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Outsourcing – What has changed?

03.06.2020 - Article

1. Outsourcing - What does it mean ?

The outsourcing of Schengen visa applications is in accordance with Art. 43 Visa  Code. The cooperation is   based on a contract between the Federal  Foreign Office and an External  Service provider. The external service provider is neither involved in the verification of the submitted documents nor in the decision of applications.

Please note: Applications for national visa for stays of more than 90 days ( e.g. for family reunification, au pair, students, employment, training in Germany) have  not yet been outsourced to an external service provider and such applications still have to be handed in at the Embassy by booking an appointment with the online booking system of this Embassy followed by  a personal interview in the Embassy.

2. Outsourcing of Visa Application - What is included in the outsourcing process?

The external service provider will charge a nominal fee of 15 Euro per application and is in return providing the following services:

  • Providing general information on Schengen Visa and the Visa process
  • Appointment Booking System
  • Acceptance of Schengen Visa applications and checking that documents are complete
  • Correction of errors in the visa application form and conversion into VIDEX
  • Scan of biometric fingerprints,  scan of biometric passport size pictures
  • Acceptance of Schengen Visa Fee and VFS Service Charge
  • Forwarding of applications to the German Embassy
  • Online tracking of application status
  • Collection of passport from German Embassy
  • Handing out the passport at the Visa Application Center

In addition, the external service provider can offer other voluntary but fee-based services depending on the requirements (e.g. photocopies, biometric passport photos, premium services etc.).

3. Outsourcing in Bangladesh - Who is the External Service Provider VFS Global?

After successfully completing a regional award procedure for Southeast Asia, VFS Global received the service concession from the Federal Foreign Ministry in Berlin for the outsourcing of the Schengen-Visa Applications in Bangladesh. VFS Global has been working with various other Schengen Member States, including Italy, Sweden and Denmark in Bangladesh for quite some time.

4. What are the Advantages?

Shorter waiting times! A higher number of Visa Applications can be processed by the German Embassy in Dhaka and a decreased waiting time to get an appointment for your Schengen Visa application.

Improved customer service! VFS Global offers a comprehensive all-round service for visa applicants, which the Embassy couldn’t render due to reasons of capacity. VFS Global advises interested applicants via telephone hotline and by e-mail in English and Bangla as well as provides extensive information on their website.

5. How does the Application Process via the external service provider VFS Global work?

Step 1:  

Find out about the different visa categories and the relevant visa regulations on the VFS Global website at www.vfsgermany.com.bd.  If you have any questions, please contact the VFS Global Customer Service (via telephone hotline in English and Bangla or by e-mail).

Step 2:

Book an appointment for your Schengen Visa Application through the above website of VFS Global in case you are living in Bangladesh.

Step 3:  

Reach the Visa Application Center at the time of your scheduled appointment. For operational reasons a grace period of 30 minutes cannot be exceeded.

Upon arrival at the Visa Application Center on the day of your appointment with all the necessary documents your application will be pre-screened by a VFS employee.  Your personal data and application form will be checked for any errors and a checklist of required documents will be cross-checked. Your biometric details will be recorded (taking of finger prints, scanning of biometric passport picture). Subsequently, each applicant must pay the VFS service fee of € 15.00 per application as well as the relevant visa fee, payable in BDT at the exchange rate valid on the day of your appointment (possibility of cash or non-cash payment).

Additionally there are extra services offered by VFS Global, which are offered for your convenience. As using these services is not mandatory, there are charges involved which are not included in the r

Step 4:

Your complete application and passport will be forwarded by VFS Global to the German Embassy in Dhaka on the next working day after the submission of your application. You can track the progress of your application on the VFS website.  The regular processing time is 15 days but can vary in certain cases.

Step 5:

Once the Embassy has decided upon your visa application, your passport will be returned in a sealed envelope containing either the visa in your passport or a rejection letter.  Your passport is then ready for collection at the Visa Application Center or will be forwarded through Courier (in case that extra value service was selected).

Step 6:

a) Visa issued:

Please check immediately that your visa has been issued correctly. In particular, the correct spelling of your full name, but also your passport number, the validity of the visa, number of entries  as well as conditions stated on your visa.

Note: A Schengen visa does not constitute a right to entry, since the final decision is made by the border police upon arrival at the first Schengen border.  It is possible that the border police may also ask you to provide documents such as information about your financial means, the duration and purpose of your stay, as well as health insurance coverage. You should therefore always carry a set of your visa documents (including an invitation from Germany, hotel reservation and travel health insurance) with you.

b) Application rejected:

If your visa application was rejected, there may be several reasons for this. The Embassy will inform you about these reasons in a rejection letter. The notice also contains information on legal remedies, providing you information how to take action against this rejection (so-called remonstration).

Alternatively, you can submit a new application at any time with complete, meaningful and verifiable documents.

To reapply for your visa might be faster, as it might take 6 – 8 weeks until a decision on your remonstration will be taken.  Meanwhile a decision on your remonstration is still pending it is not possible to re-apply for a Schengen-visa.

6. Who decides on the applications?

The German Embassy in Dhaka is the sole authority to decide on your visa application in case Germany, Hungary or Estonia is your main destination. The External Service Provider has no influence on the decision of your visa application.

7. Who pays the External Service Provider and which Services are included in Bangladesh?

The Service Fee hast to be paid directly to the External Service Provider by the visa applicant. The service fee includes the services mentioned under point 2 offered for all visa categories.

In addition, there may be further charges for optional services (e.g. return of passport, photocopies).

VFS Global offers the following extra value services:

  • Biometric picture service
  • Photocopy services
  • Status update on the processing of the application by SMS, email and / or phone
  • Form filling services
  • Return of passport via courier
  • Premium service (please note that this service refers to a more convenient application acceptance procedure in the VFS acceptance center. This service has no influence on the processing time of the application at the German Embassy!

Information and charges for these additional services can be checked on the VFS Global website at www.vfsgermany.com.bd

8. Do all Schengen applicants have to submit their applications via the external service provider or can they also apply directly at the German Embassy in Dhaka?

All applicants have to submit their applications directly at the Visa Application Center in Dhaka with prior appointment.  Only Foreign Diplomats and holders of Diplomatic passports are entitled to apply directly with the German Embassy and are requested to contact the Embassy by E-Mail visa@dhak.auswaertiges-amt.de

9. What about data protection?

The Federal Foreign Office has contractually obliged the External Service Providers to comply with the requirements of the Federal Data Protection Act.  External Service Companies have to be ISO 27001 certified and operate their infrastructure in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Office for Information Security for Public Administration and store personal data only on servers within the European Economic Area.  The service provider does not retain any visa application data, or finger prints on their own system, except the data required to schedule an appointment.

Further detailed information on the subject of data protection referring to the visa procedure may be found on the VFS Global website at the following link: www.vfsgermany.com.bd

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