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VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Goa, India
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113 posts
2 reviews
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VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Hi All, from a wet and hot Goa.

Has anyone been to the VFS Visa Office in Birmingham.

All the Indian visa applications are now outsourced to this company as of 6th June.

Just wondering if it is any better than the Indian Embassy.

Any comments.

Thanks. B.

Goa
Destination Expert
for Calangute, Siolim
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4,043 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Hi,

Went and found where it was just before it opened

Here is the link to the post.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297604-i9241-k201…

Definately no more "Same Day" visas.Turn around they say is 15 days on postal applications and 2 to 3 days on personal visits, so in that respect its a lower quality service,plus its £8 a time to use them, (postal costs extra of course) so lesser service at a higher price for all.

Don't know if this set up has finished off the Surgeries which many people also used to use.

Note that NO hand writen visa applications are accepted by them so obviously no thought of those that do not use P/S's,of which no doubt there are many but havent experianced what it functions like yet.That pleasure!! comes next year maybe.

As a high percentage of uses of this forum are on their annual hol travelling charter when they visit Goa they will just about now probably be starting to send for their visas so expect feed back on experiances with the new system pretty soon.

Goa, India
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113 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

"Note that NO hand writen visa applications are accepted by them so obviously no thought of those that do not use P/S's,of which no doubt there are many but havent experianced what it functions like yet.That pleasure!! comes next year maybe."

Does this mean you can't fill in the official application form by hand in black ink as you would normally do, or do you mean just sending your passport and money and a letter asking for a visa.

Strange this one eh.

We are going in August, so we will find out. If it,s going to be a pain in the whatist, we think we will move away from Goa.

B

Goa
Destination Expert
for Calangute, Siolim
Level Contributor
4,043 posts
13 reviews
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3. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Hi,

I take it to mean that the form cannot be hand written as usual.it has to be filled out on line then print out maybe,not sure as havent done it but there is another post on the subject and more information may be available there

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297604-i6045-k2…

Goa
13 posts
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4. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

This is my first hand experience of the new system - thought it may be useful - I have had Indian visas for the last 17 years so I reckon I am pretty familiar with the old set up.

Star date Birmingham June 2008

The new system - What a fiasco.

I went on their website and read up as much as possible.

It appeared to give you several options

Either print off the application from to complete and then either go personally with it or post it (which takes several weeks to come back)

Or complete it and submit it online and also pay online. And then either post or hand deliver your passport and supporting docs.

Sounds good so far……

I decided it would be good to submit and pay online and then drop the rest of the documents in personally as i was in the area anyway.

Completion of the application form was nightmare – there were no instructions as what each field would accept so it was guess work all the time eg should a field be left blank or completed with N/A NO or NONE. Many fields did not accept punctuation etc etc. Anyway 2 hours later I succeeded in getting to the next option page. The options included a pay online link which I clicked and it came up out of service not yet up and running mmmm (this has since been greyed out) from this message page there was no way to go back or move on so I had to start all over again. I knew what to do this time so it didn’t take quite so long to fill in (40 mins) and when I got to the options page again I then chose to make make an appointment.

I soon discovered that they do not make appointments more than 15 days in advance. I didn’t want to lose the form a second time so I clicked an appt for the next day.

When the calendar came up it only allowed you to choose a day but you have no choice over the time so I got 10am slot which meant getting up at the crack of dawn. The screen that comes up after making the appointment they ask you to print out and it contains your appointment details and a web reference number.

I turned up the following morning to find 100’s of people all with the same appt time! – So basically all the new system has done is move the queues from the High Commission to an identical building around the corner.

They have a jobsworth uniformed guard at the door who then gives you numbered ticket and then you just sit and wait. I was seen at 11.30. So even tho I had an appointment which clearly said get there no more than 15 mins before it would have paid to have got there as early as possible.

I handed over passport pics etc. I was then asked for the application form – I told her I had already submitted it online and showed her the ref number on the printout. She looked at me as if I was mental and asked why I hadn’t printed it off and brought it with me!!!!! Unbelievable. I was pretty exasperated as you can imagine but she gave me an application form which I then completed by hand in 5 mins. They have cc terminals so paying by card is a big improvement at least.

By going to the center it is possible to get the visa in 3 working days - there is no such thing as same day visas except in emergency cases so i returned 3 days later. Another friend was also about to apply for a visa I told her the above story and said it wasn’t worth going all through the online stuff as it had got me nowhere and took hours and suggested she just fill in the old form as I had done.

We went at 11am as collection is from 11am. First of all jobsworth wouldn’t let said friend in through the door as she hadn’t got a web reference number!! He told her she HAD to have one to come inside and the only way to get one was to register online – he then gave here a little hand printed guide off his desk which told her to go to a cyber café around the corner where there were people who could help her complete the online form.

