Bangalore, April 18 (IANS) Leading outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions, VFS Global, has expanded its operations in India's tech hub to process applications for Schengen visa to seven more European countries in addition to France and Switzerland.
"Indians planning to visit Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland need not go to other cities hereafter for Schengen visa, as we have tied up with these European countries to process their applications and deliver the visas," VFS regional head for South Asia Vishal Jairath told reporters here.
As a subsidiary of the Zurich-based Kuoni Group, VFS has also tied up with France and Switzerland to handle visa applications and delivery process through its global's Schengen visa application centre in the city for a fee.
"Applicants from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh visiting France or Switzerland for business or leisure travel don't have to personally go Mumbai to obtain the Schengen visa as their documents will be processed here by us on behalf of their consulates," Jairath said.
French and Swiss consulates in Mumbai will, however, continue to issues visas to their respective countries and can be used to travel into other European countries where Schengen visa is valid.
Of the 27 countries which are part of the European Union (EU), Schengen visa is valid across 16 countries in the continent.
The consul general office of France in Bangalore will handle visa applications from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, while that of Switzerland will receive visa applications from all the four southern states, including Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The French consulate in Puducherry processes visa applications for citizens living in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Apart from dedicated website, VFS centre in the city offers information on visa types, applicable fee, application status, e-mail support and door delivery of passports with Schengen visa stamped.
"Since we opened the visa service facility here in February 2011, the response has been tremendous with applications from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh crossing 15,000 during the last 12 months," French consul general Dominique Causse said on the occasion.
Among those visiting France, majority of them are for business, followed by tourism and higher studies. Direct flight to Paris daily from Bangalore is another incentive for Indians to travel to France.
Swiss consul general Rolf Frei hoped that the opening up of the visa application centre in the tech hub would encourage more Indians to travel to the picturesque country for business, tourism and leisure.
"We have seen an increase in issuing Swiss visas from India in 2011 to 76,700, which is 25 percent more than we issued in 2010," Frei recalled.
Read More: France | French Guiana | French Polynesia | Bangalore Royal Challengers IPL | Mumbai Indians | Bangalore Rural | Karnataka | Tamil Nadu | Kerala | Kerala-j | Penha De France | Andhra Mahila Sabha | S.v.u. P.g .centre | Bangalore Gpo | Bangalore City Mdg | Bangalore Corporation Building | Bangalore Fort | Bangalore Dist Offices Bldg | Kerala Estate | Nad | Ker | Andhra