COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions on Visa Application

In view of the ongoing COVID-19-related safety measures, many countries have issued detailed travel advisories. In rapidly changing scenarios, while some countries have closed Visa Application Centres completely, others remain functional and are accepting visa applications.

To check if the country you wish to travel to is accepting visa applications, you can check the ‘COVID-19: Customer advisories’ page on www.vfsglobal.com. For more detailed information, please check the country-specific page on www.vfsglobal.com (to access this, please enter the country you’re applying from and the country you’re going to, in the fields provided). All visa-related information pertaining to specific countries will be published here.

For the official travel advisories, please check the respective government/embassy/consulate website of the country you’re travelling from/to.

VFS Global’s official social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also posting timely updates on any such developments as advised by the respective client government/Embassy/Consulate.

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.

Hence, as the situation remains fluid, before you travel, do check the official travel advisories on the website of the respective country/government/embassy/consulate, or your travel service provider, even if you have a valid visa.

Check www.vfsglobal.com for information on our Visa Application Centres (see Question 1 on how to access this information on the VFS Global website).

Not necessarily, and this differs from country to country. Certain governments might have suspended some visa services and may not be accepting application for certain visa categories, but you may still be able to apply for other visa categories (for e.g. long-stay visas or residence permits) at your nearest VFS Global Visa Application Centre. Though, in the current development of the pandemic, a majority of governments we serve have suspended applications for all visa categories.

The Visa Application Centre may also be kept open to return passports to customers who have already applied or for enquiries. Many countries are encouraging customers who want to avoid visiting public places to opt for the optional courier service so they do not have to visit the Visa Application Centre to pick up the passport already submitted.

Please check www.vfsglobal.com for this information (see Question 1 on how to access this information on the VFS Global website).

Once an application is submitted, you can receive updates on your application’s progress through VFS Global’s online tracking service, or via text messaging if you have opted for the SMS service. The status will be updated as and when your passport is ready for collection/delivery.

In such cases, the Visa Application Centre is strictly following the instructions of the concerned diplomatic mission and cannot track your application during the assessment process within an embassy or consulate. Processing times are at the prerogative of the concerned embassy/consulate.

Most of our centres continue to operate the Passport Passback service, returning processed passports to customers. For safety reasons, select countries have sanctioned courier return of submitted passports and documents to registered addresses.

If you wish to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please visit the country-specific page (accessed on www.vfsglobal.com – by entering the name of the country you’re applying from and the country you wish to travel to) and follow cancellation / rescheduling process as stated on the website of that particular country.

Please check if the concerned Visa Application Centre is open in your city/country, on www.vfsglobal.com. If it is, or when it re-opens, you will be able to re-apply for the visa.

You will be able to schedule a new appointment or reschedule an existing one (as per the process stipulated on the country-specific website page on www.vfsglobal.com), once VFS Global is directed to re-open the Visa Application Centre.

Customers are advised to write to communications@vfsglobal.com for refund requests. In general, for issued visas, fees cannot be refunded. Visas are sometimes valid for several months and can be used to travel at a later stage.

If your visa application is under processing, you might still be able to withdraw your application and get a refund of the visa fee. Please note, refund policies vary among governments and VFS Global does not decide on visa fee refunds. This is at the sole discretion of the government/embassy/consulate.

Once the Visa Application Centre re-opens, customers can check if their original appointment can be rescheduled by reaching out to the email ID or helpline mentioned on the country-specific website (accessed on www.vfsglobal.com – by entering the name of the country you’re applying from and the country you wish to travel to).

For refund requests, customers are advised to write to customercare@vfsglobal.com. Please note refund policies vary among governments and VFS Global does not decide on visa fee refunds, which are at the sole discretion of the government/embassy/consulate.

VFS Global does not require medical tests for customers visiting the centre, unless specified by the country/embassy/consulate you are applying for. Medical reports are usually a part of necessary documentation in some visa applications, though they may not be related to COVID-19.

For the safety of customers and staff, VFS Global performs a body temperature screening of visitors at Visa Application Centres in some countries/cities.

Many countries have issued detailed travel advisories and have put in place border control measures, in view of the ongoing COVID-19-related developments. Accordingly, some governments mandate quarantine for citizens and residents returning from specific countries or advise self-isolation, while others have specified which categories of travellers are allowed to enter without any additional testing. Many countries, eg. those in the European Union, currently will not allow immigration unless being a citizen or resident of the respective country.

For the most accurate information, do check travel advisories issued by the governments on the website of the respective country/embassy/consulate.

Advisories for various countries differ slightly from each other. Several countries have put in place border control measures temporarily disallowing certain categories of non-essential travellers to submit visa applications.

However, if you already hold a valid work or residence permit, you may still be able to enter some countries, despite entry restrictions. For details and to check if this applies to you, do check travel advisories issued by governments on the website of the respective country/embassy/consulate, or www.vfsglobal.com (see Question 1 on how to access this information on the VFS Global website).

VFS Global Visa Application Cenres will re-open according to the directives of the respective client governments/embassy/consulate. The country-specific website on www.vfsglobal.com will be updated as soon as this happens. Please do keep checking this page for this information.

In case of queries, please write to customercare@vfsglobal.com or reach us on Twitter @vfsglobalcare. Our team will be glad to support/assist you at the earliest.

To check if the country you wish to travel to is accepting visa applications, you can check the ‘COVID-19: Customer advisories’ page on www.vfsglobal.com.

For more detailed information, please check the country-specific page on www.vfsglobal.com (to access this, please enter the country you’re applying from and the country you’re going to, in the fields provided). All visa-related information pertaining to specific countries will be published here.

You can also check VFS Global’s official social media pages which are posting timely updates. You can follow these on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VFSGlobal

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VFSGlobalOfficial/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/vfs-global-services