I got my numbered ticket for collection which showed I was about 100th in the queue so we both went off to the cyber café. It was obvious it was connected in some way to VFS global – it was brand spanking new and obviously done out by the same shopfitters – same carpet and furniture and oh so handy. It was full of folks all scratching their heads over the same bloody online form. Seems they also had found the website confusing and difficult to use – what a surprise. They were charging £7 an hour with a 20% discount if you were there to do your visa online registration Friend did hers in 45 mins and parted with £3 for the pleasure. I have no doubt in my mind that the cyber cafe is run by relatives of either High Commision VSF staff - but then am I being a cynic?

There was a further scam going on – all down one side of the road the land is obviously earmarked for development with builders board’s up but nothing happening. Part of the road is pay parking but the top end, right outside the offices, presumably because of the impending building work, has no markings and everyone was parking all over the place.

When we arrived there was an unmarked white van in the middle of the road the guy sitting in it had clamped dozens of vehicles with plain black wheel clamps and was sitting waiting. There was panic inside and loads of people rushing out – by the time we came out all the vehicles had been unclamped and moved, presumably having paid in excess of a £100. When we got back the second time he was there again clamping another batch. The jobsworth could see all this going on as it was right under his nose but was not saying a word. Surely these clamping companies have to be licenced? They must have been making £1000’s a day

Presume both the cyber café and the wheel clamping guys are cousins of someone at the consulate.

This visa business has become very expensive indeed and more so for some.

So to conclude

1 leave yourself plenty of time to apply for your visa and GO NOWHERE NEAR THE PLACE there is absolutely no point going there in person.

2 Complete your online application and sumit it but REMEMBER TO PRINT OFF A COPY.

3 Post the application and supporting docs and sit back and wait for 15days.

GOOD LUCK

Goa
13 posts
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5. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Sorry me again. I have just rechecked their instructions on the website of VFS - i quote

'For your own convenience and to save time, you are advised to complete the Indian visa application form online . Thereafter please make an appointment to submit your application and passport at the Visa Application Centre or send it by Post to our Goswell, Edinburgh or Birmingham application centre, depending upon your jurisdiction.

Alternatively, you can walk into our India Visa Application Centres wait in the queue and submit your application.'

They make it sound like an option to submit it online but in reality it is the ONLY option.

They also make it sound very casual by saying simply walk in to one of their centers and queue - in reality you WILL NOT GET THROUGH THE DOOR without a web reference number.

Benaulim
Level Contributor
298 posts
1 review
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6. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

When the season starts, october onwards, should be fun, for the sun!!!!!!

Manchester
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104 posts
48 reviews
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7. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Im not quite sure what all the fuss is about

I applied for my visa on line last monday,and sent my passport last Tuesday

My visa arrived back on Monday,so took less than a week!!!

The whole process is quite simple(as long as you have access to a printer)

The only complaint i have is the cost...but as we all know its worth it

I really do think it is a quick,simple and effecient service

vkb
mississippi
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624 posts
16 reviews
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8. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Some of you seem to think VFS Global is an arm of the Indian Cosulate. It is not. It is a private company serving 25 Diplomatic missions in more than 40 countries. It's client list includes UK, USA, Australia, Canada and China just to name five. Problems you are having with VFS are not a "scam" run by the Indian Government as a few of you have tried to imply. Please get your facts right before you accuse diplomatic missions of corruption.

Kolkata (Calcutta...
Destination Expert
for Kolkata (Calcutta), Darjeeling, India
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8,420 posts
22 reviews
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9. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Well said, vkb.

Besides, I am yet to read on this forum that anyone has followed the procedure correctly and NOT got their Visa. Admittedly, its a new process. But if you forgot something or assumed something or did not bring something, its no ones fault but your own. Please don't blame it on scams and whatnot.

York, United Kingdom
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726 posts
7 reviews
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10. Re: VFS Visa Office Birmingham

Yet one more bellicose post from VKB.

As one who has been embroiled in the new process of obtaining a visa I see that most people on this forum are not complaining about scams or corruption when obtaining a visa. What they are complaining about is the new system; having to apply online when lots will not have access to a computer or printer; the confusion (for some) and lack of guidance filling in the form; the total cost of obtaining a visa; the inability to pay online as you are supposed to do and, worst of all from my point of view, the virtual impossibilty to book a suitable appointment for someone living outside London.

Although I now know several have commented to say they have got their visas back through the post with no problems, I was not prepared to risk that method in view of what I had experienced and my only alternative was to employ an agency which I did at a cost of £138 for two visas. Expensive by any standards although the postal method is not cheap either!

As I have said before, it is my judgement the Visa agency would rather prefer all applications either by post or through an agency rather than have hordes descending on them each day. But, come the peak season for visiting India, I shudder to think of the inevitable delay and confusion for those applying for visas for the first time under the new system.

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