Frequently Asked Questions on Travel and Visa were Answered Briefly

News Desk, News Nation 360 : The travel and tourism industry, unarguably, is one of the most affected sectors since the onset of COVID-19. With country borders sealed, cities brought to a standstill and all transportation stationary, it is difficult to imagine the recovery trajectory of travel. Industry experts suggest that while travel will eventually, recover in stages, it should be expected a shift in both travel norms and traveller behaviour. 
Q : What happens to passports submitted before services were suspended?
A : Following the national lockdown in India, Visa Application Centres had to shut down operations in adherence to directives from central and local authorities and diplomatic missions. When the Visa Application Centres are allowed to re-open, VFS Global will be able to evaluate at which stage of assessment each application is and resume the applicant return process accordingly.

Q : Will Visa Application Centres open for appointments once the national lockdown lifts?
A : Visa Application Centres in any city/country operate according to the directives of the central and local authorities and the diplomatic mission / the country being applied to. In some cases, even if central/local authorities lift the lockdown, the country one is applying to may not be accepting visa applications. In this scenario, an open Visa Application Centre might not serve the purpose.

Q : What are health and safety precautions implemented at the centres? 
A :
As per guidelines prescribed by the World Health Organization, as well as local authorities, both customers and employees at Visa Application Centres will be subject to body temperature checks, face masks and gloves – for their own protection and that of others. Centres are also maintaining preventive measures such as disinfecting high-contact surfaces, use of hand sanitizers, and social distancing practices.

Q : When services resume, can one avoid visiting a Visa Application Centre as a social distancing precaution?
A :
Once services resume, customers who wish to avoid visiting public places can also use optional services, such as the Visa at the Doorstep service for application submission – with this service, trained VFS Global staff will visit the customer’s location of choice (home, office, etc.) to complete the visa application submission process and/or biometric enrolment if needed while maintaining necessary health precautions.

Q : Would one be required to submit medical history for visa applications?
A :
Medical reports are usually a part of required documentation in some visa applications, though they may or may not be related to COVID-19. However, as governments may beef up health screening measures going forward, make sure one has carefully been through the updated document checklist requirements for the country one is visiting, in case of any medical and vaccination, histories are required as part of the visa application.

Q : What about work and residency permits?
A :
Although most governments have currently suspended travel visa services, customers may still be able to apply for other categories such as long-stay visas or residence permits. However, this remains limited to only a few countries. Several countries have put in place border control measures, temporarily disallowing certain non-essential travellers to submit visa applications.

Q : What happens to a valid visa, if the country in question has restricted/banned travel?
A :
Advisories for various countries differ with regards to who can enter, irrespective of whether they hold a valid visa or not. Some countries have imposed border control measures that only allow citizens, residents, or specific permit holders to enter the country, and disallow other non- essential travellers even if they hold a valid visa. For further information on any of the above queries or any details that one may need to plan his/her next international travel, one can visit www.vfsglobal.com.

Report : Anustup Kundu

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