Sunday, 8 March 2015

Concerns raised over mandatory fingerprinting for India visas

A COMPLAINT about requirements for British travellers to India to appear at an application centre to be fingerprinted to obtain visas has been raised by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

The association fears the biometric testing is an extra hurdle that will deter potential visitors.

Visa applicants will first have to book on-line individual appointments at one of 14 centres on-line from March 14. 

The extra centres will be in cities including Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, and Belfast.

The Indian High Commission in London says: ‘Biometric data collection, including fingerprint data and facial imagery, will be a mandatory requirement for all visa applicants soon. 

As a result, all visa applicants will need to first apply online and, thereafter, be physically present (mandatorily) at India Visa and Consular Services centres, by appointment, for submission of visa application and biometric data enrolment.’

ABTA is making an official complaint over the changes. ‘We are writing to the Indian High Commission expressing our concern about the short notice given concerning this change to visa requirements, requesting that they either reconsider or delay its introduction,’ says its head of Destinations and Sustainability, Nikki White.

‘We are also expressing our concerns about the requirement for individual family members to book separate appointments which could cause considerable unnecessary inconvenience and have the unintended consequence of discouraging travel to India. In recent months, due to a combination of circumstances – not least the publicity over several rape incidents – the country has become a difficult destination to sell. This latest move will only exacerbate the situation."

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Picture Credit: "Indian BSF Soldier" by India_soldier.jpg: Still Thinkingderivative work: Jovianeye via Wikimedia Commons

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