Indian passport holders may soon get priority visas to 26 European countries
There's good news for people planning a trip to Europe as Schengen states may soon offer priority visa to Indian passport holders. The Schengen states comprise of 26 European countries. These are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The Schengen priority visa is not to be confused with the one offered by the UK. As of now, the UK offers 'super priority' visas at an additional cost of Rs 90,000. These visas take a day to be issued. The 'priority' visas offered by the UK amount to an additional Rs 20,000 and take less than a week to be issued.
The Schengen priority visas are likely to cost substantially less than its UK counterpart, as mentioned in a report in The Times of India.
The daily quoted CEO of VFS Global Group, Zubin Karkaria who said that foreign consulates want to reach out to more and more Indians. They are not just wooing tourists but also other categories, such as students who are a big section, second only to Chinese students for places like the UK and Australia.
Karkaria also said that the number of visa applications from India has grown by 10 to 15 per cent. However, it is more in Tier II cities where the numbers have seen a rise by 20 to 30 per cent.
"The growth is such that in peak (travel) times, we have had to keep our application centres in Delhi and Mumbai open on weekends, 24 hours a day," Karkaria told the daily.
Currently, a normal visa to the Schengen states takes around 15 to 30 days to be issued. It will be a welcome move for Indian passport-holders who will be able to access the Schengen states faster than what it takes now.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)