Do You Need Physical Documents For Visa?

“Digitization is the key to transformation.”

We are moving towards a digital era where everything from your food to your government registration card can be applied online. With larger population being able to access internet, and higher literacy among people about digital world, going online is surely the way you want to take. And so, this leads us to our today’s blog topic, “Do you really have to submit physical documents for your visa process?”

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How Early Can You Apply For A Visa?

Early bird gets the worm, true..but what about the worm? From worm’s perspective, its choice of timing was a disaster!

Well, keeping our funny side away, we want to get back to today’s topic of discussion, “How early one can apply for visa?”. We spoke about processing times that various countries take to complete your visa application process post submission in previous article, you can revise the article here. That blog was around the question as to “how early one should apply for visa?” keeping travel plan in mind. Today’s article focuses on how early the bird (read embassies) allows you (worm? Or may be not!) to apply for visa so that it is a hassle less experience for both the parties.

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Visa Processing Time

Has it ever happened with you that you have applied for visa, submitted your documents and they didn’t come back before your travel date? You had to cancel everything and reschedule your travel plan because of this? Well, you are not alone and definitely not the first one to face this situation.

Every country takes certain amount of days to process visa after documents are submitted which is called visa processing time. This time varies from case to case, but it is always possible to calculate an average time and apply for your visa with some buffer in hand. We have divided few countries in various segments to give you heads up on processing time for your application. Here’s a list of processing time for few of the frequently traveled countries!

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How GST In India Impacts Foreign Tourists And NRIs

The new tax reform implemented from 1st July, 2017 has posed a challenge in a lot of sectors but at the same time has created numerous business opportunities.
The augmented bill after going through layers of vendors and hence taxes have been reduced to a single taxation system for goods and services, allowing transparency, reduction in price gap, and less confusion (eventually).

This has been advantageous to the Indian consumers in certain sectors, but has affected some businesses as their cost conservative market is decreasing due to change in prices. Export business has been impacted all the same, reaching NRIs and coaxing them to pay closer attention to Indian market. NRIs involved in export business will be at a better position, since GST is not applied to goods and services.

This change has affected not just the Indian population but foreign tourists in India as well. A charge would be levied on all the goods purchased and services availed during the stay in India, for not more than 6 months. However, if these goods are not consumable, the foreigners including NRIs can get a refund of the GST paid on their way back for all the goods they take with them without much of a hassle.

What is the procedure for claiming a GST refund?

  • The NRI visitor or foreign tourist can file an application electronically in Form GST RFD-01 through the GST Common Portal or through a GST Facilitation Center;
  • Have and record all invoices pertinent to the purchase made.
  • The Invoice number may be asked at various junctures of filing for the refund as well as at the time of the actual claiming of the refund.
  • An acknowledgement of the refund application is provided within 14 days, if application was accepted.
  • If not, the application is sent back with deficiencies. The requester has to fulfill the requirements and refile.
  • The refund is granted within 60 days of filing.
  • Alternately, the visitor can also take the required paperwork to a designated GST facilitation center at the exiting airport and claim a refund with all paperwork in tow, provided that facility is a registered for this scheme.

While all indicators suggesting the benefits of GST bill are promising towards the NRI, and its successful implementation would give a strong signal to NRI investors about India’s strong ability to support businesses, there is also the downside of levying taxes on goods and services that target the NRI specifically.

  • As GST is implemented sending money home would become costlier.
  • The Indian Government will levy a 12.36% service tax on fee or commission paid by agents for facilitating remittances.

We hope this helps all visitors travelling to India to explore the most diversified nation in terms of weather, nature, people, culture and everything around it by increasing savings on travel cost.

Atithi Devo Bhav!