Number of Indians visiting the UK showing increase despite emerging destinations gaining popularity and overall foreign travel on the rise

New figures published today show a steady year-on-year increase in the overall number of visa applications from India over the last few years.

The statistics – published by VFS Global, which processes visa application for 59 governments worldwide – show travel to the UK from India continuing to increase, despite the popularity of emerging destinations.

The figures show:

  • a 10 percent increase in number of visa applications from India in 2017 (4.7m applications), compared to 2016 (4.3m);
  • this year, for the period of January to June, there has been a 14 percent increase in number of visa applications from India, compared to the same period last year;
  • the top 6 destinations for which visa applications were processed (in 2016, 2017, and January to June 2018) were: US, Malaysia, UK, Canada, PR China, and Schengen Area destinations;
  • in 2017, the sharpest year-on-year increase (since 2016) in visa application count was for Thailand visas;

emerging destinations (especially Czech Republic, Turkey, and Japan) showed a positive trend in 2017, with significantly more applications processed for these destinations than in the previous year.

The statistics bear out those recently published by UK Visas and Immigration which showed of the 2.1 million UK visitor visas granted in 2017, there was an 11% increase in those granted to visitors from India (up 43,816 to 433,852).

The UKVI statistics shows that Indian and Chinese nationals alone accounted for just under half (46%) of all visitor visas granted, while three nationalities (China, US and India) accounted for over half (53%) of the 223,536 study-related visas granted in 2017.  In particular, study related visas to Indian nationals showed a notable increase, up 28% to 14,445.

Mr. Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO –Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said:

“We have been seeing a year-on-year increase in applications from India. It is evident that foreign travel is no longer the domain of a privileged few in the country.

“More Indians are travelling abroad today than ever before, and are keen to explore even off-beat destinations. There is a greater comfort with the visa application process too – from personalised assistance at our centres to doorstep services, we use technology to continuously upgrade the applicant’s visa application experience so the anxiety sometimes associated with the process can be eliminated.”

VFS Global manages millions of applications a year, across five continents, for 59 client governments worldwide.  VFS Global is the largest visa service provider in India and serves 45 client governments in India.

Latest contract wins for VFS Global in India include:


  • New Zealand: in 2018, Visa Application Centres opened in 10 cities
  • Dominican Republic: in 2018, Visa Application Centres opened in 5 cities
  • Algeria: in December 2017, Visa Application Centres opened in 16 cities
  • In 2018, Belgium Visa Application Centres opened in 6 more cities in India, in addition to centres already present in 9 cities


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