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India liberalizes visa requirement for Poland

The Embassy of India has liberalised the requirements of biometric data capture for Polish group tourists and postal applicants. This step is aimed at the convenience of travellers from Poland to India and in response to representations received from various stakeholders over the past days.

2. The Government of India has, in principle, decided to capture from 2015, biometric traits of face and fingerprints for reliable personal identification/verification of visa applicant and for faster immigration clearance. Capturing biometric data is a globally accepted good practice, increasingly being used by several countries to improve the security of their citizens. Schengen countries are also expected to make similar biometric capture mandatory in 2015.

3. In pursuance of this decision, with effect from 1st February, 2015 the Service Provider of the Embassy of India, M/s BLS International Services Ltd, started biometric data capture from visa applicants in Warsaw and Vilnius. The following categories of applicants were, however, are exempted from the biometrics requirement: i) applicants below 12 years and above 70 years of age; and ii) holders of diplomatic passports. In further liberation of norms, the Embassy has exempted biometric capture for two more categories of visa applicants till further notice. These are: a) group tourists arranged by tour operators/agencies; b) applications received by post.

4. Commenting on the development, newly-appointed Ambassador of India Ajay Bisaria said, “We are looking at ways to deepen engagement with Poland and Lithuania. We look forward to facilitating travel of our friends from here, not adding any obstacles. We want the visa experience for applicants to be positive and inviting. At the same time we stand committed to the security of all travellers.” Head of the Consultar Wing, Mr. G.R. Meena said that all efforts are being made to streamline issue of visas. The Indian Embassy issued 18710 visas in 2014 (16898 in Poland and 1812 in Lithuania).

5. The Embassy of India will continue to capture biometric data from those who are coming in person to the Visa Application Centre (BLS Office).