At a time when India is proudly announcing that the Tourist "Visas on Arrival" will be progressively extended to countries, and eventually Australia, we have now an additional burden for those wishing to obtain a visa currently. While one understands the security issues that India is addressing, this will stop Australians who live outside major urban centres considering a holiday in India. The following has been distributed to us from India Tourism's Sydney Office:
BIOMETRIC DATA, AND APPOINTMENTS FOR INDIAN VISAS FROM OCTOBER
The government of India is rolling out biometric data collection for Indian visas globally. The scheme has already been implemented in several countries. This is part of the larger IVFRT (Indian Visa and Foreigners Registration and Tracking) Programme, says a media release issued by the Consulate General of India Sydney.
From 1 October 2014, submission of all applications including visas, passport, OCIs and miscellaneous consular services will require an appointment to be made online at www.vfsglobal.com/region/australia together with the online application process. Applications will no longer be accepted from walk-in applicants from 1 October 2014 and all applicants will need to have an appointment made prior to submission.
From 15 October 2014, biometric data collection, including fingerprint data and facial imagery, will be a mandatory requirement for all visa applicants. As a result, all visa applicants will need to be physically present (mandatorily) at a visa application centre, by appointment, for submission of visa application and biometric data enrolment.
Diplomatic personnel travelling on official purposes are exempt from applying at a visa application centre and may lodge their applications directly at the High Commission of India in Canberra or Consulate General of India in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, as the case may be.