Spain expects to cross India’s 1 lakh visa limit next year

Spain expects a 10 percent increase in “travellers” from the subcontinent compared to last year, a senior official said.

Spain’s Ambassador to India Jose Maria Ridao Dominguez told Businessline that over 90,000 visas were issued in 2023 and he expects them to cross the 1 lakh mark next year. “This year we had over 90,000 visa applications. I believe we will cross the 1 lakh mark next year, an increase of 10 per cent.”

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Players such as Thomas Cook have seen an increase in travel to Schengen countries including France, Switzerland and Spain. The company managed 24,420 groups in the fiscal second quarter, including large movements ranging from 100 to over 2,000 delegates, in Thailand, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Georgia, Switzerland, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Africa, Azerbaijan, France, Portugal, Spain and Japan .

Additionally, the cruise segment experienced a strong uptick, both in the “corporate” cruise segment and the “mid-size” (group) cruise segment. “The company has processed over 500 movements to destinations such as Italy and Spain,” it said.

According to Indian travel experts, it takes between 30 and 90 days to issue a visa for Schengen countries. However, experts say it is taking much longer, putting a damper on travel plans.

Attempts are being made to speed up the visa issuance processes. According to the ambassador, the embassy will take 48 hours to issue visas from the time it arrives at the ambassador’s office from its partner BLS International. BLS is an online visa application center in India that provides visa advisory services to individuals, students, families and many more.

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“We are improving our processes and opening our office in Bangalore. We hope to attract more and more travelers. Our goal is to offer more visas and better services,” he explained. Currently, Spanish authorities have consulates in Delhi and Mumbai.

Currently, the Schengen area consists of 26 European countries (including 22 EU states): Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland and others.

“The EU is very interested in simplifying the visa issuance process. We want people to come to our country and we want our citizens to come to India too,” he said.

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Sybil Alvarez

"Incurable gamer. Infuriatingly humble coffee specialist. Professional music advocate."

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