Get visas to 28 countries at new VFS centre in Abu Dhabi
Visa outsourcing firm VFS Global on Sunday opened its new 24,000-square-foot visa application centre in Abu Dhabi that shall serve missions from 28 countries.
Residents can go to the centre to apply for visas to Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, UK and Ukraine.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Vinay Malhotra – regional group COO for the Middle East, South Asia and China at VFS Global – clarified that the existing centre at Shining Tower in Al Khalidiya is no longer functional.
“We have moved all operations here. There are 72 application submission counters. And the centre can take more than 1,500 applicants a day, almost 100,000 a year,” he said. The new state-of-the-art centre integrates all the operations that were taking place in the Capital, and it is considered one of the firm’s flagship centres around the world.
It is located at The Mall, World Trade Centre, on the Khalifa Bin Zayed the First Street, popularly known as the Airport Road.
The services it offers include door delivery of passports, provision to apply for the visa from home, chauffeur-driven pick-up and drop-off, personalised assistance, automated processing, and mobile biometric services, among others.
Around 150-170 staff members are serving customers at the centre. During the peak season, an additional 100 to 120 will be joining in.
Apart from normal services, the centre offers a premium lounge service with 24 counters.
All the 28 missions – apart from Norway and Canada – are being served at the premium lounge. The cost ranges from Dh250 to Dh315 per person.
Then, there is the exclusive platinum lounge service, which includes chauffeur service to and from the centre and personalised assistance that guides customers from completing the application form and paying the fees.
Missions that have availed of this service include Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia, the UK and Ukraine. The cost of platinum Longue is Dh600-650 for Schengen visa and Dh1,200 for the UK.
‘More residents are travelling’
The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmed Al Banna, the chief guest at the inauguration event, noted that the new centre is yet another proof of the rapid pace with which Abu Dhabi and the UAE are growing.
“Emiratis and others living in Abu Dhabi have a strong desire for travel abroad, which is illustrated through the sheer volume of visa applications processed by VFS Global in the emirate over recent years,” he said.
The envoy also led the unveiling of the centre’s steel statue of the UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
In 2018, the Abu Dhabi Centre of VFS has accounted for over 80,000 visa applications.
And between January and June of 2019, it processed over 65,800 visa applications, which is a significant growth of 13 per cent in comparison to the applications processed during the same period in 2018.