Rituparna Chatterjee – Mumbai
Germany and VFS Global will be opening five visa application centres in India in 2014. Recently, they opened their 10th centre in Mumbai followed by one in Ahmedabad. In the next two months, they will be opening five centres in Goa, Pune, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kolkata. All the centres will issue Schengen Visa (short-term visa) across all categories. Speaking about the reason for outsourcing the visa application business to VFS Global, Michael Siebert, consul general, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Mumbai stated, “The growing application for German visa over the years led us to the decision to outsource the visa application processing business to VFS Global in several big countries and India is one of them. We are in the process of opening five more German visa application centres in India. The Mumbai centre is the 10th operating centre. We had the soft opening a few weeks ago and its operations are already underway.”
The demand for German visa is the highest in Mumbai among other Indian cities. “The German consulate in Mumbai issued 42,000 visas last year. Mumbai is the biggest city receiving 15,000 more visa applications than other cities,” opined Siebert. Adding to this, Anil Katoch, head – South Asia, VFS Global stated, “Over the years the demand for German visa is growing steadily across Tier II and Tier III cities as the Indian economy has grown over the last 10-12 years. Overall, travel to Germany has increased to 10-15 per cent after the financial crisis in 2009.”
With the opening of the new centres, the applicants do not require to appear for a personal interview at the Consulate. They can send in the documentation and the passport to the VFS office. The visa once processed and issued will be couriered to the applicants. Apart from door step delivery of passports, the centres will also feature longer operating hours, dedicated website for easy access to information, dedicated call centre and email support, and professional assistance for handling visa queries.