UAE: VFS Global cautions visa applicants against fraud in its name

Schengen visa
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Dubai: VFS Global has cautioned visa applicants against fraudulent entities who charge money from them for scheduling appointments or providing any other services using its name or independently.

Issuing the piece of advice as part of its travel briefing ahead of summer, the outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions said, “VFS Global does not charge any fee for booking appointments on which is the official website catering to visa applications. However, some governments require pre-payment of the service fee at the time of booking the appointment. This payment will be reimbursed or deducted during the application process. This step is only to ensure genuine travellers use appointment booking and the system is kept safe from misuse by fraudulent entities.”

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It said travelers would do well to plan ahead, ensuring passport validity and budgeting for expenses. “Consider expedited processing options if needed and stay updated on visa requirements. Make sure to provide accurate information on the application form and submit required documents promptly. Note that optional services like Visa At Your Doorstep or Premium Lounge do not expedite processing.”

The advice is part of VFS Global’s #DoNotFallForFraud campaign which covers several scenarios.

As explained on its website, VFS Global said, “Visa appointments are available online on a first-come, first-serve basis. Availability of visa appointment slots are at the sole discretion of the governments (embassies/consulates).”

Further, VFS Global has clarified that it has no role or influence on the decision of a visa application. “Decisions on visa applications, the visa tenure, and timelines to process them are at the sole discretion of the respective governments (embassies/consulates),” it said, adding opting for any value-added services has no influence on a quicker or positive visa decision by the concerned embassy/consulate.

Touching upon other scenarios, VFS Global said it does not work in association with any third-party entities. “Beware of scammers and fraudulent entities who claim to be associated with VFS Global in any capacity or pose as VFS Global to dupe unsuspecting visa applicants.”

It also said “Beware of fraudsters who tend to lure unsuspecting visa aspirants with fake website links similar to those of VFS Global. Verify the logo at the top to ascertain authenticity.”

VFS Global never asks an applicant to share any personal information on social media, emails, SMS, or calls, it said, adding, “Please do not share your personal information on social media, emails, SMS, or calls unless you are certain the person or organisation requesting it is legitimate.”

VFS Global also reiterated that it is neither involved in any job placement or immigration-related services. “Beware of scamsters looking to trick job seekers or immigration aspirants with fake job or immigration opportunities, respectively, in lieu of payments,” it cautioned.