Visa process goes online at UAE Indian missions

Dubai: Indian missions in the UAE on Tuesday started accepting online visa applications making life easier for many who visit India frequently from the Emirates, a top diplomat has said.

The Indian missions will stop accepting physical application forms from January 1 next year, India's ambassador to the UAE MK Lokesh announced here on Monday.

Lokesh said the Government of India has taken a decision to make it mandatory for all applicants to apply for Indian tourist visa online.

"This system of online application is being rolled out in a phased manner in all Indian embassies and consulates around the world. It will be introduced on a voluntary basis in the UAE with effect from October 18, 2011," he said.

"It will be mandatory from January 1, 2012. During the transition period, the applicants can continue the use the current visa forms if they choose to do so," the ambassador added.

He also said that applicants will have an option to either submit the application online or approach BLS International, an outsourced company, to submit visa application for a nominal fee.

Lokesh clarified that even though online application for visa processing is outsourced, the processing of a visa application will take minimum three days.

Indian Consul General in Dubai, Sanjay Verma, also addressed the media on the occasion.

Missions in the UAE issue between 80,000 to 100,000 visas to tourists and business visitors from the country to India and the number of visitors are increasing.

BLS said it will offer appointment scheduling facility through its website and dedicated phone lines.