France of­fers long-term visas

France will now of­fer a large num­ber of three or five-year visas to fre­quent visi­tors as the Schen­gen Area im­ple­ments bio­met­rics in In­dia from Novem­ber 2, 2015.

TravTalk - India - - VISA - TT BU REAU

To fa­cil­i­tate travel through­out the Schen­gen Area and help is­sue long- term visas more eas­ily, France, in line with all the coun­tries of the Schen­gen Area, will is­sue bio­met­ric visas to In­dian cit­i­zens with ef­fect from Novem­ber 2, 2015. In this con­text, the French Em­bassy in In­dia will of­fer a large num­ber of three or five-year cir­cu­la­tion visas to fre­quent visi­tors of France.

Eight new VFS cen­tres have been opened across In­dia, bring­ing up their num­ber to a to­tal of 14 (in Ahmed­abad, Ben­galuru, Chandi­garh, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Kolkata, Mum­bai, Puducherry, and Pune), to en­sure the best pos­si­ble prox­im­ity to the ap­pli­cants.

All visa ap­pli­cants will now be asked to come in per­son at any listed VFS cen­tre of their choice to reg­is­ter their bio­met­ric data. Chil­dren un­der the age of 12 years are ex­empted from this pro­ce­dure. The recorded bio­met­ric data will be stored for a pe­riod of 59 months ( al­most five years), ob­vi­at­ing the need for ap­pli­cants to come in per­son again for re­new­ing their visa. The bio­met­ric data recorded by France will be valid dur­ing this pe­riod for all Schen­gen Area coun­tries (sim­i­larly, the data recorded by any Schen­gen Area coun­try will be valid for France dur­ing a pe­riod of 59 months).

In­dia will thus en­ter a sys­tem al­ready be­ing used by Schen­gen States al­most glob­ally, while other coun­tries, such as the UK and the US, have long been im­ple­ment­ing bio­met­rics in In­dia. The tran­si­tion to bio­met­rics will not im­pact the visa is­suance pe­riod, which, for In­dia, is a max­i­mum of 48 hours in keep­ing with the com­mit­ment of the French au­thor­i­ties (in cities where a con­sular of­fice ex­ists: Delhi, Mum­bai, Ben­galuru, Kolkata and Puducherry; 72 hours in other cases). Sim­i­larly, tran­si­tion to bio­met­rics will not im­pact visa fees, which will re­main un­changed.

France, the top global tourist des­ti­na­tion, wel­comes 300,000 In­dian visi­tors ev­ery year and wishes to re­ceive them in greater num­bers. The tran­si­tion to bio­met­rics will help ease and se­cure their travel to France. The ap­pli­cant is obliged to come in per­son only once (to have their fin­ger­prints and pho­to­graph taken). The visa can be col­lected ei­ther by the ap­pli­cants them­selves, or by a per­son they have au­tho­rised if they wish to avoid making a sec­ond trip. Visas is­sued prior to the in­tro­duc­tion of bio­met­rics will re­main valid.

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