INDIA – Mandatory Biometric Enrolment for Seven Visa Categories in the United Kingdom
The High Commission of India in London has announced that applicants for seven visa categories (including employment visas, but not tourist or business visas) are required to register their biometric data, effective 19 August 2016.
Who is affected?
Applicants for the following seven Indian visa categories in the UK are now required to enrol their biometric data:
- Employment visa;
- Journalist visa;
- Research visa;
- Student visa;
- Visit visa (applicable to Pakistani nationals only);
- Project visa;
- Missionary visa.
Note that this does not include tourist or business visas.
Applicants under the age of twelve or over the age of 70 are exempt from the new biometric enrolment requirement.
What is the procedure?
The biometric enrolment involves capture of facial and fingerprint data, during the visa application appointment at one of the fourteen Indian Visa Application Centres (IVACs) being operated by the sole UK service provider, VFS.
Personal appearance at an IVAC is now mandatory for applications for the above seven visa categories in the UK.
In February 2015, The High Commission of India in London announced the introduction of mandatory appointments and biometric data collection for visa applications in the UK, as part of the global IVFRT (Indian Visa and Foreigners Registration and Tracking) Programme. Biometric testing is now available in almost half of India’s diplomatic missions.
However, after concern was expressed by tour operators, the High Commission in London clarified that applications via post or courier would still be accepted, and that the biometric enrolment requirement had been postponed.
In 2014, the Indian government launched the e-Tourist Visa on Arrival (eTV) scheme, which now allows nationals of 150 countries to apply online, obtain an eTV within three days, and stay in India for up to 30 days for leisure, short duration medical treatment, "casual business” visits or to meet friends and relatives. eTV holders must enroll their biometric data on arrival in India at one of the sixteen designated airports.
- Applicants for any of the affected visa categories in the UK should note that applications via post or courier are no longer possible, and that biometric data will be registered during the application appointment.