On 27 October, in addition to the currently functioning Latvian visa centres in China – in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu – another eleven visa centres launched operations in the following cities: Changsha, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Shenyang, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Xian. The acceptance of visa applications and their forwarding to the embassy is now ensured by the VFS Global company in 15 visa centres across China. The opening of the centres makes it easier for foreigners to apply for Latvian visas, since people in China’s provinces and cities are given an opportunity to submit their visa documents closer to their place of residence.
Under cooperation arrangements with VFS Global, applicants can submit their applications at the visa centres, having scheduled an appointment in advance at a time of their most convenience. The documents accepted are then forwarded to the Embassy of Latvia in Beijing for processing. The visa centres also offer additional services, including consultations on the required documents, help with filling out visa applications forms electronically, photocopying, taking photographs, arranging insurance, and delivery of passports to the applicants’ address, thereby facilitating the application process.
In 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a contract with VF Worldwide Holdings Ltd., better known as VFS Global, on the reception of visa applications from visa applicants in Georgia, the UK, China, India, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, and South Korea, for subsequent forwarding to Latvian embassies.