India has unveiled a new state-of-the-art visa centre in Dhaka that will gradually replace all the other four centres in the capital with modern facilities, promising shorter waiting times for applicants.
Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who was present at the inauguration, later told journalists that this is the largest Indian visa centre in the world and possibly the largest anywhere.
To mark the inauguration of the new IVAC, the Indian home minister presented a five-year multiple-entry tourist visa to Mohammad Nazrul Islam under the Muktijoddha category while the Bangladesh Home Minister presented a five-year multiple-entry tourist visa to Amal Chandra Natta under the Senior Citizen category.
The high commissioner handed over one year multiple entry tourist visa to Jannattul Ferdous and the special secretary (Border Management) of India’s Home Affairs handed over a six-month triple entry medical visa to Begum Sharifa (who is going to Bengaluru for medical treatment).
The visa application centre (IVAC) will replace the existing centres in Motijheel and Uttara from Jul 15. The remaining two centres in Dhaka – Gulshan and Mirpur Road – will also be shifted to this centre, located in a spacious 18,500 square feet commercial area, by Aug 31.
The existing e-token (appointment) system for submission of visa applications will also be withdrawn from Jul 15.
Bangladeshis constitute one of the largest numbers of visitors from a single country to India. Last year the country issued 1.4 million visas to Bangladeshi nationals. There are 12 visa centres in Bangladesh, which is the highest number India has in any country in the world.
India issues five-year multiple entry visas for freedom fighters, senior citizens and businessmen.
The centre has services, such as computer-generated token vending machines which will indicate waiting time, comfortable seating in air-conditioned waiting areas, coffee and soft drinks via vending machines, food kiosks and as many as 48 counters for visa applications.
There are separate counters for senior citizens, women, freedom fighters and business applicants. A special counter will provide printing and photocopying services for a fee.
On Friday the visiting home minister tweeted that India and Bangladesh have made “notable progress in transforming our land and maritime boundaries into zones of peace and tranquility.”