VFS Global have changed the format of their website for the new season. There are a few changes which I will list below.
Offline applications (handwritten) is now actually STATED on the website as being permitted.
With effect from 22nd April 2009, all POSTAL APPLICATIONS will be processed at the Centralised Postal Processing Centre at Hayes and postal applications need a minimum of 10 working days to be processed. This does not include the period they are in transit to and from the High Commission or the Consulate General. The address for postal applications is:
Indian Visa Application Centre
1 - 3 Canalside
For anyone applying at present, the postal application will take 1 - 2 ADDITIONAL days due to the re-direction of post from the Birmingham and Edinburgh centres to the Centralised Postal Unit at Hayes.
SECURITY REGULATIONS AT THE VISA APPLICATION CENTRES:
For security reasons the following items will not be permitted inside the Application Centre or stored in the premises:
Any battery operated or electronic gadgets such as cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3's, floppies, laptops, or portable music players. Applicants are requested not to use mobile phones while at the submission counters.
Any inflammable items such as matchboxes, lighters, fuel etc.
Any sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail files.
Weapon or weapon like objects or explosive material of any kind.
Other items may be prohibited based on security staff discretion.
All Visa application centres are under 24 hours CCTV surveillance.
FRISKING AND SEARCHING PROCEDURE:
In the interest of safety and security, VFS will be performing bag and person searches of applicants and visitors. Please have the following documentation ready for inspection: Passport, application form and collection receipts, if applicable.
Please Note: There is no facility at the Visa Application Centre to store prohibited items. Applicants are requested to make alternate arrangements to keep the same before entry into the centre.
The fee is still £30 for a 6 month tourist visa and the handling charge is £8.86 (Inclusive of VAT and Bank Charges) and is applicable per passport and is non-refundable.
Processing time for UK Nationals is a minimum of 2-3 working days (postal applications excluded) from the date of submission at any of the visa application centres. (The same can vary from case to case.)
CALL CENTRE NUMBER:
The call centre number has been changed to 09057570045.
SIGNING THE FORM:
The visa application form must be signed and dated by the applicant. In the case of minors, either of the parents can sign on the applicants behalf.
The online tracking of the visa application is the same as last season but there is now a new link for 'Royal Mail Track and Trace' to enable you to track the return of your passport/visa provided you have the Royal Mail Track and Trace 13 character reference number.
There are now the following application centres:
London (two centres)
Many thanks to Bruary for bringing the changes to our attention and I hope this new information has helped a little. We may be bumping it up again a few times in the coming months. Good luck to all!!!