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Rashmi Sharma, an architect in Mohali, India, has been wanting to visit France for quite some time. She had planned to apply for a Schengen visa for her family around two weeks ago, but when she went to the VFS Global (Visa Facilitation Services Global) website, the earliest appointment available to submit her paperwork was on June 5. A Schengen visa is valid for up to ninety days and permits the holder to visit any of the twenty-seven countries that make up the Schengen Area of Europe. She decided against going to France since even if she got the appointment, it would still take another 15–20 days for her visa to be approved. Instead, Rashmi sought for a visa to the United Kingdom, which showed a space opening up in the following several days. They have sent in the paperwork as a family and are waiting for a response from the British High Commission. I aimed for a June departure because that’s when my daughter, who is also an architectural student, gets summer break. Before she gets too wrapped up in finals, my husband and I will be taking our daughter on a much-needed vacation.

Most Indian families take a vacation in June. The countries of Europe continue to be a popular vacation spot. “I start getting 70-80 queries per day in April, almost after the school board exams get over,” says Vinay Arora of Delhi’s Around The Globe (ATG) Holidays. Top contenders are Switzerland, France, Germany, and Spain. Since appointment dates for the submission of documents for the Schengen visa at VFS offices are currently unavailable, the vast majority of my clients are making alternative summer destination plans. Appointments in Switzerland take at least a month, while appointments in Germany, Spain, Italy, and France are currently unavailable. Appointment scheduling and visa issuance are going more smoothly in Canada and the UK. remarked Vinay.

The United Kingdom visa is highly sought after since it may be obtained in as little as a week and processed in as little as 15 days; moreover, a priority and super priority visit service is available for those with really pressing travel needs. “The UK continues to be a popular destination for Indian travellers,” said a representative of the British High Commission in India. Thirty percent of all UK visit visas, forty one percent of all student visas, and approximately one hundred twenty thousand work visas were awarded to Indian citizens in 2022.

There was a dramatic increase in visa applications in 2022. According to the Tourism Statistics 2022 report from the Union Ministry of Tourism, 85,5 lakh Indian people left the country in 2021. 42.1 percent of these trips were taken for vacation or other forms of pleasure.

In 2018, the total number of Indian visa applications across all categories reached a peak of almost 80% of the 2019 pre-pandemic level. According to the spokeswoman for VFS Global, the number of visa applications submitted in 2022 more than quadrupled from the previous year.

SOURCE :- https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/features/visa-delays-dampener-for-europe-travel-503378


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