Aligning The Visa Application with Travel Bookings

When we set out to deliver a complete electronic e-visa system; we meant it. However one of the requirement was the integration of the travel functionality right into the heart of the e-visa engine. Although this was to some degree driven by the desire to provide our users with a more pleasant experience by combining the visa process and their travel arrangement into one function; it was also driven by the need to deliver to the visa issuers such as embassies and consulates a more robust and dynamic system in which the visa applicant’s travel arrangement were not only more accurate but were aligned to the real travel plans of the applicant. By offering both parties with access to dynamic hotel and airline reservation systems; we were able to simplify the travel arrangements for our civilian customers, while bolstering the security of our government customers. Furthermore, having identified that the on-line travel industry is evolving at an unprecedented pace we realized that a solution was needed for Travel Agents to maintain their competitive edge, especially in light of the the on-line competition which is slowly eroding the need for traditional travel agents. The eGoVisa Travel Portal is designed to allow small travel agencies to compete with their online rivals, helping them to grow their revenue base by competing head on with their larger rivals. Our innovative solution which is built using the GoVisa Framework gives small travel agents access to features typically beyond their budget capabilities allowing them to stand out from the crowd by offering a more diverse range of content across a wider range of services. By deploying our Travel Agency Portal, travel agencies can give their customers more choice, accuracy, transparency and better prices. The Travel Agency portal also increases your agency's process efficiency by streamlining your content management enabling you to maintain a robust and full featured travel site with few resources.

The alignment of the visa process to hotel reservations has many fringe benefits other than the obvious increase in security; with our system, the travel arrangement are now linked to the visa; hence the issuing government is now able to track the applicant’s travel plans throughout the validity of the issued visa; rather than simply at the application stage. The applicants also benefit from this linkage, as their travel reservations are now linked to the deliverance of the visa; hence they are free to make actual reservation; without worrying about the actual date that the visa would be issued. This is achieved with an offset travel date, rather than a fixed travel date. In other words; the applicant specifies that they wish to travel on x day after the visa ia issued; and by using a date range; they are able to inform hotels that providing their visa application is successful; they are interested in travelling to a particular country between those two date ranges. Rather than making a reservation to conform to the requirements of the visa; the applicant would specify a hotel and airline of their preference, and the system would automatically check to see if there was availability on those date and link that reservation to the result of his visa application. If the visa was issued, then the system would automatically confirm the booking according to the rules defined in the application and in the case that the visa was rejected, then his preliminary booking would be cancelled without any effort on his part. The result is that hotels are better able to manage their bookings and applicants need not worry about having to guarantee a booking with a credit card and risk being charged cancellation fees.

The result is that embassies can work on more reliable and accurate applicant data and reduce illegal immigration; without having to expend time and resources to confirm the applicant’s claim, while the hotels and airlines can minimize ghost bookings that are made solely for the sake of obtaining a visa and which often lead to the blockage of sellable hotel rooms and airline seats. The applicant benefits as the fire and forget approach removes the responsibility on his part to cancel reservations or face penalties. Furthermore, any changes to the travel arrangement post application; are immediately communicated to the embassy. Although it is preferable that applicants retain their original itinenary; it is not something that can be completely under their control and hence the power of the system becomes fully apparent. Although the above functions are considered a breakthrough; eGoVisa went further by extending the e-visa system to an API where airlines were now able to confirm that the traveller was in possession of a valid visa. At present, this system is conducted manually by checking the visa against the passenger boarding card; however this system is flawed and even if the airline agent was able to accurately read every field component of a visa; there is no guarantee that the visa is still valid; and was not revoked at some point after it was issued. Although in this case the airline is absolved from all responsibility; the issuing government could still face hefty legal bills as it fights to deport the passenger on those grounds. The system goes further by also checking the validity of the passport against the INTERPOL database of lost or stolen documents. With the eGoVisa e-Visa verification API, airlines can check the validity of the visa by checking it against the valid visa database. The database does not hold any private information; instead it relies on the combination of passport number, ISO and visa reference number to determine the validity of the visa and wether or not it conforms to the travel regulations of the destination country.