guidance on visa categories and vaccination?
VFS Global is strictly not authorised to provide advice or guidance on visa category or any other visa requirement that the customer may need. VFS Global manages the administrative and non-judgmental aspects of the visa process only, such as visa application submission and biometric enrolment. VFS Global does not comment on vaccine requirements. All travellers are requested to check the destination / transit country guidelines for the same.
Can I expedite the process? Does availing any of the value-added services guarantee a faster visa outcome?
The time taken for visa processing differs with each mission. Please check the turnaround timelines before applying. Opting for any optional, value-added services (such as Prime Time Services or Form-filling, or any other service) does not guarantee a quicker or more positive decision by the concerned embassy/consulate. Optional and value-added services are available for select client governments only, as per agreed service level agreements with those governments.