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 / travel restrictions. While some countries have closed Visa Application Centres completely, others remain functional and are accepting visa applications in certain categories.

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 official travel advisories or information about travel restrictions, 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.

Visa Application Centres in any city/country will be operational according to the directives of a) the local authorities and b) the client government or the country being applied for. In some cases, even if the lockdown is lifted by local authorities, the country you are applying to may not yet be accepting visa applications.

Hence, before visiting the Visa Application Centre, we advise you to check if the Visa Application Centre in your city/country is open. For this information, do check the ‘COVID-19: Customer advisories’ page, or the country-specific page on www.vfsglobal.com (to access the country-specific page, please enter the country you’re applying from and the country you’re going to, in the fields provided).

The safety of our customers and staff is our topmost priority. Our Visa Application Centres globally are implementing precautionary measures for the prevention of COVID-19, as per the guidelines prescribed by the World Health Organisation as well as local authorities which would also be applicable to customers visiting our centres.

Customers at our centres may be subjected to body temperature checks to assess their health conditions. Customers may also be required to wear a face mask and/or gloves. If customers are seen to be showing COVID-19 symptoms, including fever (higher than 37.3 degrees Celsius), cough and/or difficulty breathing, they may be requested to reschedule their appointments to another day.

Employees across our Centres are also maintaining preventive measures such as disinfecting high-contact surfaces, body temperature screenings, use of hand sanitizers, regular hand-washing, and social distancing practices.

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

Citizens who are yet to travel and whose existing visa is expiring soon, or has expired, can re-apply for a fresh visa when operations resume. Those who had already travelled before lockdown to the foreign country and whose visas are due to expire soon, are urged to reach out to the concerned embassy/consulate for an extension.

Hence, as the situation remains fluid, do check official travel advisories or information about travel restrictions 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 applying for a fresh visa.

Not necessarily, and this differs from country to country. Certain governments might have suspended all visa services while some governments may be accepting applications only for certain visa categories. In case of the latter, you may be able to apply for these specific visa categories (for e.g. long-stay visas or residence permits) at your nearest VFS Global Visa Application Centre. However, please keep in mind that 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 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 to find out if the centre in your city is operational (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.

Some centres in some regions may 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 registeredaddresses. Please check www.vfsglobal.com to find out if the centre in your city is operational (see Question 1 on how to access this information on the VFS Global website).

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.

VFS Global does not seek any COVID-related medical test reports for customers visiting the centre, unless specified by the country/embassy/consulate you are applying to.

Medical reports are usually a part of necessary documentation in some visa applications, though they may or may not be related to COVID-19. While putting together documentation for your visa application, please go through the document checklist carefully. Document checklists clearly specify which documents are required for your visa application and are available on 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).

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 customercare@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.

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vfsglobalofficial/

For general travel information related to destinations, travel news, or travel advice, you can visit our #TravelAgain page on this site. Safe travels!