Getting an Indian visa can be tricky and difficult at times. Just have a look at all these Indian visa issues shared by readers.
It's improved somewhat as a result of the outsourcing of visa processing in many countries. Bangkok, in Thailand, used to be a relatively easy place to obtain an Indian visa while traveling. However, this looks set to change.
In January 2013, VFS India Passport & Visa Services in Bangkok (which handles visa processing there) began requesting applicants to submit a copy of their flight tickets to and from India, as well as evidence of where they'll be staying in India (ie. hotel bookings, or an invitation letter from family or friends who will provide accommodations).
Today, I noticed that the VFS website has this message on its home page:
"With effect from 1 April 2013, all Visa and Passport applications submitted at VFS India Passport & Visa Services, Bangkok will be returned through EMS (Thai Post), to your doorstep.
In addition to the above with effect from 1 June 2013, all Visa and Passport applications submitted at VFS India Passport & Visa Services, Bangkok will be updated with the application status update via SMS.
From 7 July 2013, VFS India Passport & Visa Application Centre will not be operational. The above arrangement is in order to provide effective delivery service until our last day of operations which is 6 July 2013."
So, it appear that VFS will be shutting up shop in Bangkok. However, the move feels rather shrouded in secrecy, as there's no further information to indicate where and how visa applications will be processed in the future -- neither on the VFS website, Indian Embassy website, nor the Internet (that I could find). I wonder what the alternative will be?
I've emailed VFS to try and discover what's happening. I'm not confident of receiving a response though, especially as they say it takes up to five days for them to reply to questions.
Does anyone have any news about it?
Note: It seems that the Indian government is no longer awarding visa outsourcing contracts to foreign firms. An Indian company, probably BLS International Services Limited, will take over visa services. If the Canadian situation is anything to go by, do not expect a smooth transition.
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