RIYADH: Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Published — Sunday 3 February 2013
Last update 3 February 2013 6:34 am
The Italian Embassy has extended the collection of visa applications and delivery process in Riyadh through their Schengen Visa Application Center (VAC) set up by ETIMAD-VFS Global, the international outsourcing and technology services provider that specializes in handling visa services of diplomatic missions and governments worldwide.
The application center, located on the busy Umm Al Hammam street in the Saudi capital, was opened with great fanfare here recently.
“ETIMAD-VFS Global will be responsible for accepting and processing applications for Italian visas in Riyadh,” said Italian Ambassador Valentino Simonetti, while speaking on this occasion. The new Italian Visa Application Center will be accepting visa applications daily from Saturday to Wednesday (except official holidays), it noted. The center carries out the biometric processes, which is mandatory for applying for a Schengen Visa.
Ambassador Simonetti formally opened the VAC in Riyadh, where Harris Moosa, country manager of VFS-ETIMAD presented a flower bouquet to the envoy in a brief ceremony here recently. Several diplomats and VFS officials including Francesco Musi, head of the consular section of Italian embassy, were also present.
Referring to the process of visa issuance, which has since been simplified, Simonetti said that “the opening of the Italian visa center reflects the progressively growing relations between the Kingdom and Italy.”
The two countries have forged closer ties in different sectors, he added, while referring to the facilities at the VAC. Additionally, there is a dedicated website for easy access of visa information including visa categories, applicable fees and application status and for booking appointments (www.aletimad.com/italy.html).
A dedicated call center is provided for customer support via phone and email. ETIMAD-VFS Global’s professional and several other staffers have been entrusted with the task of handling the visa application process smoothly and courteously. The processed passports delivery is also provided at the center during working hours. “There is optional premium lounge services for affluent applicants, who wish to submit their application in style and luxury,” said an Italian official.
The applicant can also choose from the optional services offered by the ETIMAD-VFS that includes courier delivery, SMS alert and many other services, he added. He pointed out that the VFS Global is a global outsourcing and technology services that manages visa issuance-related administrative and non-judgmental tasks for its client missions. With 775 visa application centers and operations in 87 countries across five continents, VFS Global serves the interests of the diplomatic missions of 41 sovereign governments.
The company has successfully processed millions of visa applications since its inception in 2001. Since 2007 VFS Global, jointly with its local partner M/s Al Etimad Modern Business Solutions Co. (ETIMAD), has been successfully operating visa application centers for diplomatic missions of 11 countries in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar.