Vikram Doraiswami, the new High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom said that the Indian Embassy is planning to open two new visa application centres one in Glasgow early next week and another in Central London by the end of the month.
Doraiswami, in a video posted on the High Commission of India’s Twitter account, discussed the steps taken to improve the delivery of visa services for visitors from the United Kingdom to India.
The High Commissioner promised to increase the number of appointments available for booking on the online system after recognising the difficulties British travellers were having obtaining visa appointments.
“Team @HCI_London recognizes the challenges and is committed to improving our delivery of visa services. Here’s a message by High Commissioner @VDoraiswami on what’s being done in this regard.”
Team @HCI_London recognizes the challenges and is committed to improving our delivery of visa services. Here’s a message by High Commissioner @VDoraiswami on what’s being done in this regard. @MEAIndia @IndianDiplomacy @CPVIndia @sujitjoyghosh pic.twitter.com/x0zXLF7bKD— India in the UK (@HCI_London) October 12, 2022
Increasing the capacity of the existing visa application centres
The High Commissioner also discussed expanding the capacity of the current visa application centres so that centres could accept and process visa applications on Saturdays and in the afternoons of weekdays.
By taking these actions, the ability to accept visa applications will increase from the current capacity of 20,000 per month to 40,000 per month.
Additionally, he gave the assurance that measures would be taken to prevent the recent trend of online appointment bookings being abused.
The High Commissioner promised that additional measures would be taken in conjunction with the service provider to simplify the application process for visitors from the UK.
In-Person Visa Application Submission
It is important to mention that recently, India has changed the visa rules for UK nationals and requires travellers to present themselves in person at the visa application centres in the UK to apply for tourist visas.
The decision forces thousands of British tourists to postpone their vacations as there are no visa appointments available before their flights depart.
Until now, the majority of visitors from the United Kingdom paid visa brokers to secure their tourist visas for India.
IATO Request to Resume e-Tourist Visa for UK Nationals
Recently, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has reached out to the Prime Minister’s office to request the restoration of e-tourist visas for the UK and Canada.
The association has written to Prime Minister Modi requesting his intervention in restoring e-Tourist visas for the United Kingdom, Canada, and other key source markets, as these countries send the vast majority of foreign tourists to India.
According to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order, the government reinstated the e-Tourist Visa facility for 156 countries in March 2022.
But the UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman were not included in the March order. She adds that they were given the “security reasons” for this during meetings with MHA and MEA officials over the previous year.