What is the change? The Polish government has partnered with VFS Global to open visa application centers in Mumbai, New Delhi and several other locations in India.

What does the change mean? Previously, visa application services in these areas were completed at the Consulate General of Poland in Mumbai and the Consular Department of the Polish Embassy in New Delhi. The change is expected to make booking appointments easier for nationals of India, as well as for nationals of other countries in the region, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, The Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The visa application centers in Mumbai and New Delhi opened on Dec. 13.
  • Visas/permits affected: Schengen visas, national Polish visas.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of India and other countries in the region applying for Schengen or national Polish visas.
  • Impact on processing: Officials hope the change will improve end-to-end processing times, especially when booking appointments.
  • Next steps: Polish officials are working with VFS Global to open visa application centers on Jan. 8 in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. They are also expected to open application centers in Bhopal, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Kolkata. However, opening dates have not yet been announced for these cities.

Background: Polish Consulates in India have seen an enormous increase in volume in recent years, with Polish immigration authorities issuing more than 35,000 work permits for citizens of India, Nepal and Bangladesh in 2018 alone. Wait times for entry visas issued on the basis of work permits sometimes reached six months and employers often had to push back start dates.

Securing visa appointments was difficult, especially in New Delhi, which was responsible for processing visa applications not just from Indian nationals, but also nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The number of applications in New Delhi is expected to grow even higher with the start of direct flights to and from Warsaw.

As part of its agreement with Poland, VFS Global will offer assistance throughout the Schengen and national Polish visa application process, including help in obtaining an appointment and submitting documents. Consulate officials, however, will still have the final say in whether to grant a visa.

Analysis & Comments: The VFS Global system should make securing visa appointments easier throughout India. Officials hope this will streamline processing, ultimately making it easier for Polish companies to hire employees from India and other parts of the region.

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