VFS Global reports high visa applications in India

In a strong indication of the rebound in outbound tourism from India, VFS Global, a visa outsourcing and technology services company for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, said its visa application volumes in India for the year 2023 have reached 93 per cent of pre-pandemic figures. The company witnessed a 16 per cent growth in applications over the previous year.

“Some of the destinations that recorded strong demand included Canada, the US, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and China. For our ‘visa at your doorstep’ service, we recorded a five times growth in 2023 compared to the pre-pandemic demand in 2019. Some of the reasons that can be attributed to the strong recovery are buoyant Indian economy and absence of any travel restrictions,” said Vishal Jairath, head – South Asia, VFS Global, while addressing a press event in New Delhi last week.

Countries like Switzerland, Austria, and France are set to increase their visa appointment availability in India; Brienz town in Switzerland, pictured

VFS Global is expecting visa application volumes to surpass pre-pandemic demand in 2024. In the past, getting visa appointments for longhaul destinations was a challenge with longer waiting periods – however, Jairath expects a much improved situation this year.

“Even though the situation improved in comparison to 2022, there was a demand and supply gap in 2023. There were visa delays because of disruptions. Many of our client governments were moving to remote visa processing systems and there was a lack of human resources. However, many client governments have confirmed that they have hired additional local staff and expatriates to manage demand. Thus, higher visa appointments will be available in 2024,” he shared.

Looking ahead, countries such as Switzerland, Austria, and France are set to increase their visa appointment availability in India by 20 to 25 per cent in 2024 compared to the previous year. Moreover, the Netherlands is boosting its visa appointment slots by 40 per cent in 2024, further easing the process for Indian travellers.

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