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Indian Passport Holders To Get Schengen Priority Visas Soon

Travelling to Europe may soon get easier for Indian passport holders. Reports say that Schengen states may soon offer priority visas to holders of the Indian passport; a move that is sure to be welcomed by many.

The Schengen states comprise 26 European countries - Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Right now, UK offers priority visas to Indian citizens at an additional cost of Rs 90,000 for 'super priority' visas, where the visa process takes a day. The 'priority' category of visas to the UK come at an extra fee of Rs 20,000 and the visa decision takes less than a week.

The Schengen priority charges, reports the Times of India, are likely to be much lower than the rates for UK.

The UK started the super priority visa category keeping in mind businessmen who need to travel from India to the country at an extremely short notice.

The daily quoted Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global Group (who handle visas to most countries from India) as saying, "Foreign consulates want to reach out to more and more Indians. They are wooing not just tourists but also other categories. Students from India are a big category, second only to the Chinese for places like UK and Australia."

He also said that the number of visa applications from India have grown by 10 to 15 per cent but in Tier II cities, the number has 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 take about 15 to 30 days to be processed. For Indian passport holders who need to travel to the Schengen states on a short notice, the revised visa rules will make the process of travelling much easier.

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