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Belgium Consul opens visa issuance centre in Pune

September 2013, 20
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After strong links have been formed between Pune in India and Belgium, the Belgium Consul general has decided to open a visa issuance centre in the city. The centre will operate from Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, and it will deal specifically with visa applications, questions and other queries for those that want to gain a visa to Belgium from Pune or the surrounding areas.

Indian visa applications likely to increase

Belgium Immigration VisaSpeaking about his decision to open a centre in Pune, Karl Van den Bossche of the Belgium Consul said that Pune and the surrounding areas were responsible for roughly 45 per cent of all the 35,000 Belgian visas that were issued in 2012, hence the decision to open a centre.

Bossche went on to mention that the trade between India and Belgium was worth about 13 billion Euros a year. With strong links in many industries, including; chocolate, bio technology and automotive trade, this is a figure that is likely to increase significantly over the coming years, especially with the implementation of the specialist centre, which will increase Indian visa applications.

Short and long term visas

The centre will focus on issuing both short and long term visas alongside multiple visas. Much of the initial focus will be on businesses that already have an established trade connection in Belgium.  In some cases, these businesses could be issued with “fast track” visas that would allow them a visa in less than 24 hours under special circumstances. However, Bossche made it quite clear that the centre would offer “high quality service” to all. He also mentioned that the centre would look to either accept or decline visa applications in roughly three days in the majority of cases.
 
Bossche made it clear that even though the focus starts on business visas, he hopes that the centre can draw in students who are interested in studying in Belgium. The number of international universities in Belgium is expanding rapidly so this is a link that could be beneficial to both countries. Bossche was quick to point out that compared to “the UK and other countries Belgian institutions are much more affordable.”
 
If successful, Bossche has already made it clear that he will think about building roughly six more centres across India. This would increase the number of Indian applications for Belgian visas significantly with the overall goal to boost tourism in Belgium, build trade between the two countries and form strong bilateral ties.

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