Redefining the Visa Application Process with VisaPort

With the doubling of international travel volumes, border control policy makers are seeking out better ways to facilitate and optimize their clearing process of all low risk visitors into their territories while not only maintaining, but increasing their border security. Nations are moving to electronic application and processing systems which provide travelers with an online mechanism to apply, pay for and receive certain types of immigration clearances. These electronic application and processing systems or Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs) serve the dual purpose of reducing visa processing workloads in high volume low risk areas for larger nations, while expanding or facilitating visa issuance for smaller nations with less global capabilities to process visas.

VisaPort is a cost effective, easy to implement solution that supports ETAs and eVisas. VisaPort also supports the online security screening process for Visa Waiver Programs (VWPs) or Tourist Carnet and facilitates the electronic clearance and issuance of low risk travel visas. Our solution provides the traveler with a user friendly online interface where they can select the ETA, type of visa or advance traveller information required for VWPs and submit the required information as defined by the immigration agency accordingly. The traveler can complete an online payment (if required), receive a receipt and notification of the estimated ETA/eVisa processing time.

VisaPort allows immigration agencies to define authorization policies and provides notification of visa applications that are flagged against various watch lists or entitlement rules defined within the application. Immigration officials are presented with access to all applications via an internal government portal that allows them to authorize, reject or request additional information from the traveler.

Visa Process Features

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Governments have increasingly been relying on Visa Application centers in their efforts to cut costs and increase security at their embassies and missions. Most embassies now rely on these private companies to pre-process visa applications and screen would be applicants. However the emergence of these outlets has not resulted in any noticeable increase in the efficiency of the visa application especially from the applicant's point of view. The need to cut costs has simply shifted the burden to the applicants who must now pay the agency fees in addition to the visa fees. Furthermore, the document requirement burden has dramatically increased elevating the visa process costs to all time highs, even though current information technology costs have fallen to all time lows. More over the fear of terrorism and new immigration curbs has resulted in a fluid environment in which visa application rules are constantly changing; leaving would be applicants confused and in some cases; forming a void between immigration legislation and embassies; in short, it is becoming routinely common to see stale or outdated visa regulations and information on embassy websites; which is not only confusing would be applicants, but deterring visitors and legitimate travellers. Although the Visa Application Centres or VAC(s) as they are commonly known have adopted more efficient on-line procedures; they still require the applicant to re-enter basic information each time a Visa is required. Furthermore, the emergence of different competing VACs without common procedures has further clouded the process. In all, the use of third party private companies has had no net benefit on the filtration process as ineligible applicants or illegal migrants were simply emboldened to apply as they were less intimidated by a private company. Furthermore, employees of VACs have found intuitive opportunities to benefit from high demand by selling appointment spaces and in some cases reducing their scrutiny in exchange for monetary gains.

The eGoVisa framework for visa processing takes a more logical and centralised approach to the Visa process. By enforcing a one-off enrolment process; embassies and government agencies can be assured that the data provided by an individual is consistent in its entirety. This includes a common approach to each set of data pertaining to the application. By using the framework, all parties interchange data that has spelling and lexical uniformity, where applicable conforms to ISO and industry standards with the absolute knowledge that common fraud techniques are eliminated. Automation of the process is considered of paramount importance and a vital component in the visa process. By guaranteeing that all static data (personal data that can never be altered such as date of birth, place of birth and immediate family relations) are locked and un-modifiable; while fluid data such as travel dates and hotel reservations are not only dynamic (a change in any event automatically updates others) but can be automatically validated in real time without the need to involve third parties. The integration of these elements give embassies the security that the data provided is not fictional without consuming resources or relying on the weak human link in the process. The Visa portal is tightly integrated with all the other parts of the framework, drawing real-time data as and when required allowing the user to prepare a Visa Application for himself and direct relatives in less than 6 steps. The output is a pre-filled set of the most up-to-date visa application forms, a copy of all the supporting documents, embassy appointment management, hotel reservations, travel insurance and airline bookings. The entire process can be completed in less than one minute whether for one individual or an entire family. Furthermore, the entire output is combined with the user's biometric data and is encapsulated in an encrypted and compressed file brining the realm of a totally electronic Visa process to reality. Not only are the documents far more reliable, but also the data is immediately passed on to the Embassy portal for processing.

