INDIA – New Application Procedure for U.S. Based Applications
Effective 1 July, all India visa applications submitted in the U.S. will be processed via a new visa agency, called BLS International Services Ltd. The current provider, Travisa, will cease to provided India visa processing services in the U.S. Delays as a result of this transition are expected.
Who are BLS?
BLS is a visa processing agency which has won the contract for the management of all Indian visa applications handled in several countries, including Canada, China, South Africa and now, the US. Handling over the management of visa applications to a visa processing agency is fairly commonplace – many governments elect to do this, to minimise the number of incomplete and faulty applications they need to review. The agency is expected to conduct a first stage review and to only pass complete applications on to the actual Embassy or diplomatic post. Until now, Indian applications in the US have been handled via Travisa, but that contract has now been taken over by BLS.
Travisa has issued this FAQ sheet about the transitional period.
- Travisa will not accept new applications unless there is a proven need for urgency (life or death situation, wedding invitation or departure date of 9 July or earlier).
- Any applications previously submitted via Travisa and not finalised before 6pm on 28 June 2013 will need to be collected from BLS, rather than Travisa
It is anticipated that the transition period will cause delays, and also that applications submitted via BLS from 1 July 2013 may be somewhat challenging – BLS’s fees are considerably lower than Travisa’s, and there have been reports of poor service from applicants in Canada (where BLS already holds the contract).
- Note the new provider for U.S. based Indian visa applications. Applications can only be submitted after 1 July unless demonstrably urgent
- Anticipate some delays in visa processing for applicants based in the U.S. in coming weeks