Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Quick visas, multiple air links bring world, Kol closer

Kolkata: The direct Air India flight between Kolkata and London that is poised to start next week is not just a revival of a connection between the two cities. The travel trade industry views it as an important step towards reconnecting Kolkata with the rest of the world as it gradually opens up over the next few months. Apart from the UK, the flight will allow travellers access to the rest of Europe as well as the US, ending months of isolation following the pandemic.
Two other airlines — Emirates and SpiceJet — will also play a crucial role as they connect the city with Dubai, a global airline hub with connections to the rest of the world.
Speaking to TOI, Travel Agents Federation of India chairman (east) Anil Punjabi said the AI flight had been announced at a crucial time when countries were just beginning to open up. “The UK has begun issuing visas across categories, including tourists. There are several other countries in Europe that have started issuing visas for students. Also, several countries in the European Union are now allowing those who have long-term visas to enter the country. The AI flight will come in handy for travellers to all these countries,” he said.
While a UK student visa required four to six weeks to get processed, it is now being issued within 12-15 working days. Tourist visa is also being issued within a fortnight. “At present, mostly students and families keen on visiting their relatives residing in the UK who are travelling,” said travel agent Manoj Saraf.
Apart from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Ukraine have opened their borders to students. Many of them have also opened up long-stay category visas for those residing and working there.
09/09/20 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India
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