The Interface of the framework is where all the partner portals are stitched together. Although from the User's perspective, the Visa application process is rapid and seamless, in most cases taking less than one minute to complete, it is behind the scenes that the framework shows its hidden magic. The visa application process entails a number of steps usually carried out separately and manually. For example a person applying for a Schengen Visa for himself and his family is required to produce a set of supporting documentation as well as hotel and travel reservations and comprehensive travel insurance. The document requirements vary, but for any typical family, it includes proof of employment with certificate of incorporation, proof of salary, bank statements, new civil registers, copies of past visas, fully completed applications, photos, proof of enrolment for children, letters of guarantee, permission for parents to travel with their children and the obvious travel reservations. All these documents must be translated, and certified. In addition, embassies or consulates require new photos which must meet strict guidelines. The burden on the applicant is quite high, as meeting these requirements entails taking time off work, taking children out of school and can be very costly. Furthermore, because there is no guarantee of a visa, hotel and travel reservations, although a strict requirement are often fictitious. This has the unintended consequence of reserving seats and rooms that could otherwise be sold by airlines and hotels.

The eGoVisa approach allows all the steps of the Visa process to be carried out in a consistent and effective manner without introducing fake or unintended events: In a single process, the interface takes care of all the following functions

Quantifying the benefits afforded by the eGoVisa framework is not rocket science; however each benefit must be seen in the context of the respective components of the framework. There is absolutely no doubt that the framework realises a net beneficial increase for everyone. In the case of the individual or applicant, they benefit from a coherent and simple approach to their travel needs; in addition to a huge saving in time and a noticeable saving in cost. For embassies and missions; the benefits are far more tangible as they not only realise huge savings in costs, but in the process are able to offer a far better service without giving up proprietary rights over the applicants and with a higher degree of security. Hotels and airlines benefit through reduced fake reservations, while insurance companies are able to sell their products directly to the customer and handle potential claims electronically.

The Benefits for Embassies

Overcoming the Technical Challenges

The eGovisa Framework has been designed to address the existing challenges of the Visa Application Process. We have thought through every conceivable requirement; have tested scores of systems and have engaged with over 5,000 visa applicants to deliver a unique solution to our customers.

Regaining Control of your Embassy

Embassies regain control of the Visa Application process without the burden of hosting applicants.

Liberating Scarce Resources

Embassies are freed to focus their attention on issues of greater importance.

Enhanced Document Verification

Enhanced and automated document verification with no Human intervention. Verify hotel & airline bookings and any supporting document.

Real time Audit Trail

Solid audit trail across all functions.

Alignment of Immigration Policy

Changes in Immigration policy is instantly reflected across all embassies.

Real Time Data Interface

Real Time interface between all framework members. Visa fee changes and rules are instantly available and applied to new and pending applications.

Efficient Scheduling and Resource Allocator

Powerful Scheduling resulting in a higher throughout without sacrificing security.

The Benefits For Visa Applicants

Single Enrolment Process

The eGovisa Framework enables would be visa applicants to enrol once and use the same data across any embassy or consulate worldwide. No more repetition of data, no more cumbersome forms.

Uniform Interface

Apply for visa at any embassy using a single interface. No need to hunt for visa information and understand hundreds of different ways. No matter the destination or the purpose of travel, apply through a common interface; that is easy to learn and that is always inline with the latest social mobility.

Travel Itinerary Synchronisation

Synchronise your travel arrangements with your visa process. The alignment of the visa process with your travel bookings ensures that changes to one part of the process are reflected in the other parts. So a change in a hotel reservation affects a change in the airline booking which in turn changes the arrival and departure dates in the applicants' visa application.

Reduced Document Burden

Allow eGoVisa to manage all your visa documents. The Documents Module serves as the central repository of all your important files including documents, scans, photographs and more. - With built-in revision management, and Document Matrix conformity; your documents are always up to date.

Make Better Use of your Time

Do in a few minutes what took a few days. The eGoVisa approach is simple; we understand that your time is precious. We have designed our system to eliminate all the cumbersome and repetitive tasks. We simply placed ourselves in your shoes.

No More Confusion

With constantly changing immigration rules and a moving goal post; the need for real time visa information is paramount. With eGoVisa Changes in Immigration policy is instantly reflected across the framework in real time. You can feel confident that the data you see is the data you use.

Reduction in Costs

By doing away with all repetitive and unnecessary tasks, the overall cost of Visa processing is dramatically reduced. When combined with the savings in travel costs through the use of the eGoVisa Global Distribution System, the net savings are substantial.

Efficient Scheduling and Resource Allocator

Powerful Scheduling resulting in a higher throughout without sacrificing security.