FAQ: Outsourcing in the visa section - VFS and the German missions in India
1. What does outsourcing in the visa procedure mean? What is an external service provider?
According to Art. 43 of the Visa Code, outsourcing means cooperation with an external service provider on the basis of a contract. The external service provider does not influence the examination and decision of applications or is involved in the printing and affixing of visa stickers.
2. What is VFS allowed to do?
The entire process of accepting and forwarding applications to the German mission and returning visa applications and documents is included. The external service provider charges every applicant as approved by German government between 10,-- and 20,-- € to be paid in INR at current exchange rate and offers in return:
General provision of information;
Managing the appointment booking system;
Receipt and completeness check of the application documents;
Checking the applicant ‘s data in the online application form VIDEX;
Recording of biometric data (fingerprints, photos);
Acceptance of fees;
Forwarding of application documents and data as well as fees to the visa section of the competent German mission abroad;
3. Outsourcing in India – Who is the external service provider VFS Global?
Following the successful conclusion of a regional tender procedure for Southeast Asia/East Asia conducted in Berlin, the company VFS Global was awarded the service concession for the outsourcing of visa application acceptance at the five German missions abroad in India.
Currently, the VAC ‘s in New Delhi, Thimphu, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Panaji, Cochin, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Puducherry and Kolkata are open to the public.
4. How does the visa application procedure work?
Please visit our detailed websites for Schengen and National visa applications.
5. Who decides my application?
The outsourcing does not change the decision-making process of visa applications. The decision on a visa application (visa issuance or refusal) is a sovereign task and - as before - is made exclusively by the visa officers at the German mission. The applications submitted to VFS Global will be forwarded to the visa office of the competent German mission immediately after submission for further processing and decision on the application.
6. Who pays VFS?
The external service provider is to be paid by the visa applicant. The service fee includes the services mentioned under point 2, which are required for all visa applications.
7. Do all visa applicants have to apply via VFS? Or can I also submit my application at the mission?
Appointments for Schengen visa applications are no longer offered at the German missions abroad in India. Applications will only be accepted by our partner VFS Global. Only spouses of EU citizens entitled to freedom of movement and of German citizens can apply for a Schengen visa at the diplomatic missions abroad without an appointment. However, in order to avoid waiting times when applying without an appointment, we recommend that spouses of EU citizens and German citizens also submit their visa applications through VFS.
National visa applications are partly taken in by VFS. Please visit for further information each mission’s website: see here.
8. What about the protection of my data?
The Federal Foreign Office has contractually obliged external service providers to comply with the requirements of the Federal Data Protection Act. External service providers must also be certified according to ISO 27001, operate their infrastructure in accordance with the specifications of the Federal Office for Information Security for Public Administration and store personal data exclusively on servers within the European Economic Area. In addition, external service providers must not and cannot store any visa application data, e.g. fingerprints, on their own systems, but only data required for making appointments.
In addition, you can find more detailed information on the topic of data protection in the visa process on the VFS Global website at the following link.