RESPONDING to a sharp increase in demand for travel to France, eight new visa application centres will be opened in India from December 1.
The new centres will be located in Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Hyderabad and Jaipur.
Francois Richier, the French ambassador to India, made the announcement yesterday: “Visas will be delivered within 72 hours in these new centres, depending on the time it will take in transporting visa applications to the French consulates.”
He said that Indian citizens could now apply at any visa centre in the country, regardless of his or her area of residence. Existing visa centres are located at New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Puducherry and Chennai.
Also launched was Chalo Paris, a new travel app for Indians visiting the French capital.
The French government has been on a drive to smoothen visa processes for the India. In July, French minister for foreign affairs Laurent Fabius announced that French consulates would issue tourist and business visas within two working days beginning January 1, 2015.
“The number of visas issued by French consulates in India has jumped by 33 per cent for January to October 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. We expect to reach 90,000 visas delivered in 2014,” said Richier.
Catherine Oden, director of Atout France India, commented: “Although the majority if Indian travellers visit France as part of escorted tour packages, we are also seeing a steady increase in the number of FITs in the last few years.”