New Delhi: The Embassy of France here said seven visa facilitation services (VFS) centres have been opened in India for a select category of people, including students, researchers and teachers, to apply for visas smoothly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the French embassy said these centres have been opened in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.

“Starting August 17, seven VFS centres became operational to receive select visa applications, while complying with Indian travel regulations as well as the safety of the consular teams working in different parts of India,” the statement said.

“Students, researchers and teachers invited by an academic establishment or laboratory in France, as well as holders of the Talent passport can now apply for a visa,” the French embassy said.

The statement said the applications will be processed in small batches every week to ensure adequate safety measures at these centres.

“Social distancing and all other recommended protective measures are also being adhered to. Mobile biometric data collection as well as courier services are available to limit in-person contacts at the centres. Decisions on visa issuance remains tied to any future evolution of existing Schengen regulations authorizing third country students to enter France,” it said.

Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India, said the French embassy is fully mobilized to ensure that students can pursue their studies in France in the smoothest conditions possible despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“France is returning to normalcy and I am delighted that international students will be among the first to benefit from it…. This is a bold step in the right direction and reaffirms France’s priority to academic mobility,” Lenain said.

Source : PTI