In a statement, VFS Global, which provides services to governments and diplomatic missions, states that “there is in fact” a shortage of vacancies for booking and granting visas in certain locations, due to high demand in the post-pandemic period and high need for travel. in many countries.
“It is at these times that fraud can arise, with people deceiving those wishing to travel, offering them appointment slots in exchange for money. VFS Global, which is completely against this type of action, has adopted measures to eliminate fraudulent bookings and abusive use of the booking system”, reads the statement.
The statement from VFS Global comes a week after Lusa reported the actions of intermediaries operating at the Luanda visa center, promising speed in appointments and offering places in exchange for money.
Interview appointments are free, the company guarantees, adding that they are validated in order of entry of the request.
“Appointment vacancies are made available based on prior approvals made at the respective consular missions”, indicates the statement.
The company emphasizes that “it does not play any role in this process or in deciding how many processes will be accepted from among the candidates, an act that is the sole responsibility and discretion of the consulate of the respective government for which it provides services”.
Vacancies for booking appointments are made available online, depending on the volume of demand or forecast, and also in conjunction with the consulate's responsiveness, he highlights.
“Once the appointment has been made, VFS strongly recommends that candidates present themselves at the Visa Center 15 minutes before the scheduled time to avoid losing their place”, he appeals.
The company advises all visa applicants to be careful with impostors who “falsely promise advance appointments in exchange for money, adopting exceptional measures that aim to mitigate fraudulent actions at visa centers”.
“VFS reminds everyone that it is strictly prohibited to request appointments based on payments, that only applicants with a valid appointment are allowed to enter the visa center premises, and that travel agencies or other third parties have already They are not authorized to make any type of query at the information desk on the 2nd floor”, he states.
For those interested in obtaining visas who are faced with any of the irregular situations described, VFS requests that they explain the situation to it via email email@example.com.
The company adds that, to resolve this issue, it reinforced warnings through various contact tools with its customers, namely, social media platforms, SMS, voice messages from the Call Center, advertisements and posters in application centers.
VFS Global emphasizes that “it does not play any role, influence or comment on the outcome of any applicant’s visa application processes”, adding that the decision to grant or not a visa is the exclusive responsibility of the respective diplomatic mission, including the waiting time that the process takes until its completion.
“VFS Global continues to work with the respective diplomatic missions, such as the Consulate General of Portugal in Angola, regarding certain concerns, such as the unavailability of appointments and the long waiting time for processes to be completed”, he says.
VFS Global advises applicants and travel agents to apply for their visa “as early as possible and permitted”, stating that most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days (three months) before the date of travel and with the new Schengen Visa Code, in force since February 9, 2020, “it is possible to request a Schengen visa up to six months before the date of travel”.