Those going to the UK can submit their visa forms and biometric data from the convenience of their residence. A service, On Demand Mobile Visa service, launched by visa processing service VFS Global and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) gives applicants the choice of submitting their visa forms and biometric data from a place of their convenience, subject to risk assessment.The on-demand service costs 750 British pounds or about Rs 70,000 for up to 10 applicants. Visa fee is extra.
The service will be useful for high net worth individuals and large groups going to the UK such as corporate employees, students or film production unit members who do not wish to visit visa application centres.
VFS Global's COO-South Asia Vinay Malhotra said: "This service is applicable for all categories of visas, except long-term student visas whose applicants may be required to come to the visa application centre for a video interview with authorities in the UK."
Last year, UKVI issued more than 450,000 visas to Indian citizens. Collection of biometric data was introduced for UK visas in 2007, making the visit to a processing centre mandatory. Before that, an applicant or a representative could submit a visa application at an application centre, Malhotra said.
The UK government collects biometrics such as fingerprints and facial images of visa applicants.
Other countries that collect similar data include the US, Ireland and the Schengen members. Four Schengen member-countries — Portugal, Denmark, Hungary and Slovenia — will introduce similar biometrics and visa-form collection service in India soon.
Nick Crouch, UK Visas & Immigration's regional director, said, "This is yet another example of UKVI and VFS working in partnership to offer visa applicants the service they want. It is a direct result of customer feedback and we are confident that these services will prove popular. We will continue to work together to improve our services even further."