INDIA – Mandatory Biometric Enrolment for All India Visa Applicants in South Africa
The High Commission of India in Pretoria, South Africa, has announced that applicants for all India visa categories (including employment, tourist and business visas) are required to register their biometric data, comprising fingerprints and facial image scan, effective 17 July 2017.
A similar measure was imposed last August for certain visa applicants at the Indian Visa Application Centres in the United Kingdom.
e-Visa holders must instead submit biometric data on arrival at the port of entry in India, which may delay their entry.
How does this work?
South African nationals and residents applying through the VFS Global Indian Visa Application Centres in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town will be prompted to schedule a biometrics collection appointment when completing their applications online.
Applicants under the age of twelve or over the age of 70 are exempt from the new biometric enrolment requirement, and will only be required to submit a facial photograph.
Once an applicant has enrolled their biometric data into the system, they are exempt from biometrics submission in subsequent visa application submissions for 59 months. Please note that the High Commission of India in Pretoria or the Consulate General of India reserves the right to demand a repeat enrolment on a case-to case basis as and when required by them.
How does the eVisa compare?
The eBusiness Visa, available to nationals of 161countries, is valid for a maximum stay of 60 days, for up to two entries, and can be obtained twice in a year; whereas the consular business visa may be valid for three months to one year or more, with single or multiple entries and a maximum period of stay of six months.
Both require biometric registration.
Business travelers to India from South Africa are advised to consider whether to apply for a consular visa, and submit their biometrics at the point of application, or an e-visa, and submit their biometrics on arrival at the airport.