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A change of heart by the provider of tourist visas to India to allow postal applications in addition to personal appointments has been welcomed by Abta.
New requirements in February for British travellers to India to appear at application centres to be fingerprinted to obtain a visa to travel to the country sparked a storm of protest from the trade.
This came after the Indian High Commission outsourced the visa issuing process to provider VFS.
However, the mandatory biometric testing for visa applicants – seen an extra hurdle likely to deter potential visitors – has now been deferred until further notice.
Applicants have been told that the processing time for postal applications to its application centre In Hounslow will take a minimum of two to three weeks.
“All applicants are advised to book their travel plan upon obtaining the appropriate visa,” the provider said. “VFS will not be responsible for any loss for any bookings made in anticipation of obtaining a visa.”
An Abta spokeswoman said: “Abta has worked closely with the Indian authorities over the last few weeks, raising our concerns about their decision to revise the visa application process and remove the option to obtain a visa by post.
“We welcome the news that they have now decided to include an option for British holidaymakers to apply for visas to India by post rather than having to do so in person.
“However, it is still very important that holidaymakers familiarise themselves with any visa requirements before booking their travel arrangements and ensure that they allow sufficient time for a successful application.”
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