Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Indian embassy to outsource visa services

The Indian Embassy in the US has contracted an American firm to outsource its visa collection and delivery processes at its five diplomatic missions from October 1.

Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen said the new system will offer "speedy and efficient" service against the backdrop of a growing number of Americans travelling to India.

Travisa Outsourcing Inc will handle the outsourcing service for the embassy in the capital and the Consuls General in Chicago, Houston, New York and San Fransisco.

Sen said the outsourcing was necessary due to rapid transformation of India-US relations in recent years which has "manifested in an unprecedented growth of business travellers, tourists and other US residents to India and the introduction of several non-stop and additional travel services between the two countries".

The burgeoning cooperation in the economic, commercial, technological, educational and cultural fields and the "increasing close bonds" of the Indian American community with their country of origin has led to increasing demands for visa and other consular services, Sen said in a statement, adding "severe constraints" posed by space and shortage of trained personnel had made it difficult to provide efficient service.

Travisa Outsourcing will charge a service fee of $13 per visa application and offer same day collection at its visa application centres and next day service for applications received by post. It will also have a 24/7 call centre manned by bilingual staff.

The Indian envoy also said the consular wings of the missions will continue to offer services after office hours or on holidays for emergency travel on extreme compassionate grounds 365 days a year.