The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nagabhushana Reddy, has cautioned Nigerians applying for visas to India, to be wary of fraudsters who pose as travel agents.
Mr Reddy, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, advised intending visa applicants to seek accurate information from the high commission or its website.
He said that the country’s visa application was an online process and urged prospective applicants to take advantage of information available on the website or seek assistance from trusted people.
He said: “We have tried to strengthen our website and now it contains, in a comprehensive manner, list of documents that are required to be submitted while applying for a visa.
“We have an online system through which visas are applied for. The date of interview is clearly specified.
“The visa applicants come here and the documents are verified and then interviewed by the consular officer.
“We insist on having a personal interview with an applicant because it is that time that one becomes more aware if a person is trying to subvert both the Nigerian and Indian laws.”
The high commissioner stressed that travelling with false documents could attract penalties that could hamper future opportunities of such individuals to apply for visas.
Mr Reddy further added that Nigeria and India were working closely to reduce incidences of applicants presenting false documents emanating from “agents.”
“I always emphasise that we should not allow a wonderful relationship that exists between the two populous countries to be tampered with by a small group of people for whatever reasons,” he added.
He said that the embassy was working very hard to ensure that the activities of the fraudulent agents did not affect genuine visa seekers.
Mr Reddy also clarified that the embassy had a uniform fee of $253 for all visa types based on the global principle of reciprocity.
He said that the visa procurement process could take up to three weeks, urging intending applicants to prepare their documents ahead of time.
“In case of business visas, we are sensitising that the applicants should be prepared for a 35-day period before they travel so that they are not in any manner affected by the time limit,” he added.